When a carpenter chooses wood to build his house, he chooses the long straight pieces for the supports and the parts that you don’t really see. If they are to be painted, who cares what they look like? But when it’s time to build a shelf, or a door, or anything that people will see, stare at, admire, the long straight boards are set aside. That’s when it’s time to find wood with some character. He looks for the boards that come from trees that have seen more than sun and occasional rain. Wood with character comes from trees that have seen blight, fire, or wind, that have been eaten by animals, hit by lighting, or have been homes to the wildlife.

This is not to say that rotted boards are interesting, no, the trees must overcome these obstacles to make the wood strong again. Strong wood makes good doors and shelves. Function must always win over form. But if it’s possible to have both, then so much the better.

This is the Bearclaw design philosophy. First, function is considered, the tools here must act in the best way possible. The right materials are selected for the right jobs and right parts of the tools. Then, only when function is satisfied, is form considered. Grace and elegance is woven with the highest performance tools that we can make.

If a problem is ever found, in testing or in design, production is stopped until it is fixed. The design is run through the ringer again and again until this torment brings out a device that, like the tree, survives into true character, or fails and rots.

But make no mistake, this is not a design scheme of chance. Each design is carefully considered, the physics are calculated, the right lines and metals and connections are considered. Some parts need the long, straight boards, some need the pretty wood. Some parts need stainless steel, and sometimes brass is better. Every part of every tool has been considered, tested, tweaked, reworked, and tested again until function and form mesh into solid, simple, effective design.

Bearclaw produces essentially two types of tools. The first set are tools that run fairly common in fire circles. Most of the tools beyond basic poi and staves were developed and first introduced here at Bearclaw. Snakes, hoops, floggers, whips, swords, jump ropes, wings and fans weren’t available to the average spinner until Bearclaw introduced them. The other type are tools that do not meet all the criteria for inclusion on the main sales site. Designs that do not pass our strict safety and usage standards are never added to the site. Ones that cannot be regularly produced to exacting standards are not openly offered. And custom designs that are requested and made, but are implausible for public use, or could pose a threat to the average fire performer, are modified or left off. But you can find them in our new Custom items gallery.