Building skateboards with vintage flair

By Albert Rodriguez

A group of friends representing the College of Environmental
Design Model Shop took it upon themselves to make personalized
skateboards and ended up with a small business.

Located in Building 45, room 103, the ENV model shop allows
these students to provide an example of just what the “learn by
doing” philosophy of Cal Poly Pomona means to them.

“It all started out of necessity,” said Andrew Lords, a
third-year architecture student. “We never considered making the
boards as a business.”

Lords, along with two other friends, initially built skateboards
at the model shop for their own personal use, but turned the idea
into a small business.

“We thought it would be cool to have these custom painted and
hand made boards exclusively at Cal Poly Pomona,” said Lords.

After making the boards for themselves and using them on campus,
other students began to ask where they had purchased them.

According to Lords, these boards are different in that they are
modeled after the early 1960s and 1970s, which were short and had
no curves on the ends, unlike newer boards.

The boards the students make are 20 inches long and straight.
The wheels are the same as those used on current boards, but the
size of the boards does not allow riders to ride at high

These skateboards can also be identified by the saw blade logo
created by the friends and painted on every board. The logo is a
round saw blade and appears in different colors on every board,
depending on the board’s main color.

“The saw blade logo we thought was representative of the hands
on experience we get at the shop,” said Lords.

Cooper Ballantine, a third-year architecture student, was behind
the creation of the group’s website and blog.

“Having the website and blog makes us feel more professional,”
said Ballantine.

The first board was built by Will Kromschroeder, a third-year
architecture student, during a brief break he took from the
architecture program.

“The first board I made actually broke in half because I used
the wrong type of wood,” said Kromschroeder.

The group has since corrected the error by using the appropriate
wood. Kromschroeder built the second board, using the correct wood,
as an improved replica of the first.

All three friends emphasized what a shop like this one meant to
them in particular.

“It makes us feel manly and cool to work with our hands and
tools,” said Kromschroeder.

After dealing with the rigors and challenges of the architecture
discipline, working at the shop comes as a relief to the

“It’s almost therapeutic working in the shop,” said
Kromschroeder. “That’s why building the boards was so much

Lincoln Hoke, the shop supervisor, has been at the shop for 10
years and was excited to see the board building idea take shape in
his shop.

“I’m all about people giving it a try and being self-employed,”
said Hoke.

At the shop, students have been able to build countless items
ranging from bookshelves to beds. Some students have picked up a
pastime from being in the shop.

“I took the class to get units and ended up with a hobby I’d
like to keep for the rest of my life,” said Robin Frank, a
fourth-year mechanical engineering student.

Frank has built several guitars at the shop and is considering
putting the one he is currently working on for sale. He even took
guitar lessons to learn how to play.

“It’s really enjoyable to start with planks of wood and end up
with a guitar,” said Frank.

Pictures of the skateboards and messages from the students can
be found at

Building skateboards with vintage flair

Chris McCarthy / The Poly Post

Building skateboards with vintage flair

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