It all started one afternoon when the shop phone rang.
A voice on the other end sheepishly asked “hey got any used decks?”
Skeptical of some kid trying to scam us for used decks to sell online for a pocket money side hustle. We asked Oliver a series of harsh questions. His determination preceded and his idea of what he was going to do with all these broken decks was mind-blowing..
We talk to Oliver Anderson about his work, artistic process, and the people that helped shape his idea from old, worn-out boards into a fully functional bass.
So firstly Oliver, how's your morning been?
My morning has been pretty good, I just had maths class online because of lockdown.
It’s very hard to concentrate whilst at home but it’s a great learning curve, sad not seeing my mates though.
We feel ya Oliver, lockdown is hard and we miss the big skate crews, eating at the Ship Inn and just being able to walk into Big W with out being asked why we need to go in there, lol.
So how did the idea of repurposing skateboards into a useable music piece happen?
Like three years ago now I saw a YouTuber called ‘Burls Art’ make an electric guitar out of coloured pencils, it really fascinated me how he managed to make such a cool guitar out of an odd material. I wanted to make my own one but didn’t have the funds to purchase $400 worth of pencils ahahaha. Cause of this problem, I was talking to my dad who just randomly suggested I made it out of skateboards, I thought he was crazy at first but then after some research I found that it was viable and the rest is history.
Thanks dad!! We are big fans of HAROSHI, thought you may have been influenced by them, did they play some inspo or was it all thanks to dad?
To be honest I hadn’t seen any of them or anything in that style when I first started and it was only after a while that one of my skating mates showed Haroshi to me. I like watching ‘Woby Design’ another YouTuber who also makes items out of skateboards. However, I really just like building what I want to build and don’t like to be influenced, I enjoy the brainstorming part and designing to overcome challenges that I think of.
INTERESTING, Why Bass?
I chose to make the bass guitar because I liked its sleek appeal, with only four strings and its uniqueness as it’s still a relatively new instrument.
Skate boards can feel pretty heavy when stacked, do you know how many you used to make the bass?
it weighs in at around 4kg, it is actually quite a bit heavier than a normal bass guitar but I actually like the heavier weight though, it gives it a more genuine solid feel.
So this piece was for a year 12 project, do you have plans to continue making these pieces after school ?
Oh yeah, I love building and making things. I’ve currently made a few pens, chopping boards and bowls out of skateboards as well. I really want to set up a business after school and just make and sell random projects that I think of… would be the dream.
Do you have your grades back yet ? were people in your class making anything similar?
I don’t actually know what mark I got for the bass guitar yet as we have only submitted the folio component for the assessment so far but I got 53/60 in that which was pretty sick. At the end of the day I don’t really care what mark I get, I’m just super happy I made something that actually works.
No. no one made anything remotely similar there was quite a wide range actually. Some of the people in my class made coffee tables and others made drain filters.
Can you break down the process for us mind blown dummies?
It took a long time to figure out how I was going to make it but here is a rough breakdown:
-Sand and glue the boards together in stacks
-Design the shape of the body in a computer aided design programme
-Cut it out on the CNC machine
-Glue the top and bottom together with the pick-ups in it
-Glue strips of the left over boards together and cut out the shape of the neck on the band-saw
-Attach the neck
-You’ve got a bass guitar
Simple as that, folks.
We know we gave you a few of the decks from our store but did any of your skate friends or your used deck pile contribute into the piece?
I got a few boards from my skating mates and used some of my old boards but Lachie down at ‘New Traditions’ was also a great help and loaded me up with some broken boards as well.
Once you found all the decks, how long did the process take?
I’ve been making skateboard bass guitars for almost 2 years now however, this specific one took me about 6 months from start to finish as I was balancing school and still learning how everything worked. If I had to build another one again, I reckon I could build it in a fortnight. Huge time difference ahaha.
You did say you had a gift for us a week ago, now we wonder could it be a bass? haha
What is your most hated part of the process?
Ahhhhhh, it’s got to be a close battle between sanding all the boards and de-gripping them. Both of the tasks just take so long and are so boring.
But thinking about it now it has got to be sanding, it takes around 3 hours of just standing there doing the same task on each board. It’s so bad.
Un-gripping boards can be a painful process are you a pro at this now or got any tips on how to unwrap a deck?
Oh mannnnnn, taking the grip tape of the boards is the world’s worst process. It actually sucks. Nah but I’ve got a good system in place now so I can de-grip one board in about 1 or 2 minutes. I use a heat gun to loosen the adhesive then break the seal around the nose of the board with a Stanley knife then peel it back about 10cm, put the heat gun back on the next 10cm and repeat the process down the entire board.
Any advice you would have given your self knowing what you know now?
There is just so much I have learnt over the entire process, too much information to give myself and even if I did I wouldn’t understand it without actually having done it and learning from my mistakes. The one thing I would probably say though is “make sure you keep back up of your CAD files” (computer aided design). I lost way too many files from not saving them correctly.
If you could have any famous bass guitarist play this who and what song do you envision them playing?
If I could get any bass player to play my guitar, I would definitely get Joe Dart to play ‘Dean Town – Vulfpeck’
if you want to keep up to date or request a masterpiece with your old decks then slide into his insta dm's here --- @oliver.anderrson