The company’s humble beginnings set the tone for how Arbortech does business and solidified the creative process behind the invention of unique tools. In 1983, Kevin Inkster was curious about why most furniture had square edges and couldn’t find a tool other than a chainsaw to sculpt wood. He played around with ideas and tried fitting a crude disc attachment to his angle grinder. After some development and several modifications, the attachment proved to sculpt wood faster, safer and more efficiently than anything else, and others seemed to agree. This was truly the start of Arbortech, which in time led to the introduction of ‘power carving’ and other unique cutting products and technologies.
This creative process still stands today. The Research and Development team continually strives to develop quality tools by asking how things can be done differently, better, safer and more efficiently. The resulting tools are simply a product of that incessant reluctance to accept the status quo.
Today, Arbortech is the world’s leading manufacturer of innovative tools, beloved the world over by those looking for function, inspiration or both. The company has more than 50 employees across four continents and Arbortech products are sold into more than 100 countries around the world.
As a company, we look inward and take care of each other, as well as looking outward to the wider community and making sure we do what we can for the planet. We believe creativity is subjective and we are constantly ‘playing’, making new things and encouraging others to play and practice inspired creativity.
“Play is more important than work. If they can be the same thing, then that’s the perfect scenario,” Kevin Inkster, CEO, Abortech.
“I got thrown out of one store!” Kevin said. “The owner told me, ‘no-one is going to pay $50 for a bottle top!’”
They almost gave up when they saw an opportunity to showcase their disc attachment at the Melbourne Woodworking Show. With a simple bench and a lump of wood, Kevin demonstrated his invention. They had only made a few hundred discs, which almost completely sold out at the show. After placing a small ad in the local newspaper, Kristine would get phone calls at all hours from people wanting to order the woodcarving blade.
In 1988, Kevin and Kristine drove from Nannup to Sydney so Kevin could appear on a TV show called Towards 2000, an ABC TV show that showcased developments in science and technology. When they returned home, there were bags of mail on their front doorstep. Each filled with envelopes containing $50 notes or cheques from people placing orders after watching the show.
“That’s when we knew we were onto something and we started employing people and setting up the company,” Kevin said.
Kevin's first experimental blade circa 1985
Kevin doing what he does best; tinkering around in his shed.
One of Kevin's first comissioned pieces, a power carved accent chair.
Kristine, Kevin and their son with their first order bound to the US
Kristine outside the front of Arbortech HQ in Perth, Western Australia circa 1991
Fast forward 30 years later to the current day Arbortech warehouse.
The blade that started it all... Check out the original packaging!
Going global! Arbortech's offices around the world
Kevin and Kristine still making furniture in their shed
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