Sorting and Grading
Once the willow has been cut, and dried undercover, it can be sorted and graded.
Sorting: Before grading any branched, blemished or bendy rods are discarded.
Grading: In the past most willow farms graded their willow by sinking large oil drums into the ground with a measuring stick attached. At Barfad a wooden frame - with markers at three, four, five and six feet heights - serves the same purpose. A handful of the tallest rods are shaken to clear the smaller rods, then pulled out of the grading frame. This process is repeated until all rods greater than six feet long have been removed, and then repeated again for each of the smaller sizes in turn.
It's traditional for basket willow to be graded in feet and to be sold in bundles of 37" diameter. I know of no reason for this bundle size - except it's about the size of a big hug!
The sale of living willow for sculptures has come about more recently so it's length is measured in metres.