2016 RECAP - Peels / Baking Stones / Plant Startup and More!
Happy 2017! We hope everyone enjoyed theirs holiday cooking with family and friends, maybe even some wood-fired outdoor cooking! We put the Relic to use, and it performed with versatility - cooking up everything from pizzas to Christmas ham.
The holidays was one of many recent rounds of serious cooking on our Relic prototype - each time, measuring temperatures and performance, trying out different cooking styles and techniques (Tuscan grills, cast iron cooking, fire roasting vegetables, casseroles, naan, artisan bread with the (new) door on, and the list goes on...)
The continued use has not only shown great results for the durability of the materials, but also continued improvements to the product's functionality, via simple but useful additions. For example, the Relic now has a new fire "retaining ring" (shown in action below) which acts as a floor sweep and keeps super-hot coals off the edge of whatever you're cooking. Other notable improvements are slip-free base pegs for the Relic Fireslate (to hold firmly in place on any surface) and "ash arrestor" for the chimney to make for safer use.
Anyway, we could go on about the Relic, but it's been a while, and we have several Rewards to give updates on!
Below are a few updates in one post:
1) Thermometers / Oven Mitts / Mugs are Shipped
2) Pizza Peels are Shipped!
3) Plant Buildout and Startup
The majority of our time since the Kickstarter campaign has been focused on building out our manufacturing facility - taking it from a small scale R&D shop until a full-fledged, small-scale manufacturing line. This required a detailed design on the layout of the plant, the selection of tons of new equipment, creation of the proper tools, and bit of R&D along the way - and the process in still occurring. We plan to continue automating and scaling certain equipment to make more units, but at it's core, the Relic products are a handmade and hand finished product, which goes through numerous stages to get to the polished final product. Just recently, we have enough equipment in place that we have been able to perform a "soft start" of the plant, turning out small units. [Sorry for the lack of photos - our detailed plant layout and equipment is something we are currently keeping confidential.]
3) Update on Baking Stones
The Relic Baking Stones are the first cast stone product we are manufacturing, and so getting set up to make it has been a big deal, and huge undertaking - but the good news is - we are there! The first stones rolled off the line just before New Year.
Not only that, we've introduced a new "ribbed" back to the stone which lowers the weight and improves the drop-resistant. That's right - the world's first impact resistant baking stone just got better.
While all the stones were originally scheduled to ship in December, we had a few unexpected turns in the plant start up, and haven't had all the proper equipment running as necessary to guarantee a perfect product, and we don't want to ship anything less - but rest assured, the baking stones rewards are on schedule to ship this month (January).
Below are the shots of the machining of the actual "master" model which is used to create molds for the stones. You can see the new ribbed back design in the pictures here:
5) Outlook for 2017
Early 2017 will see a focus on using the plant to produce the rewards for the Baking Stone and Ring Mounts, while also continuing to get the core tooling set up to make the full Relic oven and all of its parts (handles, chimneys, etc). At this point, we feel we are in a position to have Relic shipping in April as planned, but it will take a lot of hard work on our end to get there.
We hope to stay in closer touch as early 2017 has some big milestones for us - so stay tuned. As always, feel free to reach out any time - we count on feedback from backers and other users to keep improving the products!
Thanks and here's to a great 2017!
- Brad and the TNSD Team