Silver Tool

silver skateboard tool

My favorite skateboard superstition is that all boards manufactured by Deluxe with a red top ply are cursed. I’ve skated probably 15 Deluxe boards in my life and have only ever had one “red top.” It was a Krooked Mark Gonzales bought during the winter of 2004.

At the time, I was 14 years old and had the physique of a lineman. The prior summer and fall, I had been skating and breaking boards from brands who manufactured in China, in particular Element and Flip.

With my mom waiting in the parking lot, I stood alone at the counter of my local skateshop. I recited to the owner a made-up story about cracking my board on a front-lip, and then nonchalantly asked him what the strongest boards were. He told me, “Anything Deluxe,” to which I asked to see one. He grabbed the Krooked from the wall behind him, told me that it was 8 inches wide, and asked what size I was riding. I told him “7.75,” and he mentioned that I’d likely benefit from something bigger. He was right. The extra quarter inch, paired with American-made manufacturing, added the stability and strength I desperately needed. With that board, I became more comfortable and confident in my skating, and for the first time in my life, noticed that I was progressing.

That April, after about three months of riding that board, I broke my leg after bailing on an ollie off a metal picnic table. I spent the entire spring and most of summer in a cast playing video games and watching downloaded skate videos. It wasn’t until later that year- after coming across a message board post about the “Deluxe red top curse”- did I dig up that board to learn that it had been a red top. It was too late to be concerned with the top ply’s color, as I had already become superstitious over something else—how I put the board together. Instead of using plyers and a screwdriver, as I had done with every board prior, I used a drill.

For the next 11 years, I used nothing more than a screwdriver, needle-nose plyers and a wrench to assemble boards. The excuse I embraced was that by doing so, I was appreciating the act of putting together my skateboard. In reality, I was just paranoid of cursing myself and getting seriously hurt again.

At one point over those 11 years, I did buy a skateboard-specific tool, made by Element, pictured below. In classic Element fashion, it was perhaps the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever used.

 

The positive: The screwdriver fit snug in its pocket, and each socket could be removed—unveiling either a Phillips, Allen, or Bigger-Allen bit.

The issue: The screwdriver- small, four sided and smooth- was impossible to grip. More importantly, the socket which tightens or loosens your trucks was useless, as the tips of all three bits would hit my kingpin before the 9/16th socket could catch a grip. Of any tool, a 9/16th wrench or socket is my most commonly used. This left you with essentially one tool: a 3/8th socket for your axel, or, the least used skate tool.

To this day, the Element Tri-Tool has reigned as the worst skateboarding related item I’ve ever bought.

One day, after using a drill to innocently take apart an old set-up, I realized just how much time I was wasting by stubbornly using a screwdriver and plyers. It was then when I vowed to man-up and overcome my fears of using a drill.

As it turns out, though, I would never remember to charge the fucking thing, so it was often near useless or dead. In an attempt to finally fix this problem, I bought this tool by Silver.

There is no reason to buy any skate tool other than this. The included screwdriver- although small- is easy to handle, and the ratcheting hardware socket will save your wrists from getting cramped. Buy it. Keep it in your trunk. And eventually lose it.

2017 Product of the Year

high times mob grip tape product of the year 2017

The collaboration between Mob Griptape and High Times Magazine has produced skateboarding’s greatest artifacts. This griptape is not new for 2017. It wasn’t new for 2016, either, and it’s probably even older. In an attempt to deliver the absolute truth, I reached out directly to NHS, Mob’s distributor.

Why NHS? In addition to being able to leave product reviews, NHSfunfactory.com used to allow visitors to ask questions on every product’s dedicated page. I recall questions as specific as “How does the concave of this deck relate to that of (x)?” being answered quickly and in full context. Less-than-serious questions were treated all the same. While this functionality greatly impressed me, it has since been removed. So, I left the following review on the “Northern Lights” product page.

What year was this product first released? This is for research purposes.

Anyways, great product!

A NHS customer service rep had emailed me within a few minutes of my review being live. His name was Gavin, and he asked,

Hello, 

What sheet of Hightimes Graphic Mob do you have?

I responded,

Hi, I believe it is the “Northern Lights.”

Thanks,

-Dan

Gavin:

And you were wondering what year the sheet came out?

Me:

Yeah,

It’s getting product of the year on www.usedtoskate.com

-Dan

Gavin:

Spring 2013

I thanked Gavin for his work and promised him a shout out.

—————————————————————–

What makes a product worthy of being Product of the Year? Innovation? Setting new standards? Or is it simply something which so perfectly blends distaste, effort and absurdity that you can’t help but buy two? What could have simply been a sheet of black grip with printed weed leaves is instead the most extreme statement you could make with a skateboard. The two sheets of grip pictured have been laying under my bed for for three months and will remain there until they have at least tripled in value. 

A well deserving recipient of this year’s Product of the Year nod.

Grip Gum

Is Grip Gum the exact same thing as sanding belt cleaner? Essentially, yes.

I bought my stick of Grip Gum during the summer of 2010. It received regular use because it was the only thing which managed to keep my griptape clean. Don’t even try and mention the “windex and paper towel” method for cleaning grip, because it’s bullshit.

Upon returning to college that fall and using my Grip Gum in public, my friends immediately busted my balls for having bought yet another stupid skate accessory. For the months following, I used it regularly and with honor- my grip was spotless and I had one less excuse for poor skating. However, at some point that winter, my Grip Gum became lost in the incredibly filthy trunk of my 2000 Chevy Lumina.

Five years later, it was found and then properly thrown into the trunk of my current car. Move ahead two more years to present day, as I’m actually skating again, and you can find me still using this wonderful piece of technology.

The photo above is of my current ride. Let it be known that this deck is 1.5 years old and bought when Toy Machine finally decided to produce 8.5s longer that 31.875. From its time of purchase until three day ago, it sat in a box because I had become the biggest poser I’ve ever known.

Can you imagine my excitement when I threw this bad boy to the ground and felt the crisp, almost uncomfortable feeling of a new board for the first time in what felt like an eternity? Unfortunately, within 20 seconds of riding around Ann Arbor skatepark, my grip was filthy. After two minutes and a few ollies, my grip was absolutely disgusting. This left me in part thankful, as I now had a reason to use what others saw as a stupid skate accessory.

Now emerged from the trunk of my 2011 Volkswagen Jetta was my treasured Grip Gum. After a moment of thanks and embrace, I helped my grip return to its beautiful and original state. I repeated this process two more times during my session, but held off from a final cleaning until it was able to be documented. View the photos below to see just how magical grip gum is.

Yes. Grip Gum works.

I must have paid $10 for my Grip Gum, and although mine has been used, I would say that its original dimensions were 4.5″ x 1.5″. Its durability can be compared to that of an eraser, if that even means anything. However, after almost seven years of four-season storage in a trunk, it works just as well as the day I bought it.

It looks like Grip Gum has their own website, although it consists of nothing more than a landing page with a logo and an online store which has never actually had anything uploaded. A google search for Grip Gum does reveal a few online stores which have Grip Gum available for purchase. Personally, I’m considering the purchase of another Grip Gum for peace of mind.

Absolutely recommended.

Bronson Speed Co. Bearings

I wonder how the hell they decided on the word “Bronson” to represent a bearing company. The only thing the word does for me is remind me of that Tom Hardy movie I always see at Family Video. Is that movie supposed to be a biopic of Charles Bronson or something?
They have gumball machines at all Family Video stores, and if your gumball matches a certain color for the week, then you get a free rental. I’m not really a fan of stale gum but if I ever get lucky enough I guess I’ll rent Bronson. It’ll probably be more exciting than constantly worrying if I put my bearings all the way into my wheels.

So I have a question: Why do new bearing companies even exist? At this point in my 26 year old life, I know that Bones products are generally unmatched at their price points. I’m not exactly sure why I even bought these.

I have another question: Why doesn’t anyone talk to me at the skatepark anymore? I don’t even have anything funny or stupid to say about this matter.

These big bad Bronsons came in a neat tin container that I told myself I would keep but ended up throwing away. One of their selling points is that their bearings are hermetically sealed. I don’t see what good this does for the long term. Their website also claims these bearings to be the “fastest, strongest, longest lasting, longest spin skateboard bearings ever made.” Considering that I had a Bronson bearing break within two weeks of purchase, I would disagree with that claim.

I’ve never had a bearing break before. I’m not fat, and judging by how I’m treated at the skatepark, I don’t even look like I skate.

Not impressed.