Our handmade skateboards are grown, felled, designed and shaped in Sheffield. It’s very important to us that the boards we make are sustainable and for this we don’t simply mean a certificate stamped onto it that means it hasn’t been felled illegally. To us sustainability is using the resources you have local to you to make a board that is competitive with its counterparts. Fortunately we are based in Sheffield, the City with the most trees per person of anywhere in Europe and a National Park in its boundaries to boot. This means there is an extensive range when it comes to choosing the wood we use. This is where Henk comes in.
Henk Littlewood is an artisan woodworker based in Sheffield with an excellent knowledge of British hardwoods, their properties and where to source them sustainably. The Sycamore we use is very solid wood and comes from trees that are well over 100 years old. Fortunately, Sycamore grows quickly and is a very sustainable wood.
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanusis) not strictly a native tree it is believed to have been in Britain since 1500, so it is classed as a ‘neophyte’. It is native of central Europe but there is plenty of it around. It is a popular tree because it is very resilient. It is naturally tolerant of salt spray, urban pollution and wind which makes it an ideal tree for planting in towns and cities hence why it is so common.
However not just any Sycamore can produce a good longboard, they have to be carefully selected and that takes years of experience not to mention decades of growth on the trees part. Our first batch of boards comes from a +150 year old monster with a huge trunk, close grain and very fine detailing.
Henk picks the wood based on its strength on the beauty of the grain and flexibility. Once selected the wood is milled at his dedicated workshop in the heart of the city and rough cut to shape. This is where we come in.
We take the rough cut boards and use our knowledge of skateboard design gained from years of riding, falling and experimenting to shape the boards.If you pick up one of our handmade skateboards take care to study the detail. Each board is shaped individually, sculpting contours by hand that make the board feel so at home under your feet. This isn’t a coincidence, shaping a board that rides well takes practice, trial and error and not to mention, a lot of testing.
Combining knowledge and experience makes for more sustainable products. Henk has produced numerous custom pieces for customers all over the country. He has worked with wood all his life, what connects bower and Henk is an appreciation for wood and the properties that make it so fun to ride.
If you have a bespoke project that requires some more character than a Mega-Store bought piece, drop him a line. See more here: www.henkswoodwork.co.uk if you don’t, well I would still say have a browse, you will almost certainly learn something-we have!