Meet our founder
Hi there! I'm Shannon, and Wakkibat is my company. I first fell in love with table tennis when I was fifteen, and first started working with wood aged thirteen.
I grew up in rural Western Australia, in an area where magnificent trees and timber were everywhere, but opportunities to learn and play the game were scarce. I ended up making my first table aged sixteen, purely so I would be able to play at home.
Despite having a passion for creativity, nature, trees, timber, table tennis, and the engineering sciences for most of my life, I never thought to combine these interests by making blades, until recently.
If I had thought to do it sooner, I might never have done anything else! Designing and making blades is as addictive as crack cocaine for me, but thankfully it's also a lot healthier!
I first started experimenting with different blade designs, obscure timbers, building techniques and various composite fabrics during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and frankly have yet to stop.
My partner and her family also love the game. We decided to start Wakkibat around the time we first started running out of space in our home due to our newly-discovered passion for making blades. Living amongst piles of timber, tools and table tennis equipment is enormous fun, but you tend to stub your toe a lot on any clutter. Selling the blades we make however tends to solve this problem.
Making blades is more of a calling than a profession to me nowadays. I genuinely love what I do -- I fight hard to make my products exceptional and prefer to take my time with a customer's blade, rather than rush and give them an inferior product. Not once have I heard a customer complain about their blade, or say the end result wasn't worth the wait, so I guess I'm doing something right. 😂😂
I intend to keep making blades for the rest of my life. We put monumental effort into crafting and perfecting our products, through sheer love of what we do -- Its a process that never stops for us.
We sincerely hope you get as much pleasure out of owning and using our blades, as we have gotten from the process of conceiving and making them.
Hand-crafting blades with genuine care necessitates taking your time...
We call ourselves bladesmiths, because we choose to work like a village blacksmith.
Wakkibat is an unashamedly old-fashioned, hands-on, traditional craftsman's business -- such as used to be found in every town or village around the world for millennia.
Craft-based businesses and creating wooden objects by hand, are considered obsolete ways to work - yet its a business model that steadfastly refuses to die out.
We note this is how many of the world's most respected luthiers still choose to work every day. In the hands of a talented musician, these luthier's handiwork brings pleasure to millions, with every lovingly-crafted instance of their handiwork having the potential to become a valuable collectors item. Its a pretty noble example for us to aspire to frankly.
There's another similar parallel that exists in the slow-food movement.
In the slow-food movement, meals are prepared carefully by hand, then cooked slowly over a period of hours, or even days. Everything is done with extraordinary levels of care, and typically with a mug of something warming, or a glass of something festive sitting ready to hand.
Not only that, the food preparation is also meant done with as much laughing, dancing, joke-telling, and having fun with friends as one can possibly manage along the way. To quote The Mandalorian, when it comes to living a happy desirable life for us, "This Is The Way!"
Our Method Of Working
You can't rush the creation of art -- but coffee, fun and dance music make for wonderful catalysts.
We insist on taking our time and having fun while we work, because just like with slow-food, therein lies the magic!
Slow food tastes better, looks better, is healthier, more flavoursome, and of consistently higher quality that can be achieved via other faster and more efficient construction methods.
Furthermore, the process of making slow food also feeds the souls of its makers -- it is food created and presented as the result of a method of working, rather than merely an end in itself.
In actuality - the slow food process is nothing more than a particularly joyous way of living and celebrating one's daily existence.
It is an inherently creative process with intrinsic value all of its own. The slow food process is not something geared solely towards creating culinary excellence -- yet magnificent food regularly emerges from it nonetheless.
This is what we mean when we refer to "magic". All these factors inherent to slow food, are equally relevant to our business, blades, and manner of working. Its how we have chosen to live our lives, and it regularly results in the creation of magnificent blades.
What this all means for our customers, is they will always get high quality superior products from us, but through necessity, we can't be hugely specific over how long their order will take.
We work steadily. diligently, and carefully, on every order we get, and every blade we craft. But we do not work on weekends and holidays, we do not work to a deadline, and some days are more productive than others -- the work will be done, when it is done.
We always do our very best to keep clients and customers informed of any delays during the construction process regardless, And for their part, they understand our unique way of working, and appreciate some things cannot be rushed, as it only makes the end result poorer.
Our entire philosophy is encapsulated in a single phrase we've committed to writing and permanently mounted on our workshop's walls:
~~ "To make a blade properly, it must be done in the proper spirit" ~~
This means production variables matter more to us than the passage of time, and no production variable is truly irrelevant -- they can all affect the final result for the better, no matter how small they may be, or how irrelevant they may seem.
Even the type and amount of music we play in the background as we work, is an important production variable for us. Because honestly, how are we supposed to make a blade properly without dancing??
In every respect, making Table Tennis blades at Wakkibat, is very much like playing the game itself -- feeling Is everything!