Introduction: Garden Trug

About: Just an average guy. husband, father of four, grandpa, civil engineer turned cabinetmaker, jack of all trades master of a few. Enjoys, golf, curling, woodworking, creativity & making things.

Now that you've got your garden planted you've got lots of time to make yourself a trug!!

I know this is not a true basket trug but I wanted to make a basket that could be used for a variety of purposes , the primary one is that it be used in the garden for collecting and then cleaning the produce in the same basket. This type of basket goes by many names: Harvest Basket, Garden Hod, Oyster Basket but Garden Trug is what my wife calls it (so that's what we call it at our place).

The true definition of a trug is "a shallow oblong basket made of strips of wood, traditionally used for carrying garden flowers and produce".

We have also found this is a great basket to take to both the outdoor farmer's market and a local produce market. Be prepared to be asked numerous times" Where'd you get the neat basket? "

Roughly 15 years ago I made some baskets similar to this design, except instead of using a metal garden cloth for the bottom I used wooden slats and the main purpose of those baskets was for holding magazines or knitting.

Step 1: Material & Cutting

This project does not require a lot of material, I started with a short piece of 2''x 10'' spruce that I planed down to 7/8'' thick, but using stock 3/4'' thick material would be fine.

bottom -1 piece of 1/2'' x 1/2'' galvanized metal garden fabric 16'' x 17''

ends - 2 pieces 5 1/2'' high x 9'' wide by 3/4 '' thick , 2 pieces 10'' high x 1 1/2'' wide by 3/4'' thick

side rails - 2 pieces 1'' high x 15 3/8'' long by 3/4'' thick

handle -1 piece 1 1/8'' high x 19'' long by 3/4'' thick (to be re-cut to fit with angles to match base after assemble )

Note: I would have preferred to use a metal garden fabric that was coated in vinyl but I couldn't find any small quantities, but should I decide to go into mass production ( not going to happen ) it's easy to get 50 foot rolls of it.

Step 2: Basket Ends

Start by gluing and clamping the two end pieces together (using a water proof glue )

Using a scrap piece of 1/4'' thick mdf I made a simple template 9 5/8'' x 4 7/8'' with a 2 1/4 '' radius on two corners. This will be used to router in a 1/8'' wide by 5/16'' deep dado for the metal garden fabric.

Clamp the template on top of the end piece and drill two 3/16'' holes, 5/16'' deep and about a 1/2'' down from the top of the template on both sides. This will act as a starting and ending point for your 1/8'' router bit. I used a 5/16'' router bushing on the base of the router that will follow the template.

TIP - always go counter clockwise around a template when using a template and a router bushing because the rotation of the router bit will pull the router towards the template, if you go clockwise the router will want to pull away from the template.

Next, round the two bottom corners to match the dado by using a band-saw and then clean it up with a disc sander, and finally use an 1/8'' round over bit all around the end pieces on both sides before sanding.

Step 3: Side Rails

Then run a saw cut down the middle of the two side rails about 1/2'' deep, and router an 1/8'' round over on all four sides. Slip the two sides over the 16'' ends of the metal garden fabric leaving 5/16'' protruding out on both ends.

I put a couple 1/2'' pin nails in the side rail just to hold the fabric in place

Step 4: Assemble

Carefully bend the fabric with the two side rails into the dado's in both end pieces and use a clamp to hold it in place. Use a 3/8'' brad point bit to drill about 3/16'' in for wood plugs, then pre- drill a screw hole thru the outside ends into your side rails. ( try to locate the screw slightly above the saw cut you put in the rails )

Before inserting a 2'' wood screw put a little wood glue in the joint to keep the side rails from turning. Repeat this for the other three joints and the handle later on.

Step 5: Handle

Router a 5/16'' round over on all four edges before pre-sanding the handle piece.

Place the handle stock on top of your end pieces and on the underside of the handle mark the angle and the length the handle will need to be. Cut the handle to the correct angle ( mine was 30 degrees ) on a chop saw.

Repeat the method of how the side rails were fastened, I used a 3/8'' plug cutter and made 6 black walnut plugs to cover the screws. Glue the plugs in and sand flush.

Note: If you go to my Instuctable " 4 Ply No Problem " I show how I cut plugs on a drill press.

Step 6: Finishing and Conclusion

Once you have it all assembled hand sand as much as you deem necessary and apply a food safe finish. I just used a bees-wax and orange oil wipe-on finish, this will help to shed water when using the trug to hose off your produce outside.

Having the handle at an angle makes it more ergonomic to carry and easier to get items in and out of the basket. Technically this is a right handed basket, a left handed basket would have the handle going in the opposite direction, but to be honest when your carrying it you really don't notice much of a difference.

In conclusion, this basket can be used for so many applications that I suggest you might want to make more than one. Because once your family and/or friends see it, your going to end up being asked to make more ... so why not make up a couple of extra right from the start? Ask me how I know ;-)

Thanks for checking this out, and remember " Keep Calm and Trug On "


Gardening Contest

Second Prize in the
Gardening Contest