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2023/08/10 - Guild Meeting - Up-cycling Used Skateboards with Michael Earley

Published on 7/13/2023
Up-Cycling Used Skateboards with Michael Earley
  • Thursday August 10th
  • Hybrid meeting (NC State Craft Center and Zoom)
  • Zoom call opens a 6:15 for socializing
  • Meeting begins at 6:45 PM
  • Demonstration begins at 7 PM

Most skateboard decks are made from a high grade of maple veneer plywood. The exact number of skateboards manufactured every year is unknown. 

What is known is that millions of used skateboard decks are discarded annually, ending up in landfills when, instead, they could be recycled or in Michael Earley’s case, Up-Cycled.  One of the many benefits in up-cycling broken or discarded products is keeping items out of the landfill, but for Michael, its more than that.  Each piece he creates has its own unique story. The life these skateboards have gone through before they end up on Michael’s lathe is always interesting. You can tell each one was used, abused, loved and represented the individuality of its owner.

They come to Michael covered in stickers, dirt, doodles and sometimes spray paint. All are scratched, gouged, cracked and many are broken in half. It’s evident that each deck provided hours of enjoyment to their previous owners.

This demonstration is a high level overview of the process Michael goes through to take the well-used and often broken skateboard decks, and make them into a usable product that can fulfill a new purpose like turning blanks.

Topics to be discussed:

  • Sourcing broken boards
  • Prepping the boards
    • Remove grip tape
    • Remove all glue
  • Sanding
  • Cut boards into workable shapes
  • Gluing and clamping to create a turning blank
  • Turning the blank
To read more about the process, check out Michael's article here.

About the demonstrator:

As a self-taught woodturner, Michael’s passion for woodworking began in his Junior Highschool woodshop class. His passion for creating with wood progressed into woodturning when he purchased his first lathe in 2017. Since then, he has explored multiple aspects of turning from resin casting, stabilizing, upcycling broken skateboards, hollow forms and most recently basket illusion.
Michael is a WGNC Board Member and is currently Program Director. 

For more information about Michael and his work, please visit his website or Instagram page.