Collapsible baskets are cut from a single board. The board is placed on a scroll saw, and the basket is made with one continuous bevel cut that takes a spiraling path starting at the center of the wood. When the cut is done, the basket pushes open into a self-contained stand that has a three-dimensional cavity. The cavity of the basket consists of edges that wedge against each other in a cascade of layers or steps. The form of the basket is an inverted hollow that collapses and expands. The handle is on screws and can be pushed down for storage.
Attach the basket pattern to the hardwood. Tilt the scroll saw table 3 degrees. Drill a single small access hole where the cut will stop in the center of the basket.
Thread a No. 7 reverse-tooth blade through the access hole you drilled at the center of the basket pattern. Turn the saw on and cut the sides without stopping. Make a continuous cut by rotating the wood as you go through the pattern. Do not stop at any point in the cut because this will create a flaw in the wood surface that will make the basket hard to close and open.
Cut two 1/4-inch-thick strips. Cut one so that it is as long as the width of the bottom of the basket, 3/4 inch by 9 1/4 inches. Cut the other so that it is as long as the length of the basket, or 3/4 inch by 5 1/2 inches. Join them together by cutting half-lap joints at the center or middle of the pieces where they will overlap. Glue them together at the joint. Screw them to the bottom of the basket.
The handle consists of three pieces of wood that are 1/16 inch thick. Cut three strips of wood to 20 inches. Make a bending form out of a 1/4-inch-thick piece of scrap wood with holes drilled in it for clamps and a top radius of 2 inches. Clamp the form into the bench vise. Paint glue onto the strips and stack them together. Clamp one end of the strip at the bottom of the bending form. Gently bend the strips around the bending form and clamp them as you go. Let it dry overnight.
Remove the dry handle from the bending form. Smooth out the edges with a block plane. Place the collapsed basket onto your working surface so that it lies flat. Slip the handle over one end. Mark the center of the basket. Measure 2 inches out from the center mark and then trim the handle to match the marks. Transfer the center marks on the basket to the handle. Drill a hole on each mark on one side, centering the hole in the width of the handle.
Drill holes in the basket for the mounting screws of the handle. Collapse the basket and push it out slightly in the opposite direction so that you can drill through the outer bands of the basket and not the inner bands. Drill the holes on the marks. Countersink the hole so that when the screws are installed they will be level or flush with the wood.
Place a 1/8-inch brass machine screw into each hole and through the hole of the handle. Secure the machine screws with the brass acorn nuts. Tighten the nuts by hand.
Collapsible basket designs can be found online for free, such as at the Scroll Saw Woodworking website (registration required). Download and print the design and use it as a cutting guide.
Take care when running a scroll saw. You can harm yourself or others with its blade. Always wear safety goggles when using your scroll saw.