I still remember being 13 and cutting a piece of plywood in the shape of a surfboard, painting it black with yellow racing stripes, and screwing couple sets of roller-skate wheels to the bottom of it. This was life before safety, and I’ve got the elbow scars and missing teeth to prove it. My intention was just to go down a hill as fast as I could.
In Key West, Florida, Markham McGill is doing everything he can to get people riding his old wood. Markham’s a “boarder”- a skateboarder for the uninitiated- and has been riding boards for decades. His passion for skateboards and for reusing history is behind Fireboard Longboards, made from 100% reclaimed hardwoods.
Markham’s intention is to build the Firebird brand into something that means something to people, people who want to be riding a longboard that is a piece of history. For years, Markham scrounged up old wood in Key West. He was always dumpster diving and dragging dusty wood home and to make cutting boards, tables and a giant harvest style dining room table for his family.
It was only a matter of time before his passion for old wood and his passion for skateboards collided. He spent a lot of time making and breaking skateboards, his form of research- to find the woods that worked best. He utilizes old hardwoods (hickory, chestnut, and oak – red and white) reclaimed from old barns and structures from all over the Midwest and East Coast of the USA. They seek out structures built between the Civil War and World War I, as the USA was shaping its identity. These solid, rough-sawn beams contain the stories and the sweat of pioneers who wore suspenders and britches and used funky old hand tools. Those stories are embedded in the history of each longboard.
Every board has a birth certificate and number to identify where it came from. The designs are very solid, and as Markham says,”Each board is handmade and has a soul behind it and inside it.”
The boards are coated with low VOC varnish with a microfine particle non slip finish, and include vintage graphics on the bottom of each boarding masterpiece.
Markham is currently looking for recycled alloy metals for the trucks and recycled material for the wheels, so that someday the entire board may be made from reclaimed, recycled materials. He’s also entertaining the idea of rebuilding the boards, so like its namesake, the Firebird, these boards can rise from the ashes and ride and ride again.
So do your part, boarders! As the Fireboard Longboard website challenges you to do: Save the Planet. Ride Old Wood.