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Build to suit: Custom skateboards

Marwood, a veneer supplier in Jeffersonville, Ind., is popular with skateboarders. The company targets custom builders, pushing hard maple and a seven-ply construction technique.

Students make skateboards at the Indiana State Museum classes.

“We are honored to be a trusted veneer source for this burgeoning industry,” company president Jim Martin says. “So many skateboarders are looking to make their own custom longboards, cruisers or street decks from scratch. Skateboarders know to come to our e-commerce online store for 10-deck packs or visit their local Woodcraft store to buy a one-deck pack of maple veneer.”

While there are fewer skateboarders than, say, 10 years ago, according to industry research, the sport is still popular with the younger generation. Exposure on ESPN’s X-Games and in video games and a record number of skate parks suggests the “fad,” started more than 50 years ago, isn’t about to go away.

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Custom boards speak to a skater’s individuality, while they can also be fitted with the latest hardware for optimum speed and trick capabilities.

Marwood is also offering private instruction for making skateboards. It scheduled a series of classes in March at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, inspired by the museum’s recent exhibition, “Rad Science: Skatepark Physics,” that concluded in January.

The classes will be led by master skateboard builder Brian La Vallee, a technology and art teacher at Lake Placid Middle/High School in New York. He will demonstrate a hot-knife method for making foam molds. The classes are sponsored by Woodcraft the Technology Association of Louisville, Kentucky.

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Marwood also features “The Handmade Skateboard” by Matt Berger (Springhouse Press) on its website. The 160-page book provides a history of the sport and step-by-step instructions for building five boards.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue.

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