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Gnarly Shades: From scrap skateboards to snazzy shades

By Denis Langlois

 

A chance visit to an eclectic shop in Nova Scotia eight years ago would set the wheels in motion for Chris Anderson to develop a line of products fashioned from scrapped skateboards.

The 38-year-old Ottawa father-of-one recalls walking into the store with his wife and spotting some rings made of previously loved boards.

“I thought this was such a neat idea that I just had to try it myself,” he tells Optical Prism magazine.

“When we got home, I got to work on an old skateboard until I had figured it out.”

While rings were the gateway to upcycling skateboards, Anderson went on to create other items such as earrings, coasters, cutting boards, bottle openers and belt buckles.

Then he came up with an idea: using the seven-layer maple veneer decks to create one-of-a-kind shades.

“Deciding to create the sunglasses out of the boards came when I noticed the natural curve and strength. Also, each board is totally unique with beautiful coloured veneer, graphics and wear-and-tear from the streets,” he says.

The wooden recycled skateboard sunglasses are now the hottest ticket item at Anderson’s SKRAP Skateboard Inc.

He said it took about a year of research and development to create a process for developing the shades.

He receives old skate and snowboards that are too beaten up or broken to be saved by SK8 shops.

He said thousands of boards end up in landfill each year, so he’s thrilled to be able to divert some to his shop.

A website developer by trade with a keen interest in building stuff from wood, Anderson learned the tricks of CNC and laser-engraving machines from a few local residents who owned the equipment.

“The mix of these two applications made the transition from hand tools into utilizing CNC machines and laser-engraving/cutting machines a little easier,” he says.

He sources stainless steel hinges and UV400 polarized lens blanks from China.

As interest in his sunglasses grew, Anderson purchased his own CNC and laser-cutting machines and reached out to more skateboarding shops, manufacturers and distributors as well as parks and ski hills in Canada and the United States to get his hands on even more scrap boards.

“Now we have some pretty great connections from all over the place and are always looking for more companies that would like us to help recycle their old broken material,” he said.

“I really love the idea of using as much recycled material as we can in our products and give them a second life. It also makes every piece totally unique. You never really know what you’re going to get and that always excites me.”

People can buy SKRAP Skateboards Inc. shades at skrap.ca.

 

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