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Timberkits News

Catch up with the latest designs, events and musings from the world of Timberkits.

Competion winners - 3.3.17

Here is Gary Clapperton's very dramatic Mechanical Bull. This is a bold and ambitious model. I wonder whether he has had first hand experience of this activity......

Gary is the design inspiration behind our Xylophone Player which will soon be making its appearance on our shelves.

Please see our Facebook page for videos.

Competition winners - 3.3.17

We have 2 competition winners this year, John Haward and Gary Clapperton. We couldn't decide between them. David Twydell was the runner up with a total of three submissions which were all pretty cunning in their own way too.

This is John's paddleboarder which is a gentle rather contemplative model, I can imagine him slowly floating around a calm bay at sunset rather than surfing on wild waves. John was the design inspiration behind our Unicyclist and has contributed several other designs over the years. It works very smoothly so whilst not expansive in its movement it is well thought out.

Strathclyde University engineering students - 15.2.17

Timberkits has embarked on an exciting new design collaboration with some engineering students from Strathclyde University. They will be exploring the idea of moving feet in dance and sport and how to express that as a mechanical model. As a creative warm up they came down to our workshop in Wales and did an intensive 11our challenge - they had to build a One Cam Band off a simple crank handle, shaft and cam mounted in a frame. They weren't allowed to do any formal planning or CAD, it all had to be hands on with materials. It was great fun and although the final result had a few extra cams, it was a percussion extravaganza that Heath Robinson would have been very proud of and did in fact make an almighty racket. The students were magnificent and got into the swing of it without hesitation. The object of the exercise was to demonstrate how a bit of messy experimentation is a necessary part to discovery and that formal calculations and structuring must follow rather than be a starting point. That's how we do it at Timberkits anyway or is that just me justifying being messy maybe.....?

New Year news - 27.1.17

I love the way people say "Things will calm down for you after Christmas, won't they?" As if!! We are now into preparation for our annual trade fair, dusting off the displays and making sure we have enough functioning biros. We are also preparing our next Shaun the Sheep kits for production seen here connected together but they will be sold as singles. More ideas in the pipeline....

I will be off to China in a few weeks to see our manufacturers and sample some more delicious Chinese food. This is always fascinating. We have a 15 year old relationship with one factory so they are lovely old friends and the other more recently acquired factory are growing in confidence and teaching us new approaches.

This year we will be bringing out more Timberscenes like the London Cityscape. There will be a Castle Scene and a Sea Life scene and then we will be working on a Dinosaur theme. Keep an eye on our social media for more regular detail and requests for feedback on emerging ideas.


Happy New Year - 3.1.17

Let's kick start 2017 with Dermot Casey's fabulous Salty Sailor built over Christmas - I love his far away look, gazing at the distant horizon wandering what adventures lay ahead. We hope that this intrepid adventurer will be the first of many gorgeous decorated models that customers share with us this year. We wish everyone a very happy, healthy and creative New Year, from all at Timberkits.

Shaun and friends are here! - 8.12.16

Finally, they have arrived. What a long journey they have had but what a warm and joyous welcome. Shaun and his friends will be winging their way around the world now to find their places under Christmas trees and into some lucky children's hands. We look forward to a very creative 2017 with this great new range.

Christmas craziness - 1.12.16

It is the 1st of December so let it begin! Yes, I know, Advent began a few days ago but that was in November so it got me all confused. Anyway to kick it off I present you with this double rigged festive duo by the very prolific Dermot Casey. Getting into the spirit here at Timberkits.

Graduation Drummer - 30.11.16

Some people have a ridiculous amount of fun with our models, especially Drummer. This was done as a graduation present for Floyd Wilson's son. We really love the mortar board and 6 pack combo!

Designing - 25.11.16

Designing Timberkits is quite messy. It involves a combination of prints, scribbles,cut outs and wood experiments. We to and fro between workshop and drawing board with some bits worked out on the back of apiece of sandpaper or a post-it note. I rail against the way Design Technology is taught in schools, there is endless paperwork to plan, theorise and calculate before anyone gets their hands on a material. It just does not work like that. We make at least 6 versions of each idea and some of the best solutions arise from accidents and mistakes along the way. Without allowing for a certain amount of randomness, there is no original innovation. There, that is the end of my little rant!

Tool board stories - 4.11.16

I love our tool board. It carries the stories of many artists/crafts people over generations. The older tools are so well worn and comfortable after decades of handling and tell us in their own way of all the creations they have contributed to.

Some of them are purpose made, notably those by an eminent engineer called Norman Sanders who designed and built devices for threading surgical needles amongst other extraordinary things. He mentored my father in his transition from wood to metal engineering and then left his tools to him when he died. His tools are very special.

Others were given to Dad by old friends and others have been collected by him over his whole life and others are all shiny and new.

All our prototypes are made by hand with a few basic machines but mainly with these faithful hand tools and traditional techniques as old as the hills.

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