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"With Pick & Spade 2010" How-to-Build a Gabion


So you might be wondering, I skipped my basket weaving course in college, so how do I construct a gabion?  I mean we hope to construct enough of these shot-proof baskets to revet the interior parapet of the park's earthworks exhibit and for use in the rifle pit.  Here's how we are going to construct these Civil War era 'baskets':

Step #1 - Gather the pickets (the long vertical sticks that give the gabion its shape and strength), which should be approximately 42” long and 1” to 1 1/2” in width.  One end of each picket is to be sharpened to a point.

Step #2 - Layout the gabion's form utilizing a gabion form that is made up of a circular piece of plank, about 21” in diameter with 9 equidistant notches cut in its outer edge. The notches are circular and have a radius of ¾”. The form is laid on a level spot and the pickets are driven into the ground through the notches, their thick and thin ends alternating.

Step #3 - The form is then raised and secured about half way up, with the pickets being secured against the form with a rope. The rope passes around the pickets, just below the form and is secured with a rack stick.

Step #4 - The rods should be 3/8’ to ¾” in diameter. They are stripped entirely of leaves and twigs. The rods are interlaced around the pickets to form a web, or watling.  The web is commenced by placing two rods with their butt ends inside two adjacent pickets. The one which is to the rear is passed over the other rod, around one picket and within the next. The second rod, which is now to the rear, is passed over the first rod and also outside one picket and within the next. The two rods cross each other, over and under. When a rod is coming to an end, the butt of a fresh one is laid, overlapping the tip of the old one by a few inches, and the two are worked together as a single rod. The process is continued to within 3” of the tops of he pickets. The rods are pressed down by frequent taps of a mallet, or picket.

Step #5 - When the web is completed to the proper height, it is sewn down in four places with withes (wire, or stout twine will work). The center of the withe is laid over the top of the web, the ends passing down and through the web every few inches, but, not through the same rod. The withes crisscross down and through the rods, every few inches, in a shoe makers stitch. The withes are pulled tight and secured. The tops of the pickets are cut off about an inch above the web.

Step #6 - The form is then removed, the gabion turned over and the watling proceeded as before. When the total height of web is 2’ 9”, it is sewn down with four withes. The points of the pickets, which originally stood in the ground, are left projecting from the end of the gabion.


Copyright: A "Frank Leslie's Illustrated Image Depicting Gabion Construction



©Copyright by Brian McPeters