Category: Blog

The design of the Swip eating tool was thoughtfully done.


The design of the Swip eating tool was thoughtfully done.

When restaurants came calling about using The Tines as eating tools, Tom realized the time was right to bring his fluid-dynamic eating tongs to the next level. This kindled his long-time desire to make a unifying utensil incorporating the best features of The Tines, spoons, chopsticks, forks and fingers.

The goal, to create a well-balanced eating tool that would feel warm in the hand, embrace food gently, and lift a bit of sauce, had to be achieved in a lightweight, dishwasher-safe, organic material. Tom had to realize his vision through a new, collaborative process of design using a food safe material, more durable than wood, yet with small ecological footprint.

Tom’s method of designing cooking, serving and eating tools–using Nature as a model–at this point had to meet the challenge of 3-D design and plastic molding. It took over two years of research and development to achieve the appropriate curvature to the plate and proper balance in the hand, featuring a sauce-sipping tip, pleasing in the mouth and on the lip.  An eating utensil so different, it even needed a new verb: to swip.

This twig forerunner to the Swip was made on a camping trip.

The Swip Story

This twig forerunner to the Swip was made on a camping trip.
In the field

SwipStix™ ergonomic eating tongs were conceived in the wild by a nature-loving Canadian designer who loves to cook.

Many moons ago, Tom Littledeer was on a wilderness canoe trip in Northern Quebec. But no one had brought eating utensils. Eager to eat the fish he had caught, he whittled a stick and split it to make rudimentary chopsticks — until a knot in the wood halted the knife, leaving a Y. He lodged a pebble into the Y and used the twig like tweezers to eat the fish. For the rest of the trip, everything was eaten with “Ys”.

Around the campfire, the topic turned to the “Ys”: Is it really necessary to stab cherry tomatoes? Do salads need to be subdued? And why are there so few eating utensils when the types of food and the cooking utensil markets are every expanding?

The idea of a product formed: An utterly new utensil — a natural extension of the thumb and forefinger; an eating tool that would work like a bird’s beak.

Littledeer, then and still a designer of wooden implements for the kitchen, returned from the trip to develop an extended line to his cooking and serving tools, the Sprongs™. The Tines™ eating tools have been on the market since 1998, their availability restricted by their method (handmade), their material (wood) and their inability to go in the dishwasher.

But the idea of an elegant, quiet, interactive eating tool for the food service industry simmered, awaiting the advance of technology. It was only when resilient food-friendly polymers hit the market just as the emergent sustainable food movement and the visual aspect of plating became mainstream through the internet, that the moment was right.

The Swip™ was the culmination of a multidisciplinary challenge, a bringing together of the skills of cooking tool design, prototyping, tool-and-die making, 3-D modeling, thermoplastic molding, not to mention food preparing and serving, all focused through a deep interest in Nature and sustainability.

More versatile than chopsticks, more interactive than forks, the Swip had to respond to Littledeer’s guiding principles:

  • Be useful and innovative.
  • Be environmentally conscientious.
  • Be pleasing to the eye and comfortable in the hand.

What began as tweaked twigs evolved into ergonomic chopsticks and, today, into high-tech eating tongs as appropriate at a formal dinner as at a picnic. #eatingtongs #ergonomicchopsticks

SwipStix™ eating tongs: designed by Tom Littledeer, patented by Leading Edge Designs Inc., manufactured in Quebec, Canada.

utensil is a major attraction in the kitchen.

Why Chefs Love SwipStix

Salads are a perfect partner for the Swip utensil.

When a chef has gone to the enormous effort of styling a plate to appeal to the eye as well as the palate, the least we can do is eat the food with the same respect it was prepared. Stabbing is just not on. That’s why chefs appreciate your using the Swip. It selects the morsel you want to enjoy and lifts it effortlessly off the plate.

Forks hold meat down well enough, and they get the food to your mouth, but they are little help when plating, and do not treat salads with the delicacy they deserve. Evolving menus require a more interactive eating tool.

Use the Swip for salads and sushi, certainly, but also try swipping up sauce.

The design of the Swip eating tool was thoughtfully done.

Swip Cuisine

Today’s menus call for eating tools that are more nimble than chopsticks and more versatile than forks–tools that elevate the food, not just stab or skewer it. Now that food culture has evolved away from its ethnic roots, and has become cuisine-entertainment, the time is right to add something new to the cutlery tool box. #theswips #foodietools #notjustasushitool

A food lover should be able to eat with the same level of interest and attention as the person who plated the food. A restaurant patron should be able to artistically deconstruct the presentation on the plate with the same care as the chef who prepared it. #foodie #foodieculture

Swips are at home on your kitchen or dining room table.

The Swip creates a conversation between the eater and the cook – it allows them to Share With Interest and Passion.  #swoop—dip—sip

The Swip is the culmination of a 20-year multidisciplinary challenge: it took the skills of a master carver, a tool-and-die maker, and a creative cook, combined with a deep passion for Nature to create the Swip. Designed by Tom Littledeer, patented by Leading Edge Designs Inc., and manufactured in Canada. They are available at Archer Hard Goods and at 844-UTENSIL.

Design process

A Brief History of Eating Utensils

  • Chopsticks are simple, historical eating tools that have not changed much in 3600 years.
  • Chopsticks take some skill to manipulate, but are somewhat limited in their ability to pick up certain foods.
  • Disposable chopsticks are simply not sustainable.


  • Forks have only been around for a few hundred years.
  • Forks were originally intended to hold meat in place while slicing or butchering, They stab, poke and pin down food well.
  • Metal forks can be cleaned by hand or in a dishwasher, but care must be taken to clean between the tines where food can get stuck.
  • Disposable forks are usually breakable, inefficient, and too short to properly fit in vessels. If not recyclable, they end up in landfills.


  • Swips have been researched for over 20 years and were released in 2015.
  • Swips are designed for efficiency, cleanliness, durability and elegance.
  • Swips are easy to grip, hug the food gently, pick up some sauce, and sit with their tips off the table.
  • Swips are made out of the safest plastic available. It can be recycled in a plastic facility or disposed of in the garbage where it remains stable, sequestering carbon and will eventually be mined.


A Brief History of Eating Utensils

Consider the Fork, Bee Wilson:

Cultured Gourmands; Development of Eating Utensils (Wong, E.):

and on a simpler note:

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