The beauty of upcycling is that there’s an endless supply of materials to work with, and the concept can be stretched as far as your creativity allows. In theory, you can turn anything that lost its purpose into something useful. Upcycling wooden pallets can lead to the hippest decor, recycled floppy disks can find new use as planters, and you can even turn grocery trolleys into shopping cart furniture. If you can name a material, there’s bound to be some inventive designer utilizing its potential.
For instance, what comes to mind when you think skateboards and guitars? Of course, that opening song of the PS1 classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Bet you didn’t think of upcycling skateboarding decks into guitars, though!
Turning broken and beaten-up skateboard decks into stunning musical instruments is exactly what 22-year old San Franciscan Nick Pourfard does. Although such a project doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary for an industrial design student like himself, his skill in woodworking is completely self-taught.
With two of his major hobbies being music and skateboarding, a combination of passions went into the unlikely creation of Prisma Guitars: a guitar workshop dedicated to repurposing used skateboards into upcycled guitars.
Any skater can tell you that the life of a deck is a short one, to say the least. During its short life span, a skateboard takes a beating from both professionals and amateurs. No matter how solid of a board you buy, or how good of a rider you are, your board is going to break eventually. The constant pressure of being jumped on, stood on and grinded with takes its toll on even the strongest of boards. Professional skaters can even go through several boards on a single day of filming a video. So are these decks useless? Maybe to skate on, but not to create something wholly unique with. You can even reduce waste by donating your own busted decks to Prisma Guitars!’
Nick Pourfard’s custom guitars are all 100% handmade in the United Statesfrom reclaimed and donated skateboard decks. Because of this, every single pattern on the instruments is one-of-a-kind and can never be replicated. It takes Pourfard anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks to create these pieces of art, but that art comes at a price. With a starting price of $2500, these guitars aren’t going to become commonplace anytime soon.
Of course, that’s the appeal. Pourfard can even incorporate your own broken skateboards into the body of your brand new electric guitar, for a touch of sentimentality in your upcycled axe!
What set Nick Pourfard off on his elaborate project was pure curiosity. Although his previous projects as a designer had him touching on skateboarding through the creation of skate ramps, it wasn’t until Prisma Guitars that he found a perfect meld of his two passions. Nick had been playing guitar for as long as he had been skating, so the combination seemed inevitable. After getting the idea, he collected stacks of used boards in his shed from friends and family.
It would suck if I made something and it was the same as something I could buy in the store. I wanted something unique. -Nick Pourfard
Because the devil is in the details, Nick actually didn’t do any cutting whatsoever until after 2 months of planning. Four years later, he founded Prisma Guitars in 2014 and has been making custom guitars for the likes of Steve Harris of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
Watch the interview below to learn more about Pourfard’s Prisma Guitars and see (and hear!) his recycled skateboard guitars in action.