Haukur Már Einarsson is building the first Icelandic skateboards. He told us about the entire process as well as the upcoming arts exhibtion, as there are some well chosen artists who’re gonna adorn the decks with their art. Bon appetit.
How did it come about that you started making skateboards?
I’ve always had a lot of fun with carpentry, but I started working at Lækjarskóli last fall and I teach carpentry there. It just started with me making decks for the boys there. We started by making some molds of mini cruisers that they’d bring, and then it just evolved from there. We started to make more and more, and I started to think if we wouldn’t be able to take it a bit further and make real skateboards. I don’t think real skateboards have been built in Iceland before, at least I couldn’t find out that they had. I just started to google a lot and carry on and one thing led to another. I had a good mate of mine build the press.
Isn’t it a big deal to build such a press?
No, not really. This isn’t such a complicated deal. The main thing was building the molds to shape the deck correctly. I checked out a lot of decks and I’d cut it out in plastic and cemented it with carbon cement and make each mold that way. Each mold is about fifty kilos and then there was a press built around this, which is this kind of iron grid, and then there is a ten ton jack that presses it. I just designed this, studied it, and then got my mate, who is an iron monger, to build it with me.
Where does the interest spring from. Where doing any skating your self?
I was naturally really crazy about skateboarding and started as a child on these first boards that came to the country, that weren’t that dissimilar to the mini cruisers today. But back then you were mainly riding around and tick-tocking. Then the wooden decks took over and started getting a bit wider and stuff, but I actually quit before the decks started having this shape they have today. So I can’t really claim to be a good skater, but the interest is clearly there and I´ve always been quite enamored with skateboards and their construction, the videos and the tricks, and just everything around this skate culture.
When were the first decks ready?
The first deck I made was an oak deck, because I didn’t have any materials. But then I went down to Efnissalan to check if the had any maple, which they didn’t. But the had oak. So the first deck was made of oak. Maybe we could try it out sometime, but the oak is so coarse and crispy so there’s a much greater risk that it’ll break. But the deck is still really beautiful. It’s been like a year since it came off the press. The first maple decks came last winter.
Where are you getting the maple from?
It comes from Canada. But you can also get fine material from north America as well. But I´m hoping to get material from Efnissalan. They’re the only ones who´ve imported it. They were always promising me materials and kept saying “two to three weeks” when I called them up. They get containers, but don’t always know what each container contains and such. But they’ve promised me some eighty square meters. It’d be great to get my ahnds on that, because the price difference is signiicant, because with how it’s like today it’s a bit crazy. But I mainly do it out of interest and joy. While it’s fun i´ll do it, but I´ll give it up as soon as it gets boring.
You’re getting artists to put their graphics on the decks. Tell us about that.
Yeah. It’s Davíð Örn, Sara Riel, Jeff, who’s done with his deck and who premiered it the other day at a small gallery in Njálsgata, which went pretty well. The there’s Svanhildur Halla, but she’s also done with her deck, and then Páll Banine. But it’s all in the hands of Davíð. I give him the decks and he finds artist to put their art on them. When it’s all done there’ll be a major arts exhibition of all the decks. But Davíð is gonna be the head of the exhibition and install it, I just manufacture the canvas. It’s obviously gonna be unbeleivably fun. We don’t really have a set date yet, maybe next sping or summer, but maybe it doesn’t matter all that much. The artists need their time, and it would be fun to get to exhibit twenty to thirty decks. I’d like to get as diverse artist as possible. Icelandic art on Icelandic skateboards. That is the vision.
Have you got any future plans for this?
No, not really. It’s just done out of interest and pleasure, but of course it’d be fun to get a bit of production running. But I haven’t started to have any grand visions about it. Maybe it’s just gonna be one art show, but there still seems to be a lot of interest in this project, and people are curious, which is a lot of fun.
The skataboarding culture is pretty big in Iceland at the moment so this is kind of the right time you’re launching this at.
Yeah, totally. The boys I´m teaching provide me with a lot of inspiration by being around them and talking about skating, snowboarding and BMX. There are a lot of them into this, so work is a lot of fun and the boys are just terrific.
What is the process of constructing these decks?
First I get this sugar maple in a veneer that I glue together into seven layers, which is fourteen sides, and then I add two cross bandsi n between to strengthen it and it becomes this kind of a box that I put the press in, and then it’s in the machine for four to five hours, and then I let it wait for a minimum of seventy two hours before I start actually working on it. But then I start sawing it, milling it, polishing and boring the holes. Then the finishing touches are to varnish and paint the decks and such. My wife though i had lost it. I was googling my ass off and sometimes I’d wake up at night and run to the computer and write down ideas. A lot of work has gone into learning this because no one can teach it to me because no one has done it in Iceland before. I´ve totally been looking at the groeth process of trees and all the way up to the time the tree is felled, and what they then do to the wood and how it’s processed. So there is really all this figuring out behind it. Now I´ve also started to think about printing and how that all works. I´m really into silk print, which is actually a two thousand year old method. I went down to the Academy of the Arts and my niece was there doing this course and she helped me out with putting graphics on one deck, and it came out really well.
Does the project have a name yet?
Mold (dirt) is the name. Icelandic dirt, and dirt is mould. Bu then it’s also “moulding” in English, so it’s a bit of an international name. It was born with me and Davíð, but we´d written down a hell of a lot of ideas, and this was the conclusion, and I´m reallu happy with it.