The Toad from Morwood

Copacetic

Somewhere North of The Wall
I did explore a few retractable and covered stem designs earlier on... but in the end the case won out as being all-around more practical and simple. I'm more and more leaning towards minimalism in my designs... and this Toad is the ultimate expression of that so far. Plus, the less moving parts, the less that can go wrong.

There are forest fires far north of us, but somehow the smoke has made its way down here. Not to worry, as our area has been very rainy lately, but the daylight is coming through the orange sky making the daytime look like a never ending sunset. It's actually pretty damn cool!

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a few golden shots in the window.

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If you look closely here you can see some subtle horizontal lines inside the paper. These lines are an artifact of the traditional washi making process. Pretty neat!

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@Copacetic I did wonder about a leather shell for this... but making it seamless seemed rather difficult. Also, the bottom lip needs to be quite ridgid, I was afraid that the leather would be too flexible. I do think it would look cool however, and age verrryy nicely. So maybe one day! This design leaves a lot of areas open to explore down the road.

I also tried a wrapped wood veneer shell, but ultimately didn't like the wood on wood look.

My ultimate shell would be made from washi with a urushi lacquer finish *drool*.



hahaha, I had a good laugh over that jockeying comment.
Yeah, urushi finish is really nice, this is one of my favourite urushi applications: Fostex TH900
Might be a bit more prone to pocket wear/damage than wood or leather though, and seems pretty labour intensive for a more budget device like the Toad?

Simple veg-tan leather can be made very hard fairly simply ( Hot water treatment, Result, Process ), and while it may be tricky to make a seamless sleeve out of leather, perhaps it would be easy to make a feature out of the seam with some nice stitching?: Buttero leather, a stitched seam could simplify the wet moulding process too, making sizing easy? (tightness could be adjusted by tightening/loosening the thread during, or after the leather moulding process).
Leather would open the door to lots of quick easy decorative processes too, should you wish to put your logo, or any other pattern, either stamped or embossed as a texture, or if you preferred colour there's endless options (perhaps that's not a positive lol!), many of which lend themselves to batch production.
Batch-production is a bit of a dirty word to some artists, but there are plenty who embrace and exploit repeatability by applying it to a base material which varies, or by adding small amounts of unique hand tooled detail to differentiate individual pieces. This might lend itself to the simpler/quicker production of the Toad?
I do love the idea of the 'armoured paper' finish, but my own experience of my Nomad 1 sleeve is that it is perhaps a little less durable than I had originally hoped (I must stress that I refer to the finish of the sleeve, not it's physical integrity, which seems excellent, I'm not experiencing the tightening/loosening that a couple of others have mentioned ). The stickyness which you kindly corrected on my sleeve has now sadly re-emerged, and the painted surface is showing more distress than I'd have hoped for the minimal handling it's had since it's return.
I'm not particularly bothered by this myself, as I like the distressed look, but I can tell the sleeve isn't going to look good for long at all if I carry the Nomad around in my pocket.
Luckily the spare bottom plate you made me will allow me to make another sleeve when it's necessary, and keep my OG sleeve for the 'display shelf'.

With the extreme level of research and design you put into each and every detail of your work I would not be surprised at all if you were to see leather as a whole other rabbit hole which you may not have time to navigate, and I totally understand that (I have yet to even get round to making my own 'daily driver' sleeve for example!), so please ignore this suggestion if it's just a distraction, I am after all just teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here!
 

Dan Morrison

Well-Known Member
Manufacturer
@Copacetic , Those were some very interesting videos, thanks for sharing! I've seen that Urushi video before, very inspiring work!!

I've spent too damn long digging this washi-hole to turn back now! haha. But I could see a one-off leather sleeve at some point for sure!

.

That's actually alarming about your sleeve. The first sleeves stickyness was undoubtedly some sort of weird interaction between the one-off blend of products and techniques I used to create your specific sleeve.... but the second sleeve should have been totally fine, as I remember using only the tried and tested recipe on a brand new sleeve.

I have read that some people use a very fine powder (like talc), to lightly powder the surface of furniture painted with acrylic to take away tackyness. Maybe a black powder like soot would work on your sleeve?

The type of acrylic I used shouldn't dry tacky like some cheaper acrylic paints can.

I was curious, so I dug out the sleeve samples I made alongside painting your second sleeve, and gave em' a good handling. It's hot and muggy here.. so probably worst case scenario. No tackyness at all thankfully... but that still leaves it a mystery.

I've been handling this newest toad a bunch to test the wear.. so far nothing to note. I have Toad samples that are almost a year old now, using the same acrylic/washi, and zero degradation or tackyness. hmm.

It could be so,ething that only happens with handling, or keeping it in an airtight container, or even the specific chemistry of some people sweat.

I recently became aware of an issue with a Nomad kept in a faux leather case. It's likely that the faux leather was slowly off-gassing ammonia, causing the bronze on the Nomad to quickly oxidize a greenish-blue.

An interesting tangent:

Cellulose Acetate Butyrate is used for 'industructable' screwdriver tool handles. When new they are more durable than wood, and look cool too!.... But after a while people found out that if you keep them in a sealed box, they would deteriorate and smell like vomit. Some modern rubber tool handles also seem to break down if your hands are oily.

.

If you ever want to re-do the sleeve, send it in and I'll try a new recipe!

.

Your experience has really got me thinking more on the starch paste. I would hate to find out that acrylic reacts to some peoples sweat negatively...or something odd like that. I much prefer when I can use materials with a longer history of use.

It could be that the starch adhesive is over-all less durable... but compensates for that because of it's superior feel and aging characteristics.

It's all very complicated. But bad interactions seem less likely when I think about natural materials, they just seem more forgiving.

.

As far as wear goes, I was always fighting between look/feel and durability on the Nomad 1 sleeves. What looks and feels the best to my eyes, always wore the quickest. So you gutta strike a balance.

This lead to a total re-imagining of the painting technique for the toads, which eliminates top layers of paint entirely.
 
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Copacetic

Somewhere North of The Wall
@Copacetic , Those were some very interesting videos, thanks for sharing! I've seen that Urushi video before, very inspiring work!!

I've spent too damn long digging this washi-hole to turn back now! haha. But I could see a one-off leather sleeve at some point for sure!

.

That's actually alarming about your sleeve. The first sleeves stickyness was undoubtedly some sort of weird interaction between the one-off blend of products and techniques I used to create your specific sleeve.... but the second sleeve should have been totally fine, as I remember using only the tried and tested recipe on a brand new sleeve.

I have read that some people use a very fine powder (like talc), to lightly powder the surface of furniture painted with acrylic to take away tackyness. Maybe a black powder like soot would work on your sleeve?

The type of acrylic I used shouldn't dry tacky like some cheaper acrylic paints can.

I was curious, so I dug out the sleeve samples I made alongside painting your second sleeve, and gave em' a good handling. It's hot and muggy here.. so probably worst case scenario. No tackyness at all thankfully... but that still leaves it a mystery.

I've been handling this newest toad a bunch to test the wear.. so far nothing to note. I have Toad samples that are almost a year old now, using the same acrylic/washi, and zero degradation or tackyness. hmm.

It could be so,ething that only happens with handling, or keeping it in an airtight container, or even the specific chemistry of some people sweat.

I recently became aware of an issue with a Nomad kept in a faux leather case. It's likely that the faux leather was slowly off-gassing ammonia, causing the bronze on the Nomad to quickly oxidize a greenish-blue.

An interesting tangent:

Cellulose Acetate Butyrate is used for 'industructable' screwdriver tool handles. When new they are more durable than wood, and look cool too!.... But after a while people found out that if you keep them in a sealed box, they would deteriorate and smell like vomit. Some modern rubber tool handles also seem to break down if your hands are oily.

.

If you ever want to re-do the sleeve, send it in and I'll try a new recipe!

.

Your experience has really got me thinking more on the starch paste. I would hate to find out that acrylic reacts to some peoples sweat negatively...or something odd like that. I much prefer when I can use materials with a longer history of use.

It could be that the starch adhesive is over-all less durable... but compensates for that because of it's superior feel and aging characteristics.

It's all very complicated. But bad interactions seem less likely when I think about natural materials, they just seem more forgiving.

.

As far as wear goes, I was always fighting between look/feel and durability on the Nomad 1 sleeves. What looks and feels the best to my eyes, always wore the quickest. So you gutta strike a balance.

This lead to a total re-imagining of the painting technique for the toads, which eliminates top layers of paint entirely.
I figured the one-off nature of my sleeve, and the absence of any other problematic sleeves must mean that it's just the first sleeve that was sticky. It's weird that it still happened after a complete change of sleeve, so I too think it might be a skin chemistry thing.
I keep my Nomad in a felt (probably manmade fibre, as it's for cheap Superdry spec's, presumably breathable ) pouch when not in use, and only handle the sleeve to remove it before use, and replace it before putting it away. Minimising handling seems to be helping prevent the stickiness getting worse (it's not as bad as the first sleeve BTW). It slowly recovers to an almost non sticky state if left untouched long enough, but then a 10 minute sesh will have it back to sticky again.
I think it's safe to assume this is a one-off occurrence so I wouldn't be too alarmed if I were you.
Thanks for the offer to re-do the sleeve again. Given the efforts you've already made for me this speaks volumes for the legendary Morwood customer care, thank you. I'll just give the powder idea a try, and pull my thumb out of my ass to finish the leather sleeve!
I got so used to using it without the sleeve that it's totally normal for me now, even if I deliberately place my fingers so that they bridge the bronze plate to the bus-bar and touch the heater I can still get a good hit without my fingers getting uncomfortably hot, so the Nomad 1 is totally usable sans sleeve (and I get to admire the box-elder the whole time!).
Once I get a Toad/Nomad 2 that'll be my pocket carry for sure, and whatever finish you decide to go with on the Toad I have confidence it'll be fantastic (just please avoid the cigarette pack association! 😬).

Re' the acrylic/starch decision, perhaps making some super easy to make items and passing them out to local friends to test would allow you to observe how the finishes react to different skin chemistry/usage patterns on a case by case basis?
Something that folk would have about their person/in their pocket all the time, like a Morwood key-ring tag, buisness card, pendant or bill-clip? Eh, it's probably a bad idea, very time consuming and almost certainly unnecessary in light of the research and tests you already do.
BTW, that canoe, is it your design or did you make it from a pattern? It's amazing. My dad has an ancient collapsible canvas canoe gathering dust in his workshop attic, but it's an ugly stump of a thing compared to yours, amazing work man!
EDIT: I called your Kayak a canoe! Lol
 
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Dan Morrison

Well-Known Member
Manufacturer
How’s the price look compared to your flagship nomad?

I think the standard model made from straight grain domestic woods, cherry, pear, walnut, etc. will be $300 usd with lichen or other base option buttons (abalone, mother of pearl, solid colour, etc). These would all have some kind of minimalist shell design, gradient, solid, two tone...etc.

And then I'll have a few special editions that would cost more, but incorporate buttons made from beetle shell mosiac, opal, labradorite, moon stone., etc. and/or have hand painted shell designs.

That will be with a glass stem as well.

This is about as cheap as I can go I think.

The Nomad II bare bones cost with lichen button is $390, but on average they run quite a lot more with the custom options added in.

Originally I wanted the Toad to be cheaper, around $150-$200 range... but after reeaaaallly trying to streamline every tiny detail, I just realized that I wouldn't be happy with the level of work I'd have to put out to reach that price point.

I think that there are plenty of great vapes in that range anyhow... and I'd rather just put out what I am most excited about, rather than try to reach some arbitrary price point. I only mention that because I feel self-imposed pressure to make a budget friendly design.... Why? I'm not too sure... but I think it's because I'm fairly frugal in my own life... so if I didn't make vapes It would likely be pretty painful to pay $300 for one.
 

Vaporware

Well-Known Member
I had hoped the Toad would be a bit lower priced so it would be more accessible to more people, but I don’t want to see you putting out work you’re not happy with or not being well compensated for your time. If that’s the price you need to charge for it I’m happy to pay it. :)

Maybe you’ll find a way of making something cheaper someday, but it’s not easy to take as much care as you do and sustainably hit a low price point. I can find the low price elsewhere, but there aren’t many people offering anything close to what you do, so the right answer is obvious to me!
 

invertedisdead

Weapons of VAS Destruction
I think that there are plenty of great vapes in that range anyhow... and I'd rather just put out what I am most excited about, rather than try to reach some arbitrary price point. I only mention that because I feel self-imposed pressure to make a budget friendly design.... Why? I'm not too sure... but I think it's because I'm fairly frugal in my own life... so if I didn't make vapes It would likely be pretty painful to pay $300 for one.

Man I relate to this so much! I’m constantly feeling like I need to be at some ultra competitive price point, while wanting to build complicated bespoke laboratory grade parts. It honestly creates a lot of internal conflict.

I actually think we need more expensive vapes to truly see more innovation. People want trickle down technology (Tesla 3) but it takes selling a bunch of Model S first to make it possible.

And your hand crafted, coach built vapes are more like a Koenigsegg than a Tesla 😁😁😁
 

Trackrat

Well-Known Member
I had hoped the Toad would be a bit lower priced so it would be more accessible to more people, but I don’t want to see you putting out work you’re not happy with or not being well compensated for your time. If that’s the price you need to charge for it I’m happy to pay it. :)

Maybe you’ll find a way of making something cheaper someday, but it’s not easy to take as much care as you do and sustainably hit a low price point. I can find the low price elsewhere, but there aren’t many people offering anything close to what you do, so the right answer is obvious to me!
You're not only buying a vape, but a piece of art.
 

cx714

Space Invader
I think that there are plenty of great vapes in that range anyhow... and I'd rather just put out what I am most excited about, rather than try to reach some arbitrary price point. I only mention that because I feel self-imposed pressure to make a budget friendly design.
I think a big part of what makes the Nomad/Toad exciting is that you're single-handedly employing a variety of art-intensive, skill-intensive techniques at a high level to create an object of both beauty and function. If you price in the time spent acquiring those skills and developing your ideas, the Nomad doesn't feel too expensive at all (not that it didn't lay a hurt on my wallet).

Even though I thought I kept things pretty reasonable with my Nomad II choices, the Toad would still come in at about half my sticker price. If you had posted that video of the curly koa body sooner, that fraction might be even smaller. So without saying anything about value, the Toad is definitely more economical.

It would be fun to have a Nomad that's mostly bespoke versus a Toad that's more dealer's choice. You might get in on a batch with cool color washes only to miss out on the one where Dan goes wild with the bedazzler. Either way, I'm along for the ride.
 
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invertedisdead

Weapons of VAS Destruction
You might get in on a batch with cool color washes only to miss out on the one where Dan goes wild with the bedazzler.

I believe that’s called the Rhinestone Cowboy! With Rose Gold accents! 😁😁😁... and a snakeskin holster 😂😂

And wait till you see the button I’ve picked out!






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Okay, it looks like I am late to the party again. Saw the Toad on Reddit and didn’t know that Dan Morrison was working on a side project. I thought for a moment there, that someone had copied Dan’s Nomad design. However, I was set straight by Dan’s people’s right away and here I am catching up.
 
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