Friday, September 30, 2011

Wonderful and Interesting Toys from France

By Rebecca, Shelter Tools Staff

Founded in France in 1972, Moulin Roty began as an experiment in communal living. Thirty friends decided to live and work together to renovate an old, run-down farm. Within 3 years they had converted the barns into workshops and produced their first two toys: a simple wooden car and a soft cloth doll. Growing from these humble roots, Moulin Roty is now an international company offering over 500 different toys. In 1980, they acquired SCOP (Société Cooperative et Participative) status, which means that their 40 employees are also their majority stockholders. Not only do Moulin Roty employees own more than 51% of the company, each stockholder—no matter how much their individual stake—only gets one vote at stakeholder meetings.

The beautiful, timeless toys that Moulin Roty makes can be hard to find on this side of the Atlantic. Because all of their products are designed and made in France, everything has to be imported to the USA. But it is certainly worth the trouble. Moulin Roty’s most popular toys are just like the first two they made in 1975—whimsical cloth dolls and sturdy wooden toys of all sizes. Yet the French toy company has expanded beyond just these two categories and currently makes everything from clothing, rugs and quilts to music boxes, tiddlywinks, and full-size cribs. Indeed, Moulin Roty makes something for children of all ages.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Shelter at the Common Ground Fair

Come and visit Shelter at the famous Common Ground Country Fair in beautiful Unity, Maine (map) September 23, 24, and 25.

The Common Ground Fair is sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). Like most county fairs, it will feature lectures, demonstrations, and all kinds of entertainment. How is it different? Of course, it features wonderful organic producers (like our friends at Hatchet Cove Farm). And to quote the MOFGA website:
If you’ve ever been to the Fair, you know — and if you haven’t been, anyone who has will tell you — it’s an event like no other, that brings together so many people from so many walks of life, all in the spirit of celebrating the rural and agricultural traditions of Maine.
Shelter will be displaying great woodworking and backwoods tools including Japanese saws, Flexcut carving tools, woodturning tools, the Tormek Sharpening system, froes, saws, and an assortment of woodworking and building books. We'll also have a great selection of composting toilets, backyard composting units, and composting tools.

Shelter will be in the "Farm and Homestead" section of the fairgrounds (map). You won't be able to miss our booth at the show, which will feature a gorgeous 8' by 8' timberframe in douglas fir. It demonstrates through tenons, trusses, wedges, and birdsmouth joints.

More information about the fair can be found on the MOFGA website. There's a lot of admission details, so be sure to plan ahead and check out the website.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dealing with Fallen Trees and Branches

Silky Sugoi 360 Saw
Many of us in the eastern United States are cleaning up after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene swept through the area.

Shelter was without power until Thursday, but many others are dealing with far greater damage. Our neighbors in Vermont were hit hard by the storm. We hope things are soon returned to normal.

After a big storm, we see a lot of customers coming in to Shelter looking for good saws for cutting fallen trees and limbs. We carry a great selection of saws to get the job done.

In particular, our selection of Japanese hand saws are perfect for cutting large and small limbs. The Silky Sugoi 360 Saw is one of our favorites. It offers an aggressive cross-cut tooth pattern (5.5 teeth per inch). The precision-ground, razor-sharp teeth with four cutting angles provide extremely fast, clean, and smooth cutting action. Features include a hard chrome-plated, taper-ground curved blade with a non-set tooth design and a starter knife at the tip of the blade. The curved blade provides greater cutting speed with less effort. The large and comfortable sure-grip handle gives strength and flexibility to the full length of the saw. It also comes with a scabbard that can be attached to a belt or leg, and (as with most of our Japanese hand saws) the blade is easily replaceable. Shop for more saws on our website or read more about Japanese hand saws on Shelter Blog.