Skateboards Help Lead Manufacturer's 'Resurgence'

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A nearly 60-year-old manufacturer based in Jeffersonville says the rising popularity of skateboarding and snowboarding is opening up new business opportunities. Marwood Veneer Inc. says it has boosted production to meet demand from high school and college students working on projects that involve making their own boards. The company has drawn interest from institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California State University and organizations including the Boy Scouts of America. During an interview last week on Inside INdiana Business Television, Chief Executive Officer Jim Martin says Marwood is selling thousands of packages of skate deck materials a year. The company has traditionally dealt with cabinet makers, architectural woodworkers and furniture manufacturers.

The International Association of Skateboard Companies suggest skateboarding is a $4 billion global industry.

February 6, 2015

News Release

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (December 17, 2014) - Marwood Veneer scales up to meet demand from academic institutions looking to offer woodworking courses that include making your own skateboard. The 59-year-old company based in Jeffersonville-Indiana has seen a resurgence in interest regarding wood veneer for skateboard and snowboard builds in recent years. Higher education will not be left behind, as institutions like MIT, and Cal State, in addition to numerous high schools, look to find student engagement.

"Making a skateboard has become a credentialing activity that leads students to more intensive woodworking classes in residential construction. It's hard to buy maple veneer locally, so we turned to Marwood Veneer to supply us to make our skateboards. Students get to learn basic safety and carpentry," said Chris Churchill, a career and technical teacher at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, NC. Other teachers across the country agree.

Karl Ahlem, Vice President of Board Sports Technology Enterprise, works at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. He said, "The enterprise was founded in the fall of 2006 by several students, and has taken on many projects over the years. This semester we have roughly 20 people enrolled, each being part of at least one team, Snow, Skate, or Wake. Each of these teams focuses on a different type of board sport, like the names suggest. Within the three teams, there are different projects being worked on. Each project has roughly 2-3 people working on it, which allows for plenty of hands on experience."

Ahlem added, "The veneer from Marwood worked great for our boards... Overall I think that they produce a great set of veneers. As far as outcome for students taking the course, it is great for a resume and for getting useful hands on experience that you can't get in your regular classroom."

Even schools specializing in woodworking courses tend to see building a skateboard as an important step toward other projects, like furniture. Chris Gochnour of the Joiners Bench, in Murray, Utah, and an instructor for the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, based in Indianapolis, IN, said recently, "The kids just love it. Skateboards with Marwood Veneer are a great first project to make in dad's or grandfather's workspace at home. That gets kids interested to go further into woodworking." Gochnour is an experienced artisan, designer and hand-tool expert who specializes in traditional woodworking technique and design.

Marwood Veneer Inc. has been listed recently as a trusted veneer source for skateboards in the newly published guide called, "The Handmade Skateboard," from Spring House Press. The book is sold nationwide at skateboard shops, wood specialty stores, and online. Visit www.marwoodveneer.com to purchase veneer kits for skateboarding or snowboarding design and build projects, as well as the book.

Skateboarding is classified as a sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard, and the X Games have grown in popularity at the national level, covered by ESPN. Skateboarding has been noted as pure recreation, an art form, and a career, not to mention a form of transportation. Skateboarding has been shaped and influenced by many skateboarders throughout the years. A 2013 report by Statista.com found there are approximately 6.35 million active skateboarders in the world. This represents approximately a $4 billion dollar market worldwide, according to the International Association of Skateboard Companies.

The winter sports call to the pre-teen and teen girls now. More girls bought snowboard equipment this year; junior girls snowboarding equipment sales grew 37 percent in units sold and 36 percent in dollars sold, according to Snowsports Industries America.

About Marwood Veneer

Marwood is a leading provider of domestic, imported, and sustainable-sourced hardwood veneers for both the U.S. and overseas markets, serving a variety of industries, including architectural woodwork, plywood manufacturers, and furniture manufacturers. Marwood has a wide variety of veneers available, including exotics and domestics. From quartered and highly figured, to flat cut and no figure, their wood veneers have the texture, color, thickness, and shape you need to finish any of your projects. The company was founded by Lyman Martin Jr., Jim Martin's father. For more information, go to www.marwoodveneer.com.

Source: Marwood Veneer Inc.