Portuguese goods curated by Pedro da Costa Felgueiras

Chestnut Swill Basket


This size of basket was originally designed to process the chestnuts so abundant in this region into flour. The basket’s base is approximately one  foot, so that the feet of the person incharged with this task would fit snugly in. By treading the chestnuts in this special designed basket the flour was obtained in an efficient and quick manner.

Good size for logs or storage.

Made by weaving thin strips of coppiced chestnut these baskets are very strong and heavy duty. They were first made to carry coal or to be used during the harvest of root crops and chestnuts, and even sometimes used as cradles.

Our ‘Swiller’ first gathers the coppiced chestnut sticks from the nearby woods. Then they are buried in the ground for two to three months. This process means that the wood is no longer green and growing. After this, the long sticks are burnt in an almost prehistoric contraption, on four stones and two sticks using the by-product wooden shavings from his workshop floor as fuel. After this process, the chestnut is then immersed in a water tank fed from cold fresh spring water originating in the close mountain range. After three weeks, the bark can finally be peeled off down to the bare timber. The basket weaver still has to split and shave the sticks into thin slivers by using another ancient homemade device. But before that, he has  to immerse  the wood slivers in this massive old granite wine press in his workshop to render them flexible so that they can be shaped into these handsome chestnut swill wooden baskets.

Dimensions (L x W x H):
(approx.) 480 x 450 x 480 mm

Out of stock

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Unit 26
60 Stanway St.
London E1 2AW

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