A random sample of email I get form companies in China trying to sell me skateboards. I thought I had posted this before but it didn’t show up when I searched for Elephant. The “blog” section of Skate and Annoy has been running for about 10 years now… it’s hard to keep track of this stuff. Nothing says Christmas like an elephant jumping over the great wall of China on a plastic skateboard.
This is day 3 of 5 Days of Ohio posts – for no particular reason. This came in from reader Jeff Haynes:
When I think of Ohio, I think of G.S.D., Donnie Humes and Smelly Curb Zine, the Dayton Visitor’s center, and most recently Fickle Skateboards. What makes this Cincinnati skate “company” different is that Lew Ross is known to drive to Canada to pick up veneers, presses his boards in his workshop, and does all production work d.i.y. from pressing to printing to shipping.
It looks like Fickle has been around since 2009. Even while early boards were made by Pennswood, the DIY spirit was still going in those early trucker hats that look like the logo was spray painted on with a stencil. Fast forward to today, and Everything is done in-house, even the pressing and screen printing of the boards.
Still need suggestions for 5 Days of Ohio.
This year’s entry into the next great skateboard fabrication method comes from N2R Skate, which is a side venture from a company that has been making boat hulls using a sandwiched composite technology from a Swedish company named DIAB. It’s apparently used in private jets, boats, skis, trains, submerged water vehicles, and now skateboards. The main advantage they are pushing is that this would be the last longboard you’d ever need to buy, since it’s virtually indestructible and is 25% lighter than standard longboards. To be sure, they show these boards taking some incredible abuse with the implied assumption that the performance would not be effected as a result. They drive a car over the board, which is not that big of a deal considering I’ve seen an Uncle Wiggley wood/fiberglass composite board survive an encounter like that during the 80’s. However, some of the other puncture tests are pretty impressive. Of course this technology comes with a price tag. Remember, this is for yachts and race cars. During the kickstarter phase they are offering a “strongly discouted price” of 179€ or 242$ for the deck alone. Pictures and videos after the jump.
I thought these heat transfer machines were like 10k or something, but apparently they go for $3,500 to $5,500 depending on whether or not you want to transfer one side at a time or two. These guys sell everything. Skateboards, plastic skateboards, Griptapes and Hardwares [sic.], trucks, skate tools and yes, heat transfer machines. Machines for Skateboards was the title of the email they sent me with this image, so I thought I’d find out how much this stuff costs. Probably a bit higher in reality. I’m sure that doesn’t include shipping and import tariffs. Machines for Skateboards reminded me of the “Robot Skateboarders” in Screen Printing is Amazing, because it is. Alternate title: Heat Transfers are Marvelous.
So essentially these boards are made out of plastic resin and paper composite, some of it post-consumer waste. Each board sold means a tree planted, so sustainability is important to Grow Anthology. Oddly enough, they aren’t blabbing about it all one the web site. You actually have to look around for it. More than likely, this composite material isn’t viable for your average ledge, stair or rail skater, but for campus cruisers and transportation… Sure, why not. Now your coffee and your skateboard can be Rainforest Alliance certified. Made in USA to boot.
Source: Plastolux – Thanks to Va for the tip.
Here’s another “How skateboards are made” segment. Youd think I’d be sick of them, but I’m not. Keep making them, I’ll keep watching them, because everybody seems to do it slightly differently, and every editor and/or industry head choses to leave out certain certain bits. This is (at least) the second such program filmed at Powell facilities. They were featured on “Made in America” a handful of years ago. I have that one archived on tape, I guess I should have put that one up first. Points of interest here: Are they really cutting out by hand and not using CNC machines? That would be hard to believe, especially when it looks like their molds were machined out of aluminum. The voiceover is comical at times, talking about colorful inks that also “protect” the skateboard. It’s amusing when they make it seem like the wheels for a specific batch of skateboards are simultaneously being poured while the boards are setting up. This show is called Factory Made, and it was on the Discovery network. Those guys love these manufacturing shows.
Now that MC’s bowl is in the finishing stretch, here’s something else to follow. Josef Heffner has demoed his DIY backyard bowl complex and in favor of a new expanded layout. Nearby, Danimal is working on building his own board press, to be constructed with veneer he plans to buy here. If you’ve got something you’re working on, we’d love to hear from you too.
The Science Channel’s How it’s Made program featured skateboards as one of the items that they show… how they are made. For some reason they chose the skateboarding segment to include some gratuitous “history of” narration and crappy animation. None of the other products got the extra dog and pony show. The skateboarder in the picture above seems to be caught in some sort of time-space wormhole anomaly where he is forced to dress like the late 70’s but ride a skateboard that looks like it was designed in the 50’s.
Every skateboard manufacturing process seems to vary a little, but the basics are the same. If you’ve never seen this type of thing before it can be interesting. These guys are using the heat transfer process to apply the “decorations” as they call it. The video does not show how the heat transfers are printed (similar to printing t-shirt transfers, colors are printed in reverse order on a flat substrate.) but does show them being applied. The shapes are cut out by hand using an interesting shaping template and what I think is a planer. I’ve never seen it done that way before. Actually, a factory using heat transfers for graphics is probably also using a CNC machine to automate cutting out the shapes. They probably got out the old templates for the camera. Oh yeah, check out the crappy skatepark they show. Classic concrete tranny stuck on top of asphalt flatground. Sweet. If anyone knows where any of this was shot, please leave it in the comments. Watch the video after the jump.