OUR STORY & PHILOSOPHY
“I spent twenty years designing and making non-traditional wooden games, toys and puppets - and selling my 'Eccentric Productions' all over the UK and the USA. And I even won the British Toymakers Guild Cup. Then, just before Christmas 2010, one of the off-cuts a cello-maker friend gave me looked like a duck. Thus started The Wooden Spatula Explosion” – Tim Foxall
Tim Foxall, 2018
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Ideas for new designs arrive frequently, but most of them don't work. The testing process is thorough and ruthless, of course, and only the best can hope to survive. Like the Venus de Milo, even with no arms. In fact, especially with no arms. She, like the others, had to jump - elegantly in her case - through stiff 'Examining Body Design Criteria' hoops.
I have an NNC philosophy for making spatulas - Nowhere Near Computers. But I do just love computers for the labels: rather than sending words off to have thousands printed and for them to be metaphorically being set in stone, I can change what individual spatulas are saying on a whim, and if a new design arrives, it can straight away get its own tag.
Most of the spatulas are made from locally-sourced hardwoods, mainly Ash and Beech, but also Maple, Sycamore, Cherry, Walnut, Oak and even Holly.
Working with the wonderful variety of timber is a large part of the joy of making wooden spatulas. Occasionally, something really special comes my way, and I spend far too much time and care in deciding how best to use it. If anyone out there has some laburnum...
Considered the King of Trees by the Vikings, Ash is a tall deep rooted tree, with wood renowned for its lengthways strength and flexibility.
The wood is wonderfully varied, with the heartwood being much darker than the sapwood. And I use the pronounced grain as much as possible.
Beech is a hard, strong and heavy wood. It has a fine, tight grain and even texture. Beech wood is typically light in colour and has a high shock resistance. It can be sanded to a very fine finish.
Sycamore is the largest of the European maples, and has been growing in Britain since the middle ages, but is still thought of as a foreign intruder by some. It is light-coloured and has a fine and even texture, but is difficult to season properly.
I have recently bought some wonderful sycamore planks from a local farmer, Michael Swanson.
It was holly wot started the spatulas in earnest - we have several old holly trees round the garden. They looked dead from the outside, but when I started to saw and axe them up for the fire, I was struck by how magical the wood was.
I would like to get hold of big bits of strong close-grained cherry, so if anyone near Haltwhistle has some . . . At the moment I can only buy thinnish bits, but cherry works well for the A68 Roman Road spatula because that is the only spatula that is ergonomically un-curved - because it's a roman road.