Today we throw it back to just about the first Happy Bugnalow toy ever prototyped. I think it was just about the first thing I ever made on a scroll saw. This was made when Happy Bungalow was just starting up. We were ordering a few pieces of new professional grade equipment, but still trying to make it by on the thinnest shoe-string budgets. So this little animal was cut on a piece of pine that was hanging around the shop.
I drew from (cartoonish) memory the shape of the animal. I was happy that others recognized the shape was a bunny, but disappointed in how lame the thing looked. So I set about drawing animal profiles from real animals (usually from pictures, but occasionally from real life as in our bison toy). When we fist started there were two primary animal lines: farm and safari.
Since we’ve added to our shop woodlands animals, dinosaurs, and mythical animals (think unicorns). In addition we’re working on adding water animals, Australian animals, and just about every other animal that can be rendered in wood.
Reproducing real life animals into small wooden form took some tweaking. Legs were too thin, bellies to bulgy, and the like. Legs are the biggest problem. Like, have you ever seen how thin a horse’s legs are? Or a chicken’s? In the beginning there was a lot of tweaking and fussing to get the animals just right, but now, I think we’ve made close to one hundred different animals so far, we usually nail it down pretty quick.
So kids, remember – what they say is true. Practice Makes Perfect! Or just a lot better.
Everyone knows what a porcupine looks like. All needles and gnarly sharpness. You know, like this:
Except (as I’m guessing is the case in real life), such a creature rendered in wood doesn’t make for such a smooth experience. So in the interest of not making a 10 MOST DANGEROUS TOYS list, we smoothed out the spikes. Which takes away the wooden porcupine most distinctive feature, but leaves the little guy open to more imaginative play.
And imaginative play is all right by us. Call him a porcupine, a sloth, or a snarled up house-cat – just don’t call him spikey! Cut from hickory wood, sanded extra-smooth, and finished with our own beeswax polish, you can find Happy Bungalow’s wooden porcupine toy in our online toy shop.