Student searches for ‘a different kind of skateboard’

Nolan Krebs

It’s not uncommon to see students riding to class on a skateboard or longboard, but this fall you might come across something different.

For senior human centered design major Adam Reed, making skateboards has been a longtime dream.

“I have always wanted to make my own boards, and when my senior year began I decided that I would start making them,” Reed said.

Reed, who operates ReeDesign LLC., began designing and constructing skateboards as a project for his senior thesis.

“Ever since then, it has become a dream for me to be able to support myself manufacturing skateboards,” Reed said.

The process of constructing takes around three days from start to finish.

Wood veneer is cut into rectangles to be covered in glue and placed within a hydraulic press for eight hours.

“After the glue has shaped the wood into a skateboard template, it’s removed from the press and left alone to let the glue cure for an additional 48 hours,” Reed said.

The template is then cut down to the size and shape desired, and holes are drilled for the trucks that hold the wheels.

The edges of the deck are then smoothed out with a hand router, and the board is touched up with a belt sander before the finish is applied.

The finished product looks different than an average skateboard.

“Blending the ideas used in snowboarding, my skateboards add a little more curvature to the deck,” Reed said. The result adds more control and response for the rider.

In order to create the boards, several pieces of equipment are required: a hyrdraulic press, table router, band saw, drill press, barrel sander, hand router and table saw.

Since he no longer has access to NMU’s lab facilities, Reed has had to look elsewhere for the essential tools – the internet.

“Kickstarter is an incredible website that is helping me raise money in order to start my small business,” Reed said. The website allows people to donate money to help startup costs and receive rewards in return.

“I am currently selling stickers, posters, sweatshirts, skate becks, cruisers and longboards,” Reed said.

However, the website allows only a limited amount of time for money to be raised.

Reed has until 5:14 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7.

“I have 45 days to raise my goal of $4,000, but if I don’t hit the goal, the money is returned to the backers and my project would end there.”

Reed hopes that he’ll be able to operate his own website for ReeDesign in the future to reach out to the board sport enthusiasts in the area.

“There’s a lot of students around here that love to skate and longboard, and it’s a community that’s always open to new challenges and things to try out,” said junior marketing major Guy McCarthy.

As someone who has been involved with board sports from a young age, connecting with them is part of Reed’s dream.

Whether it’s a snowboard, surfboard or skateboard, riding sideways on a board is life, he said.

“Besides staying active, board sports are a great way to socialize, de-stress and put your life in perspective,” Reed said. “I want to share that vision with as many people as I can.”