The Toad from Morwood

Dan Morrison

Well-Known Member
Manufacturer
This has been my side project for the last year or so. As many of you know I've got my hands full with the Nomads, so I've only been able to work on this when I have free time. What does a woodworker do on his days off? Woodworking of course!

The concept behind the Toad is for me to just have fun and keep it loose. I won't be taking custom orders for these, I'm just going to make em' and put them out into the world. This is an opportunity to explore my art style and see what happens.

The design is mean't to be more minimalist compared to the Nomad 1 and 2. The body is pretty much a blank canvas.

Single 18650, 100% convection, unregulated. Uses the same heaters as the Nomad 1 and 2, interchangeable between all models.

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This is no. 001, first functional unit made. It's definitely rough around the edges, but you get the idea! haha.

The dimensions are: 0.93" x 1.76" x 3.85"

The fire button is the exact same tried and true magnetic design that's in the Nomad 1 and 2. Buttons are interchangeable between all models. The entire button can be disassembled for deep cleaning, which I tend to do every 6 months or so.

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I used oil paint on this body... and I ended up not liking it so much. More on the paint later in the post.

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Stem system is the same as the Nomad 1 and 2, the stems are interchangeable between all models. My favorite pairing with the Toad right now is a wood stem loaded with glass cooling beads.

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Magnetic bottom plate. I experimented with solid silver electrical contact in this one... so far no difference compared to brass. Time will tell if it's worth it. Just like in the Nomad 2, the brass connector is spring loaded, and there is a hard OFF built in that's super quick and easy. This is mean't to be pocket friendly, so while the bottom plate is in the OFF position there is no possible way to engage the heater.

You'll see that the side walls are suuuper thin. More on that later. I've tried to shave off every tiny bit of material so make this as small as you can go with an 18650 inside.

Installed into the body are two magnetic stainless steel pins. These are machined with side grooves so that when they're glued in place they'll never come back out. The only magnets are in the bottom plate, which can be easily replaced if the magnets are ever damaged.

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Here are some tests working out the recipe for my composite covering material. Testing various adhesives, papers, paints, and protective coatings.

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I think that the most unique part of the design is the method of construction for the body. I use a solid wood core that is machined much in the same way as the Nomads are. This core is then permanently covered in what you might consider a natural fiberglass. This composite material draws on my research and experimentation from the Nomad 1. However, it's a much different material compared to the kraft paper and glue laminate material that I made the Nomad 1 "sleeves" from.

The main component of the covering is Washi paper that is hand made from gampi plant fibers. It's a sustainable and eco-friendly paper making process.

I wrap the wood cores with thin layers of washi saturated with refined wheat starch paste. The resulting composite dries to a wood-like hardness, but with greater toughness. If you cut this material in half, you don't see any layers, it appears to be a solid material.

A similar process is used to make a few super obscure Japanese objects that I won't go into too much... but that is to say that this material has a history and is known to last hundreds of years.

This composite gives the wood core greater strength, allowing me to make the side walls extra-thin. It also creates the a strong and thin bottom lip that holds the bottom plate aligned.

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For the paint layer, I've been exploring ways to put the colour in the paper, not on top of the paper. My above tests show what the colour layers look like when they're inside the paper. The washi I use is so thin that it is somewhat transparent. This allows me to add pigment to the papers before wrapping... so that when the wrapping is complete, you can see the pigment through multiple paper layers. The colour runs all the way through the covering, down to the wood core.

The final layer is an extra-thin layer of unpainted washi. This layer is practically transparent, allowing the paint to show through. This thin layer is then saturated with natural blonde shellac. This creates the water and wear resistant top layer. More layers of shellac and sanding can give different feels to the surface, from velvety smooth and soft, to a more hard glossy feel.

The benefit to putting the colour inside of the paper is that it won't wear off with daily handling. I also much prefer the feel of this composite vs the feeling of paint (or paint-like clear coats). It has a warm feeling like leather or finely sanded wood.

Another cool thing about this composite is that it's made from 100% natural, non-toxic, materials. You could literally eat this sleeve.

I'm also hoping to make most of these from woods that I've harvested from around my house. There is a secondary goal here to make these be an example of what's possible with sustainable materials.

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The name, Toad, is mostly just because I like toads and it's fun. I like the idea of having little toad drawings adorn some of these.... I think they give off a vibe that's kinda playful, earthy... and conjures up images of forest dwellers going on little adventures in the undergrowth.

My art style is definitely moving in a mushroomy, little creatures, sort of direction, and that's the stuff that'll end up on these pieces first I think.

Price is unknown at the moment, just going to play it by ear. They're easier to make compared to the Nomads, and so I'm hoping to hit a price point that is in the $200 - $300 range.

Not accepting any dibs or anything like that just yet. I have no idea when this will be ready... like I mentioned at the top of this thread, I've got my hands full with Nomads at the moment.

I'd like to just make a few of these, here and there, working in my own style. They'll go up for sale now and then.

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Anyhow! Totally interested in your guys thoughts, suggestions, critiques, all that good stuff! This is the only place I've shared this. An FC exclusive!

Of course I'll be posting updates here on the process as I get closer to the final market-ready units.
 

Ramahs

Fucking Combustion (mostly) Since February 2017
You have my attention!

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BrianTL

Westchester, NY
You could literally eat this sleeve.

I'm willing to be the Guinea pig on this in exchange for a toad :lol:

Not accepting any dibs or anything like that just yet.

Can I tempt you with a large sum of money wired into your account from my distant cousin, an un-named Nigerian Prince?

Seriously though I am on the Nomad II list and would 100% grab one of these also.
 

Dan Morrison

Well-Known Member
Manufacturer
@BestBuds , I've already retracted that statement, hahaha. It's so early days on this... and my original idea was to just keep this whooollee thing LOOSE. This is supposed to be a project to just have fun and relax.

I really have no idea how I am going to roll these out.... I might just try different things out... see what works best for me. I don't think I will do another waitlist.

I'm just going to keep the Nomad waitlist for the Nomads.

Toad news will go here, so if you watch this thread you'll see what's going on.

@Mr. Me2 Sure thing! The toad also fits into the Nomad 2 cases perfectly, so they're roughly the same size. The Toad is slightly smaller, but because of the square edges it evens out a bit.
 

maremaresing

Well-Known Member
This is everything I was hoping for out of the Nomad! I was so sad to hear the Nomad 2 ditched the colored paper sleeve, which was my main draw. The fact that you kept the cool button and simple operation is neato. I really hope you find a way to make more of these.

Love the work you do.
 

Dan Morrison

Well-Known Member
Manufacturer
@maremaresing Thank you!

I feel like the Toad is pretty much everything I've learned, distilled into the most essential form and function.

The Nomad 2 is the high end for sure... it's hard to beat the look and feel of those crazy woods and refined details. The Toad is mean't to compliment that with something a little more simple. A lower priced option that people might not feel so bad about tossing around and bringing out into the woods. It's also a place for colour and cool paint jobs. I've got all sorts of wacky ideas banked.
 

Dan Morrison

Well-Known Member
Manufacturer
@staircase slight of hand

Paper umbrellas are made from washi pasted to bamboo with starch paste, then waterproofed with drying oils.

Kabuki theatre masks were made from washi layers with adhesives such as urushi and various starch pastes.

Basket wares were covered with washi pasted on with starch and then treated with kakishibu.

Urushi wares were made from a washi core instead of wood, the layers were likely pasted together with urushi and perhaps starches.

Yuton are floor mats designed to keep you cool in the hot Japanese summer. They were made from layers of washi pasted together with starch and then infused with a drying oil.

and finally, the best "ah ha!" moment was when I found a reference to washi and bracken fern starch used to make Barens (woodblock printmaking tool). The ategawa is the part of the baren that uses this construction method. Layers of thin washi are laminated using the starch as an adhesive. It was said that the material was stronger that wood, lighter, and more resilient. To this day I don't think there have been better modern alternatives.

Pretty much all of my research came through google translate, and I found that there is a lot of misinformation out there about these techniques, just because the knowledge is mostly lost...or watered down.

The making of the ategawa in particular is most interesting to me, but there is practically no information out there that covers the details. I eventually gathered that bracken fern starch was regarded as a better compared to wheat starch paste. But true bracken starch is incredibly expensive... and I really have not found a reference as to why it's superior. I also learned that the starch is mixed with kakishibu, but the purpose of this step is unknown. In my tests I could find no clear difference between starch with and without kakishibu.

I'd like to test bracken fern starch at some point, but I'm not finding any downsides to the wheat starch yet.

I did find a reference to paper umbrella makers originally using bracken fern starch (and saying it was superior), but switching to tapioca starch in modern times because of the expense of the bracken starch.

Tapioca starch is another adhesive marketed to be used with washi, and so that too might be worth testing.

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A slightly unrelated but still interesting thing to check out is momigami. This is washi paper that's been treated with konnyaku starch to give it greater strength. The washi is wrinkled up, softened, and turned into clothing. It was said that this paper clothing was often more durable than their fabric counterparts.

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Another unrelated note. I searched a long time for an all natural clear coating. All oils will yellow, and take forever to dry. Natural resins are brittle and kinda meh. Cellulose derived plastics (nitrocellulose, etc) require harsh solvents and stabilizers. Natural lacquers like urushi and cashew lacquer are not completely clear, but have quite a dark tone.

Hide and fish glues are clear and flexible, but extremely unresistant to water. Handling would make the sleeve slightly sticky, and application and sanding was a nightmare.

Shellac is the only material that is mostly clear, easily sandable, relatively non-yellowing, stays acceptably flexible, no adhesion issues, very low viscosity so it soaks in deeply, and uses ethanol as a solvent. It can be lightly coated to disappear into the paper layer, giving protection but not ruining the texture and feel... or it can be laid on in many coats and polished to a glass-like sheen. It feels amazing in the hand, not sticky at all. Shellac is often used on woodworking tools for this reason. It wears wonderfully. It's infinitely repairable with additional coats that melt into the old ones perfectly. Is very water resistant, yet breathable. It has practically no scent when dry and is totally edible (they use it to give candy a glossy shine). Finally it has a long history of use, so the long term properties and its interaction with paper fibers is known. Need I say more about this miracle material!?

I would love to use Urushi in the future, but this would only be for dark coloured designs because of the natural colour to that material.
 

kadjo

Well-Known Member
Brilliant. Dan you're the reason I'm here and on Instagram. Just when I think my VAS is under control, you drop this.

(Following this thread now.😁 eagerly awaiting roll out instructions)
 
kadjo,
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Ramahs

Fucking Combustion (mostly) Since February 2017
Brilliant. Dan you're the reason I'm here and on Instagram. Just when I think my VAS is under control, you drop this.

(Following this thread now.😁 eagerly awaiting roll out instructions)

Yes. I'm interested in anything @Dan Morrison makes.

I'm still sad that I missed out on the Okin vape when Dan was still making those. Unfortunately that was before I was aware of Dan's existence.
 
Ramahs,
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