VW Camper Van Log Burner Creates Job Satisfaction
“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” says Pete Taylor as he recalls the advice of a family friend while chatting to us in the Creation Fabrication Ltd workshop in Chesterfield. He and colleague Shaun Maxey have certainly found a job that they love – designing, hand welding and finishing bespoke VW camper van log burners and BBQs. And they couldn’t be happier!
With four Swansway Group Volkswagen Van Centres in Birmingham, Preston, Liverpool and Wrexham, you can imagine how excited we were to discover Creation Fabrication’s VW camper van log burners. They sum up the VW camper van perfectly – classic practicality with a twist of fun!
To some, job satisfaction would come with a fat pay packet and fancy job title. Not so with Pete and Shaun who struggle with the title ‘artists’ – we settled on the name ‘creative fabricators’ which gives some indication of their joint experience of over 35 years in local fabrication plants. “I’m good with steel and like making toy cars,” says Shaun, although these masterpieces are anything but toys! Grown up toys, maybe, but more like functional art.
Shaun and Pete’s years of more formal steel fabrication have given them the knowledge to realise some of the most wonderful translations of vehicles, screen stars and mythological beasts into working log burners and BBQ grills. In fact, so fantastic are Creation Fabrication’s products that most customers decide never to light them, preferring to display them as talking points in their home or garden.
And what talking points! Each VW camper van log burner is crafted from 3mm sheet steel to designs requested by the customer. Specification-wise, Pete and Shaun often have little else to go on but a photo. CAD drawings and plans are shunned in favour of the two getting a feel for each project by hand drawing their ideas straight onto the sheet metal. “We spend a lot of time thinking about how to execute each job,” says Pete. The rest seems to come naturally.
Every detail is hand made, even the hinges, which could be bought in, are unsurprisingly handmade by the Creation Fabrication guys themselves!
“We tried laser cutting the steel and buying in the hinges but the end products didn’t look as good.” says Pete. We can see what he means. When the finished VW camper van burners are displayed, there’s a rugged but polished feel about them. These things are solid – each full-size VW camper van, for example weighs in at around 28kg and takes 3 full days to build.
The new range of XL VW camper van burners are 50% bigger and offer a 14″pizza oven as well as the BBQ grill complete with Creation Fabrication’s logo, and a log burner. The two food grade stainless steel plates (one for BBQ and one for pizza) are dishwasher safe and the burnt ash is easy to dispose of with a removable tray. A detachable chimney is can be made to any length and the registration plate can be personalised, making each one truly unique.
On all of the models, the detail is superb – a surfboard added to the top of a VW camper van, to the buttons on the control panels of movie robots and the snorkel fitted to a Land Rover… on the right side!
In the three years they’ve been creating these novel log burners, Creation Fabrication has tackled everything from elephants to owls, Buddas to Spitfires and a huge variety of other vehicles and film characters. Their ultimate project? “We’d like to get stuck into a room-sized, fire breathing dragon,” says Shaun. They’re just waiting for someone with a big enough budget although we suspect it would be a labour of love! Maybe then both Shaun and Pete could afford the classic VW Splitty camper van they are both eager to own.
So, where did this passion for designing and constructing crazy garden appliances come from? Shaun returned home from work one day to find that his wife had bought a chiminea for the garden. After one use, it was rusting and the paint was flaking. Shaun decided that he could do a better job himself… so he did!
This first creation took the form of the ultimate dark lord movie villain and by loading it into the back of his 1977 MkII Escort, Shaun had unwittingly attracted the attention of 2 buyers by the time he got the log burner home! The rest is history. Friend Pete soon joined the fun and both decided to give the project their full attention when the order books were overflowing, making the decision to leave their jobs as fabricators in 2015.
A love of cars and, in particular the VW Splitty camper van, prompted Pete and Shaun to have a go at their first van themed log burner. Social media shares by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and chat show host James Corden saw their email in-box go from three messages a day to 400!
Creation Fabrication now regularly exports log burners to Hawaii, the Philippines and Australia – making their VW campervans some of the best travelled in the world! Despite this, they are still grounded. “Our mates are always stopping by for a brew or to take advantage of our skills,” says Pete, indicating the two sets of iron gates that they are currently repairing for a friend and a relative. And they haven’t forgotten the jobs that gave them the skills that allow them to be so creative – they’ve recently replicated the ageing fans throughout buildings at Leicester University.
However, we know what Shaun and Pete would rather be doing. “Our wives and family are so supportive of us,” they say, and it’s a good job since both happily admit to getting so engrossed in their job that they often forget to go home. “There’s never a Monday morning feeling here,” says Shaun, “we bounce into work every day.” And it shows, you couldn’t wish to meet two nicer guys.
If you would like to see what makes the Creation Fabrication team so happy in their work, take a look at their VW camper van log burners and BBQs or challenge them to make one in a design of your choosing.
At Swansway Group, we want to share Shaun and Pete’s happiness by giving away one of their fabulous VW camper van log burners to help you enjoy the summer weather.
Yes, you could be celebrating the warmer evenings with a free Large Splitty BBQ & Pizza Cooker worth £550 from Creation Fabrication Ltd! To enter our competition, let us know via Twitter or Facebook what your signature BBQ dish would be!
The competition closes Friday 18th August at 10AM, ready for delivery in time for the bank holiday weekend!
Get your hands on a real VW camper van by visiting your nearest Swansway Group VW Van Centre and taking a look at our range of camper vans – now that’ll really make you happy!