A few weeks ago we did a story on what to look for (and to avoid) when it comes to choosing a woodshop. We know there are many folks out there who are very interested in starting up their own deck company. We heard from Mike Mahoney of Savvy Cycles
and founder of Honey Skateboards.
Mike Mahoney in his shop.
Photo: Jeff Nass
Mike is an expert when it comes to wood and we are delighted to share his insights. Here is just a partial list of things Mike suggest you look for when it comes to choosing the right shop for you.
Does the shop control the environment?
Almost every shop will control temperature but many do not consider humidity. Since wood will shrink or swell as it drys out or takes on moisture, a shop should keep the humidity level within a certain range to reduce the movement of the wood (veneers). They should monitor the moisture content of the wood as well. Veneers should be stored in an controlled environment. Pressed decks should be given the proper time to cure and return to an equilibrium state before they are cut and shaped and stored in a controlled environment until they receive the finish.
Pressed decks should not be stacked to cure, this promotes unequal drying that can cause warping, air need to circulate around all side evenly. A deck that is too dry shipped to Florida will take on a lot of moisture do to humidity and can warp easily, and a deck with a high moisture content shipped to Arizona will dry out considerably and potentially warp and/or crack. Shops may not give you the specifics but they should indicate that they the decks are maintained in an humidity controlled environment for storage of veneers to finished deck. If not, look elsewhere.
Photo: Jeff Nass
What materials does the shop use?
Maple, bamboo, birch, fiberglass, carbon fiber, other or a combination of. I caution the use of bamboo, it cracks easy and best used in a composite construction. I have seen many brand new, never ridden, big name longboards on racks in shops that were cracked. Shops should advise the proper wood species to suit your needs.
Epoxy, PVA or other. Both epoxy and PVA have specific applications. A lot of people think epoxy is best, but are they using the right epoxy for the application. Epoxy should not be press under as much pressure as PVA because it requires some space between veneers to be effective, otherwise you run the risk of a week bond. There are several PVA glues that were specifically design for skateboards. They are water resistant, and designed to work with the characteristics of maple to flex with the wood (AKA “POP”). PVA’s can be pressed with a tighter glue line than epoxy. Epoxy is better suited for composite constuction. If the shop is using consumer PVA or expoy, look elsewhere. These are industrial products used in industry and not available at Home Depot or Lowes.
Photo: Jeff Nass
For years the standard finish used on skateboards was lacquer. Lacquer in not he best finish for outdoor use. The reason it was used so much is that it is required if your graphic is a heat
transfer and it’s easier to apply. Polyurethane with UV protection is better if possible, it is more water resistant.
Water based adhesives and finishes win here. PVA is water based and most finishes are available in water based these days. Epxoy, carbon fiber, fiber glass and bamboo are the losers. Yes, bamboo! It has been marketed as a “green material” due to it incredible ability to regenerate, however, the process required to get the round bamboo into a flat veneer come with a huge carbon footprint, outweighing the green benefits, but no one wants you to know this.
Photo: Jeff Nass
What type of press do you use?
Cold press vs hot press, manual, hydraulic, pneumatic operated, vacuum bag or clamps?
Cold vs hot depends on the materials and the adhesives used. Press time can also play into the equation here. Hydraulic and pneumatic are more production oriented, then manual, vacuum bag and clamps.
Does the press have a pressure gauge?
Adhesive manufactures have a recommended psi. Without a pressure gauge, how do you know if you meet the recommendations or that every board is pressed consistently? Again, epoxy requires less pressure that PVA.
Molds – Do you have stock molds? Can you make custom molds? Who owns the custom mold? If we part ways, can I take “my” custom mold with me?
The type of mold used is directly related to the type of press used. Do you need a one sided or male/female mold? Woodshops often will have a choice of stock molds to choose from. This is a good way to get started because a custom mold can cost upwards of $1000. Molds are often laminated with baltic birch, maple or even aluminum=($$$$$$). Stay away from a shop that recommends using 2×6’s or other framing material to save money. Just like your veneers, the molds should be kept in a controlled environment. A warped mold will only press a warped deck. Molds need to be precise to get consistent and secure glue joints. A CNC cut mold if far superior to a hand shaped mold. A mold can last for 10’s of thousands of decks if taken care of. A mold also needs to be designed to press a given number of boards. This leads to the next question.
There is a large variation in the industry with this. Some will press up to 5 decks in one mold to save time. This creates 5 different decks with respect to the contours, concave, kicktails, and wheel wells. As you stack decks, each decks’ contours get progressively smaller up the stack. Some don’t care, and some do. Pressing 2 decks at a time minimizes the differential range but takes longer to press decks in a production setting. This is a decision you have to make. Consistency or quantity, where is the happy medium?
The 11th annual Swap Meet held at Roarockit
is coming up fast. #SWAP11 happens on Sunday April 8, same place, same time as always. For those who don’t know the exact address, it’s 880 Millwood Avenue in Toronto. Temperatures are slowly warming up here Hogtown. The fun begins at noon! After 4pm, there will be a slide session at the Poop Chute.
Roarockit is also presenting an additional event that benefits the amazing work of the Oasis Skateboard Factory
. It is taking place on April 12 is the Boards of Education Art Show and Auction at the Gladstone Hote
l. This This year, there many artists, from music to street and everything in between. The students are teamed up with an artist, who then creates a board with the student’s input on the topic, this year it is Mis-Education. Boards are auctioned off by Jay Mandarino – owner of CJ’s skatepark
. It’s all good fun and raises some badly needed funds to support the school.
So.. You Can Longboard Dance? 2018 Worldcup Longboard Freestyle and Dance (flatland disciplines) 6th edition APRIL 21st and 22nd 2018 Klokgebouw Eindhoven The Netherlands competitions. Entry is free for spectators.
Bianca Kersten heads up Flow Provider and she is in charge of the event. We contacted her from her home in Spain.
For those who are new to the party, what is it about longboard dancing?
Longboard dancing is riding a longboard in your own style, with flow (speed, consistency, combos) and creativity (innovation is important in competitions). It includes dancing that is accompanied by a variety of technical tricks.
How did Flow Provider become part of this movement – and what was the impetus to start the SYCLD
Already since 2003 does Flow Provider organise projects within street culture and street sports. Mainly events and programs in school. We believe in making a circle: pro’s inspiring people to start who are taught bij <retired or not> pro’s who can make a living out of their passion this way. These new inspired people who are taught form the new generation of pro’s and so the story continues. I believe in taking care of the whole circle to maintain a healthy scene. I use to manage a building on the opposite side of the Klokgebouw. Jan, the owner told me that I should just ask whenever I wanted to do something. It was bad weather and we wanted to skate. And so we did.. and the whole world came. Things lined up.. I had the time and knowledge to make an event out of it (which was necessary because of the huge amounts of people that wanted to come), I have the love of longboarding and knew the people in the scene and the owner of the Klokgebouw supports us in an unbelievable way. So.. it became ‘So.. You (think you can <- the first edition this was added) Can Longboard Dance?’ as a joke because the event that was her big sister, in Zwolle NL, was called ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Nobody knew it would lead to this. And I think the secret of the succes and growth is that there is no ulteriar motive. As long as a bunch of people have fun skating and inspire others, SYCLD is a succes.
What are some of the goals of Flow Provider?
The goals of Flow Provider is inspire, connect, educate and spread the stoke. Get people to feel what we all know about. The feeling of motion on a board and the butterflies and joy that gives. What it means if you can live your passion. I guess that is also the strength of organising SYCLD. I love every moment I can spend on the beach and in the ocean, so I only want to spend time behind the computer doing what I love, my time is too precious to me. SYCLD is an event I love to organise because it’s all about positivity. Everyone wants the best for it and each other. Even the sponsoring brands don’t want to dominate each other. Everyone supports it and loves doing so because it’s nice! Teaching longboard is also so nice! I was teaching thousands of kids and the smiles are the best! So inspire and get those who are inspired to inspire others. The pebble in the water..
For SYCLD I would like to have one event on every continent or in every region. The winner wins a trip to Eindhoven to have a shot at the title of World Champion. I think everyone should have the chance to attend and that a plane ticket to Eindhoven should not be the reason that maybe the biggest hidden talent somewhere can’t come. I think Brenno’s story is so inspirational. Did a crowdfunding campaign to get money for a ticket from Brazil to Holland and luckily he made it because he became world champion that year! And this changed his life!
For those who’ve never attended a SYCLD, what should they expect?
A huge venue of 5000m2 where you can skate, watch and enjoy yourself! With the nicest people on the planet doing things on a board that seem impossible. Just enjoy, skate and relax. The event is both days (21st and 22nd of April) from 13.00-22.00 and on Saturday there is a party nearby. Many competitions and much space to skate with obstacles. Eindhoven is also an awesome city. Most innovations and new developments in design are coming from Eindhoven. For those who can’t make it there will be a live broadcast!
This Saturday, in MORRO BAY, California, the world premier of Virgin Blacktop will take place. Thanks to the work of Charlie Samuels, this 23-years-in-the-making film will finally be unleashed formally to
the world. This is not to say that it hasn’t been seen. It has – in Nyack, New York back in fall to a local audience. But this particular moment in Morro Bay is the official world premier. I’ve seen the film TWICE and I can tell you that is absolutely is a masterpiece. It is 100% pure stoke. No skater will be unmoved. In fact, I think once this film works its magic on the skate world, you’ll see change within skateboarding. Positive change.
Virgin Blacktop isn’t just about skateboarding. It’s about community. It’s about how we as a society get a long. It’s about life and it’s about celebrating people’s lives. Unlike the Dogtown and Z Boys film which hit 18 years ago, this movie is in completely different head space. If you’re an old school skater, you won’t know any of the main characters (except if you’re a freestyler and the name Joe Humeres rings a bell).
The film will make you think about the positive energy that the act of skateboarding gives us all. If it doesn’t make you want to leap out of your seat and grab your board, chances are you’re either dead or comatose.
To Charlie Samuels and all of the Wizards who are featured in Virgin Blacktop, thank you for inspiring me to love skateboarding that much more! Your film and story is lesson for us all.
You don’t need to be sponsored by Vans to be a Wizard. Nyack, NY November 2017
I’ve met a number of freestyle skaters from Brazil. These include Per Cangru and Ernani “Tai Tai” Craveiro.
But what I’ve never seen is a combination of freestyle AND tattoos!
You gotta take a peek at Nyjah’s new nike sb part, ” ‘Til Death “. Face. Melted.
Also full thread in the forum for this vid here:
Today is March 8th. it’s International Women’s Day.
Did you know that?
The truth is my wife reminded me – but I thought it was on the 11th. Turns out that is the day many folks are gathering this weekend for rallies.
Patti McGee a leading light in skateboarding since the early 1960’s. Five decades later, Patti is still rolling!
By a strange coincidence, March 11 is my mom’s birthday AND the day I met Noel Korman in 2011 at the world’s first longboard trade show in NYC.
In most years, I’d be working on the April issue and waiting for the March Buyer’s Guide to come back from the press.
Ellen O’Neal rode for G&S. An awesome freestyle skater.
Photo: Warren Bolster
That didn’t happen this year. But more on that in a moment.
Peggy Oki made a huge mark on the “Lords of Dogtown.”
Laura Thornhill was featured in the Fall 1976 issue of SkateBoarder. She received over 10 pages of coverage!
I used to put a huge amount of focus getting the magazine out at the specific time. Speaking of time, I spent a huge amount time chasing advertisers to get their ads or listings in for deadline. Speaking of advertisers, happy to report we one new Swiss advertiser – Rocket Longboards.
Thanks to a series of events, I have the time to focus on things that connect all skaters. And that’s why I am writing this column. My first shout is to Candy Dungan, who is our associate editor. Can you spot her in this layout? Candy is right there…on the top left!
Can you spot Candy?
You see, I think now more than ever we need ALL skaters (both FEMALE and MALE) to be part of International Women’s Day. Here’s just one link why.
Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word!
I encourage you to get out there and roll for women today. Think of what is must be a woman in Vatican City, the only place in the world where women can’t vote.
And in Belarus, women can’t become truck drivers. Then again, if you think about it, it was only 1971 when women got the right to vote in Switzerland.
The Longboard Girls Crew
For those male skaters who can’t understand what your role is today, here’s my take:
Get out there and skate. Enjoy everything the act of skateboarding gives you. Freedom and fun springs to my mind. If you run into some female skaters or just females, treat them the way you’d like to be treated. If they are new skateboarding, stoke them out. If they’ve been riding longer than you, take the time to learn from them. If you just do that, you’re rolling for peace – that is your role. If you want to march, or support women
in some other way , that’s also cool too.
So, here’s to women everywhere in skateboarding! Thank you for being here! Girl is NOT a 4 Letter word!
Special shout out to Valeria Kechichian of the Longboard Girls Crew.
Tip of the hat to:
Pink Widow Distribution.
BTW: Our next roll is April 22 – Earth Day.
Come join us in Toronto for this event
Spots are available for your product – it is green
And check out Peggi Oki’s charity that fits perfectly with April 22.
A quick glance over at Amazon USA and you can get into a longboard for $29.99
YIKES! (just kidding about the roll over image part!)
And here’s something else to consider – FREE SHIPPING
How the F**K does this even work? Shipping has to cost something. A big box like this has to be at least $15 to ship.
But don’t take my word for it, have a look at the reviews.
I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t have price point products. We should. But can someone please explain to me after you:
- take a piece of wood – shape it into a deck and add grip
- add trucks and mounting hardware
- add wheels and bearings
- pay someone to put it together, put it in a box and ship it to the USA
- then ship it from a warehouse to a customer somewhere for FREE
HOW THE HELL DOES THIS EVEN MAKE A PROFIT?
We are devaluing skateboarding one not for profit complete at a time.
This newsletter is about what to look for in a woodshop. And we have a hard hitting interview with a manager of an established woodshop.
The truth is that skateboarding is awesome.
The real truth is that starting a skate company and working with a woodshop can be nightmare. Just ask my buddy _____. We can’t give his name because you know…lawyers. But trust me it can be a total nightmare trying to get decks made. We hope this little interview helps you avoid some serious nightmares.
REMEMBER – buyer beware! DO NOT FREAK OUT…read this interview FIRST before you place that order.
What should you be looking for when it comes to choosing a woodshop to make your decks?
History and heritage. This shows credibility and experience right off the bat. The customer should be able to pull plenty of information about the organization on the internet
Their philosophies and core values. Check out their website and see what they are about.
Cleanliness and organization. Visiting the factory not only ensures that they are not brokers themselves, but also allows the customer the ability to check out their organization. We know that all wood shops are dirty or dusty, but not to a point that it looks like stuff is just thrown everywhere
Customer Service. Customer service should be a top priority. Are they taking the time to really meet your needs, or do they just want to take your money?
The desire to work with the customer. A great wood shop would sit you down, ask you questions, and be upfront with you about everything verbally and most importantly, in writing, so there are no discrepancies
Over promises. An experienced wood shop would under promise, and maintain their timeline ( usually between 4 to 6 weeks). Most of the time, they finish the job before then.
The woodshop’s opinion and/or advice. Yes, both parties need to make money. A great wood shop would give their opinion and/ or advice without telling one what to do, hopefully resulting in a production-friendly, quality product. There are no perfect wood shops; they do run into snags and it is to be expected. But make sure that the wood shop communicates this back to you. They should be giving you facts, answers, and solutions…not excuses.
A great wood shop would also let you know that certain processes would be better done by you rather than the wood shop, so you can save money and time. The attitude of the wood shop should be like what’s someone once said , “ We are here to make your life as easy as possible, and help you be successful at the same time.”
How to best handle references?
Great wood shops will not reveal their customers. It’s like a code of ethics to keep their OEM customers at secret. Most likely, a great wood shop will already have a great reputation by simple “word of mouth”. Remember that good references should not only be on the quality of the product, but also on timelines, and especially customer service.
What are some alarm bells that should trigger “RUN AWAY!” ?
This is a tough one, since every wood shop looks great at first even with great references, but do your RESEARCH! If you are caught in the middle of a dilemma, you should look at signs of multiple promises not delivered, and multiple excuses….THIS IS A WARNING SIGN….by the second promise not fulfilled or second excuse….you should start thinking of your exit strategy.
What’s the best way to handle disputes?
Disputes are easy to handle if everything was placed in writing before the start of production. Write everything down, and you as the OEM customer and the wood shop should review the terms. Once agreed to, both parties should sign off on it
Recap e-mails are a must, just in case there were details that needed more attention or were missed. There’s a saying that the customer is always right. That is true most of the time, but if you have everything in writing…there should be no question who made the mistake…it’s either the customer or the manufacturer.