Featured seller: BillDan

Tina of BillDan describes her products as tools for kitchen survival and productivity. Located in north west Auckland BillDan‘s focus is on offering unique, substantial and lasting kitchen products, with lashings of Kiwi ingenuity.

BillDan beer crate magnetic knife holder

What do you make?
I design and build magnetic knife racks, knife blocks and chopping boards.

What inspires you?
My surroundings – I’m lucky to live in the countryside, inspired by the natural beauty of where we live. It is such a peaceful and relaxing place to live and work from. I love recycling timber such as the old ABC beer crates, railway sleepers and old fencing battens – giving them another life and purpose is cool. And I love to invent stuff.

How did you get into your craft?
Well, I’ve always loved making things and one Christmas a few years ago my sister asked for a piece of timber so she could make a knife holder to get her sharp knives out of the draw. I decided at that point to design and build this for her as a Christmas pressie. I can’t say it was the most spectacular piece of work I’ve done but it went down a treat!

I thought about the idea of this and pottered away in the shed refining the design. I made one for my kitchen and people loved it. So here I am today – my range has grown quite a bit since then. Here’s a picture of the first BillDan knife block, and some examples of what I’m producing now…

Tina's first knife block


Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No. I’ve just learnt as I’ve gone along. But I’ve always been very handy. I love to fix and build things and timber is such an amazing and rewarding material to work with.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Hmmm! Have fun, create and use your imagination because everything is possible!

Describe your workspace
I work from home and I have a beautiful shed that is lined and insulated. Natural light comes through the skylights and the windows that look out over the surrounding farmland. Little birds come in and visit and poop on some of the work-benches (bit annoying) but oh well!

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite tool is my sanding machine. This can turn a motley piece of timber into a work of art in a few minutes. Clamps – you can never have too many of these as the process of building a chopping board involves precise clamping and gluing. It’s very satisfying when you get everything lined up perfectly.

billdan tina at work

Five words that describe your mind:
Purposeful, determined, motivated, tidy, organised.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“I just wanted to tell you how much Mum and Dad love their new knife block! They both think it’s perfect and are very stoked! I can tell it’s going to get lots of use, haha. We found a great spot for it, and it looks really good on the wooden walls. I’ve attached a couple of pictures so you can see how awesome it is! Thanks again so, so much.”

Your favourite childhood book.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss.

What are you reading now?
How to make home brew beer…

Who is you hero/heroine?
Currently its Scott Donaldson – the crazy dude who rowed his kayak from Australia to NZ this year! What a amazingly brave man!

A favourite quote?
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well…

Do you have any pets?
Yip! Three dogs, one cat, six chickens and one hundred cows!

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
Some beautiful wooden butter knives – I loved their shape, smoothness and natural timber grain.

You can see more of Tina’s stylish BillDan knife holders and kitchenwares in her Felt shop here.

BillDan white oak longboard prize draw

Tina has very kindly offered this gorgeous white oak chopping board (above) to one lucky Felt blog prizewinner, an absolutely beautiful piece. If you’d like to be in the prize draw, just leave a comment below telling us what inspires you about BillDan and Tina’s story and products. The draw will be made on Friday 26 September and is open to New Zealand residents only.

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12 Responses to “Featured seller: BillDan”

  1. Ingrid Hansen says:

    Firstly I love Tina’s work. Bold yet simple. Gutsy yet elegant. Best of all practical. The use of recycled materials although not a new idea, is always fascinating to see new uses of old treasures. Love it. Tina’s work is truly inspirational. In what is traditionally considered a man’s hangout, I love that Tina is in her very own woman’s cave, mastering grunty machinery. The fact she has no formal qualifications but rather learnt on the go, inspires others to give things a crack, & stick at it. Tina dropped in she was reading up on brewing beer. Does it get any better? This woman is choice. I like her style. She is an inspiration.

  2. Esther says:

    Love your work. The natural grain of wood and the warmth are awesome.

  3. Justine says:

    Wow ! It is lovely to read your story Tina, so nice to see someone find their passion and carry it out and with excellence just as your quote “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well…” as a mother i can only hope my kids can find this in their life going forward. Think you have sparked an idea for a Christmas gift to send to my parents in SA :-)

  4. Mitch says:

    Such an awesome idea! I love the use of the up-cycled timbers, and especially being crafted into something so beautiful with great practical application. Well done!

  5. Jillian says:

    Great wood work! The knife blocks are both beautiful and practical.

  6. Penny says:

    I love the cool use of recycled timber, especially the beer crates. And nice to see a woman’s shed with some serious power tools too! :-)

  7. Rosanne says:

    Inspired by someone self taught and doing what they love so beautifully. Her work would look great in my kitchen!

  8. Amber says:

    Wow, your homeware products are great… I’m loving the beer crate knife block ~ real kiwi ingenuity! I have to agree with you, timber IS rewarding… and just so beautiful… I’m feeling a tad envious of your workshop… that’s what I want!!!

  9. Fiona says:

    Love this work, so great to see someone so happy in what they do. I love the insight into your special workspace too, lucky you!

  10. Beautiful wood and work! I have admired these for awhile now :)

  11. Susi says:

    Ohhhh, I love your work. We have a cheap but practical knife holder behind our stove, mainly put up to keep the knives well out of reach of the kids, but I see an upgrade to your beautiful timber version in the near future :)

  12. Jo Campbell says:

    I really admire your skill. I have always loved things made of wood. Every piece has it’s own character so it’s wonderful to see someone creating something beautiful and functional out of something that might have been discarded. Beautiful work!

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