When I was a kid I had a skateboard; probably the first mode of wheeled transportation I actually owned. Made from pressed wood with a sandpaper surface so your feet wouldn’t slip, it featured the worlds most unforgiving, rock-solid wheels that never seemed to miss a pebble.
Skateboards and longboards have come a long way since those days, both in design and materials. For a company called Beercan Boards the secret to success is using recycled plastic and aluminum cans and making the boards here in America. This small company out of Douglas, GA is trying, in their own words to “take over the world, one skateboarder at a time and we have just gotten started.”
Owner Joel Rawlins was a once-promising skateboarder who, at the age of 15, had a run-in with a car that made him rethink his direction in life.As an adult, he got into the automotive aftermarket and had success supplying components for classic cars, some of them showing-up in movies like The Fast and Furious. In 2012, the idea struck him that he could use the recyclable aluminum and plastics from his business to fabricate skateboards, and suddenly, he was sharing an old pastime with his kids. There was a lot of work required to design, prototype and refine the boards while trying to maintain his Made-in-America goal, but the end result was definitely worth it.The great thing about these boards ( besides the cool graphics and the company’s goal to be eco-friendly) is that you can recycle your old board and get a new one for a reasonable fee. If you want a different look, the deck of the board can be swapped out and you have the option to purchase bearings for life.
I wish I was a teenager again!
Matt Myer is a St. Paul, Minnesota cyclist who was “tired of his pants falling down while he biked around the city and even more tired of the boring old belts in his drawer.” Next thing you know, he and his wife Jill have a business making surprisingly cool-looking belts from recycled bike tires and bike parts.I especially like the white belts, which resemble snakeskin.There are multiple designs, and each belt has a unique pattern based on the wear and tear on the bike tire. One size fits waists from 31-37 inches.The Hybrid Belt, with a chain link buckle, comes in three sizes. All belts are hand crafted.
I’ve written previously about my love of aviation. Since the WWII period, in particular, has always captured my imagination, the Boeing Company has always stood out to me as one of the giants of American aviation.
So I was pretty excited to stumble upon a site called the Custom Hanger, where vintage Boeing plane parts from various eras have been transformed into incredible furnishings. The table above, for example, was made from 727 airliner parts.
My favorite Boeing plane was the B-17, because my father served on one, and also because it was featured in a great classic movie with Gregory Peck called 12 O’Clock High. Check out this propeller from a B-17, reimagined as a piece of sculpture. This object is literally what pulled the most famous bomber plane of its time through the skies over Europe – and it could be standing next to your desk or favorite lounge Chair!
When I saw this table featuring a feathering bearing from a B-17 inset in a beautifully grained wood I had no trouble seeing my collection of books and memorabilia laid out it.
Another plane that captured my imagination was the B-52, a mainstay of the Strategic Air Command. If you’ve ever seen Dr. Strangelove, you’ve seen actor Slim Pickens at the controls of this very tough plane. The wood-trimmed coffee table above is made from the spinner of the B-52 engine. Boeing also offers a table with metal trim.
The part of a 727 fuselage that displays the American flag was cut out to create this patriotic table.This is a Martin Baker ejection seat from an F-4 Phantom, one of the premier planes of the Vietnam era. The seat has been decommissioned so you won’t accidentally fire yourself off through the office ceiling, but I dare you to sit in this and not imagine having to make that tough decision to bail out of your damaged craft.
These items might not be within your budget for this Fathers’ Day, but maybe when you land that bonus check or make that really smart play on the stock market these can yours.
For a beer-lover, how enjoyable would it be to dine or do business at a table made from the salvaged wood of an old brewery?Sundance now has a limited edition table available and the wood comes from one of Milwaukee’s storied breweries: Pabst Blue Ribbon. The company once had an enormous brewing complex in the city, seen here in artwork from the early 1900s. It closed over 20 years ago, though the company is still in existence.The reclaimed wood used for the tables is thick-plank heart pine, and it sits on a metal base. The wood is full of character and color and it’s treated with an oil-based finish.
To see more American-made wood furniture from Sundance, click here.
If you get to Milwaukee, you can take a history tour of part of the old Pabst Brewery and, of course, have some beer.