Updated: Mar 28, 2022
Surfing and Skating have been a part of life since my earliest memories... Growing up on the island of Kauai and being raised by a father who's only priority above surfing was his family, our skateboard and surfboard quiver were more fixtures in our daily lives than they were novelty toys. Though skateboards were more of a means of transportation to the surf than anything else, the areka palm barrels, power slides, and speed wobbles of my childhood are things I still find myself longing for in my adult life.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to make skateboards but in November of 2020 a combination of free time and some rotten monkeypod slabs gave me the extra push I needed to give it a shot. I had recently built a large kitchen island for a client who had a few large monkeypod slabs that she had originally wanted to use. Unfortunately those slabs had been stored poorly and had rotted completely through their thickness. Luckily the rott was isolated to the areas where they slabs had been "stickered" (horizontal slats in a lumber stack that allow for airflow and even drying) so there was still some useable material between those areas. Fortunately I was able to get about 30" of useable matrial.
Around the same time I had just finished up a Mango Entry Console that featured curved doors. In order to build these doors I had to get a vacuum press and build custom forms for creating the curves in the doors. Typically these forms are a "one-time-use" item unless you are making a bunch of the same thing... or in this case are able to repurpose the mold for something completely different.
With Christmas around the corner and a general dislike for the typical commercialized buying trends that coincide with the holiday, I decided to make hand made gifts that year. I could cover the immediate family and maybe even make a few extras to sell. As it turns out the rotten monkeypod, the form for the curved doors, and an ongoing pandemic were the three ingredients needed to start my Skateboard building adventure.
The Monkeypod was quickly processed into shorter billets which were then re-sawn on the bandsaw to create the .08" thick "skins." Each skateboard deck would be made up of about 7 of these skins and placed into the vacuum press on the curved door forms to create the reverse camber that the first batch of "penny" boards would feature, I also added a second profile to the form to create the tail kick.
The decks turned out awesome and the monkeypod was as beautiful as could be expected. Hesitant to slap some grip tape on the beautiful decks I decided to take a different approach. Using a propane torch and wire wheel I carefully charred the decks and brushed the soft grain away. This leaves a wonderful texture that feels awesome under bare feet (how we rode them as kids). Last I sealed the skatboard decks with a high quality oil finish.
I made a quick post to social media and was quite surprised at the response. I decided to go ahead and put a bunch together that year. I even built a second mold in order to accommodate 2 other styles of boards. This past year I even decided to do another batch and this time thanks to the addition of our laser engraver I added some custom artwork to the decks as well.