July 11, 2014
On Monday we received our first handmade samples from the factory.
We are using casting as our manufacturing process, which has been our intent from the beginning. Casting enables us to create a high quality spoon that is one solid piece of metal, not welded or joined at the seams.
Preparing to create a cast part requires making handmade samples that are as close as possible to the finished design, and then creating molds from that handmade sample that will be used for final production. Making handmade samples is a laborious process - one that we have experienced firsthand in our workshop when creating the prototypes. The factory has taken the design further than we were able to, which is exciting to see!
We were happy to see that the factory produced a pair of extremely precise parts, and took care to ensure the spoons, especially the Spin design, function smoothly. Shawn Michael had to test them both by making an Improved Whiskey Cocktail to celebrate! This is our first physical version of a solid transition from spoon bowl to handle, and they are well made and beautifully polished.
However, a few of our specifications are not reflected in these first samples. Most of the changes we've requested are easily corrected, and the factory is already working on those adjustments. One of these is the size is slightly off on the diameter of the handle for the Spin design. There are other design elements that are very difficult to achieve when assembling by hand and using CNC machined parts. Our feedback included areas such as the transition from the handle to the end of the spoon on the Classic design, where the thicker end should meet the handle without a "step" down. This can easily be accommodated once the mold is made.
The specific area the factory is finding challenging right now is the transition from the spoon bowl to the handle. They have connected the two as one solid piece, but the organic contours we've put into our ideal design are difficult to cut and/or machine by hand. We are working with them on how to make these changes, and ensure that they are captured in the tooling of the final mold that will be used for your spoons.
Having to rework the samples is a possibility we anticipated. We did build some cushion into our timeline for this, but are still slightly behind schedule. If this is something we'll have to work on several times with the factory, it will delay our delivery date. We believe in high quality goods, so we'd rather get it right the first time, even if it takes a little more time to do. Of course we will keep you informed as soon as we have more to report!