I had this idea a while back, and of course it was overblown in its initial state.  I would enlist the help of the two people I know who have the know-how and the elaborate woodshops that would enable me to lay up some custom skate decks.  Then, I would woodburn cool custom designs into the decks for the sheer pleasure of having a really nice custom deck.  Then, I would cover the deck with a clear resin finish with some quartz sand mixed in for grip, and vóila!  A really expensive, jaw-droppingly cool skate deck for me.  I say for me because you can see how such a thing could be well outside the perceived value/price range of your average skater.  The kinds of people who would WANT such a thing are the kinds of people that skate so good and so hard that they regularly break decks.  You don’t want to smash a two-month old $300 custom deck do you?  No.  Nobody’s that frivolous.

But overlarge good ideas can be whittled down to something manageable.  I started tinkering around.  Why build custom decks out of handpicked hardwood ply when you can go online and buy a half-dozen blank decks and piddle around all you like on them?  So I did that.  And that whole Resin finish thing?  The wiser heads at the skate shop said “Why not use clear grip tape?  Zap.  Done.  So all that remained was the woodburning of the art.  That’s what I was mostly interested in.  I like woodburning, and I like the idea of the art on the top of the deck, so I went for it.

It took me three months to finally clear a day in my schedule, and there wasn’t time to really finalize the cool Hubris art that I wanted to do, so I decided the first deck would be total practice- a throwaway if necessary.  So I laid out an area to work in, transferred some art to a deck fresh out of the box and sanded bare of finish, and grabbed my woodburning tool.  Turns out, I needed all three of my woodburning tools to make this thing work.  There were some effects and line weights that insisted on various kinds of burn.

There are big fat lines from a tool that’s pretty much a soldering iron, a lot of tiny feathery lines that come off a tool I bought at a specialty wood shop years ago, and some patterning in the background that comes off a hot twist of wire in the end of a handle on a thing my father got from a woodworking buddy- it’s a tool that started life as a charger for a car battery and now does duty as a custom branding iron.

There you have it.  Niiiiice skate deck.  I took some photos and ran to the skate shop to get that clear grip tape put on it.  That didn’t work out so well – waaay too milky and opaque,  so we’re on to phase two.  I do the art on the bottom of the deck and go get some resin.

I’ll let you know how it goes.