Our roots reach deeply into German soil, just like the trees we transform into ball tracks, building blocks, toy figures, dice, and baby toys. Just like when HABA opened its doors in 1938, most of our wooden toys come to life in Bad Rodach, company’s site in Upper Franconia. Here, many woodworkers, turners, painters, toolmakers and a whole slew of other workers dedicate their time to turning boards into toys that thrill and delight children around the globe.
Yesterday growing in the forest, tomorrow growing close to your child’s heart
Everyone has seen them - beech, birch, maple and basswood. These trees give their wood for our colorful, solid and sustainable toys and furniture.
Beech wood is light brown, very hard and versatile, as you can see when browsing our product spectrum. All our Play Worlds figures, HABA ball tracks and building blocks, many of our clutching toys and pacifier chains, not to mention the figures for our board games, are all made of regional, German beech wood, growing in the forests surrounding our company’s location. Our Matti furniture is also made of high quality, oiled or white stained, beech wood.
We find birch, however, to be more appropriate for our furnishing accessories such as lamps or wardrobes. Birch wood is very light in color and can be worked solidly or in veneer boards, and cut to length in our carpentry workshop before being further processed.
Maple is considered one of the most valuable precious timbers. Light and hard, maple is excellent for lathing work, perfect for HABA clutching toys with their gentle curves. Occasionally, our carpenters work with basswood to create wonderful accessories for children’s rooms.
What’s more, most of our wooden products carry the PEFC seal of approval, your guarantee for certified sustainable, responsible treatment of our forests.
How does a piece of beech wood become a Sock Monster?
Nearly every day a truckload of beech wood is delivered to the HABA toy manufacturing premises. The first stop is the kiln, to dry the wood for optimal handling. The HABA production staff then goes to work. They carefully examine each piece of wood, cut the logs into planks and decide which piece of wood is best suited for which area of toy production. There are several production steps involved in creating delightful, sturdy toys like the funny Sock Monster of the game Lucky Sock Dip made out of individual strips of beech wood.
To start with, a technical drawing must be made which mirrors the designer’s concept. Special milling heads are then produced to correspond precisely to the drawing’s form. These milling heads cut the Sock Monster’s outer form into the wooden strips. The perfectly profiled wood is then cut into segments, which are carefully sanded to create a smooth surface and assure that all edges are gentle to your child’s hands.
Little Sock Monster – Big Machines
Just how does the Sock Monster get his bright green color? And what about his dapper face, his dark green stripes and orange feet? Once sanded down, the beech wood pieces are passed on to the paint shop. Here, there are various color barrels, each containing a particular shade of water-soluble varnish. The unvarnished wooden pieces get to take a color bath, diving into the barrel of bright green varnish. After that, a worker inserts the bright green bodies, one by one, onto a special part of a big embossing machine. First, the indentions are hollowed out and painted, giving Little Sock Monster his bold face, rosy cheeks and dark green stripes on his belly. His orange feet are varnished separately and then attached with dowels and glued to his body. Now, finally, after all that, the Little Sock Monster is ready at last to take his place in his yellow box with his other play pieces. Since every HABA game is unique, mostly made of wood and sturdy cardboard, the Little Sock Monster and all other HABA toys are laid in their cartons by hand. Only then are they ready to be sent off to delight children all over the world!