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This is a subject I have been wanting to talk about for years. Mainly because our main competitors are distributors posing as a manufacturer. First it is not morally correct because a company can't go around saying they are a manufacturer when in fact the boards they are selling are just imported from overseas. One of the main reasons they are doing it is because buying a deck marking it up and selling is way easier. Manufacturing a skateboard is no easy task. It takes skilled professionals in order to do it right and not lose money. Another reason why they are doing it is because they don't know how and don't want to invest the money into machinery and equipment. The rent goes up electricity goes up labor goes up. Simply it just cost more to manufacturer a skateboard then to buy it. So why do we do it? We manufacturer skateboards because we want the consumers to have a quality board that is made with real Canadian Maple. Importers don't know exactly what they are buying because most of the overseas manufacturers are slipping in Russian Birch in the middle of the decks they are buying. Maple on the outside and birch on the inside. It is hard to tell the difference when it is in the middle.
There are a few things they will do in order to make more money. One thing that stands out like a sore thumb is that they will charge more for wider decks that are the same shape as a 8.0 or 7.75. This is because they cut the veneer to different sizes to save and make more money. Decks ranging from 7.5 - 8.0 they cut the veneer one size and the larger decks they cut the wood at a larger size. If I was in charge of a distribution company i would just eat the cost it's not worth the hassle of having a different price list on larger popsicle boards then the smaller ones.
If you want a custom shape made they have to send the order to the overseas company for them to make a custom shape. This takes time and usually a larger than normal order is required. A USA manufacturer can actually cut the deck the same day you give them the shape if they really wanted to and send you photos.
Ask if you can have Made In USA printed on them or even ask if the decks are made in the USA. Now this can get shady where it all comes down to morals and you could be talking to a person that will tell you what you want to hear just to get an order.
The website will say 100% Canadian Maple and put an American flag either next to it or behind the words. It won't say Made In USA. Sure the manufacturers overseas can buy lumber from USA or Canada and ship it across the Pacific Ocean and do all the labor and gluing over there. I know a few that do but the glue they use is from a company that has the same glue in Home Depot. I have tried this glue a few times it does save money but it is not as reliable as the glue we use that was designed just for skateboards by pro skaters.
The shapes will be limited to standard street deck shapes ranging from 7.5 up to 8.5 and only a few old school and longboard shapes. USA manufacturers will allow you to get up to 9.0 in a popsicle shape. We offer the largest selection of pool boards, mini cruisers, longboards and odd shaped decks.
Ask for a Factory Tour this will allow you to see if they actually make the decks or are posing as a manufacturer. Our top competitor is buying imported decks but rank at the top when you type in skateboard manufacturer on the net. Without making skateboards they have the time to focus on website development and SEO. We are so busy making decks we simply don't have time to market or push our wood on anyone. We don't have sales reps or hire people to sell our wood. We rarely give a factory tour because we have a ton of trade secrets that have enabled us to continue supplying you with quality decks.
We are a dying breed I have seen several big factories go under or just simply move to Mexico in the 20 years I have been making decks. We strive to stay alive and have evolved to hold the same price even with increased labor and material cost due to rising gas prices. I can say that there are only a handful left but in recent years there have been several new shops that only make the boards for their own company and usually they are longboards. We don't have our own brand because we are dedicated to quality decks for the skateboard industry.
We have access to better glue and with the higher elevation near the Great Lakes makes the wood harder and stronger then the imported decks distributors save money on. We press 4 decks in a mold this gives the opportunity for a even lamination. When decks are pressed with only one deck per mold it introduces many different situations that can weaken the lamination. Imagine if a splinter of veneer or a chip of dried glue gets between the ply's the press will have more pressure on the high spots and less on the low spots. When you put 4 decks in a mold if there is any high or low spots it will be compensated with all the other 7 ply decks in the press. To a certain extent the wood gets dented where the high spot is and allows for good contact throughout the rest of the wood veneer. Not going to say who but there is a company out there that uses a air bladder to press decks because if there is any high or low spots it will still give the right pressure through the whole concave.
There are many reason and some are listed above. One major reason is because a deck made overseas will be glued up and sit on a container for a month or more before getting to the dock. Then it goes in a hot freight truck before reaching the distributor. After this they will sit in the boxes until there is room on the shelves and once on the shelf who knows how long it will sit there. Most distributors will buy a container of decks this is somewhere between 7-9 thousand decks. Some decks can sitting on the shelf for months before shipping to you. So you figure 1-2 months at sea 1-2 weeks for a 18 wheeler to deliver the container 1-2 weeks before they even get on a shelf then it could be another month sitting on the shelf. That could be up to 12 weeks where the decks have a chance to lose moisture and also absorb moisture. Think of it as a tree branch that is still on the tree and it is hard to break. A tree branch that has been cut from the tree and dried out is way easier to break. We ship decks as we cut them. We don't stock anything and each and every deck made to order. This gives you a fresh cut deck that has the right moisture in it for the highest strength maple veneer can offer. Some of our seconds will be sitting for a while and eventually someone will want to buy them for art projects. We can notice the difference from the fresh cut decks other then the seconds that have been laying around the shop for months. All seconds are sold at a discounted price and usually to a person that wants to use them for art or cut them up to make other figures out of them.