Recycled Plies by The guild @ 980

by AryanArtnews
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Recycled Plies by The guild @ 980

Art comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. For skateboarder Tyler Stier, his artistic talent is building old skateboards into useful and cherished objects. His business is called Repurposed Plies.

Stier, who is from Buffalo, has been skating the city’s streets for the past 19 years. He is a self-confessed urban street skater, who has taken his love of skateboarding to a whole other level.

Before we go in what Stier is making, it’s important to point out the painstaking process of repurposing old skateboards into repurposed (and practical) works of art.

First, Stier must acquire the discarded skateboards.

“I know tons of skateboarders around the country,” Stier said. “They have between three and 100 skateboards lying around. Nobody throws out their old skateboards. And if they do, they end up in the landfill because it’s hard to reuse. At the same time, the decks make the best plywood because they are built to last (to take a beating).

Along with hitting up his friends for their spent decks, Stier also gets the boards at a dozen skate shops throughout the East Coast. He has built quality relationships with the skate shops, who send him the beat-up boards that typically lie in the shops’ back rooms.

With plenty of decks on hand, the process of making the block tops begins. Stier removes all the grip tape with a heat gun and sands off the graphics. He then laminates all the decks together and applies pressure with a custom press he made using car jacks. This is the only way to get the erratic shape of the boards flat. At the same time, due to the resilient nature of the decks, each block sheet will retain unique characteristics, with different curves and patterns. Even the truck holes are covered with glue, leaving random exposed holes in the final product.”

“Each page is truly unique,” said Stier. “It takes 20 hours just to make a block of wood. Then I have to resize with a band saw. 22 skateboards gives you 8″x8″x29″ of workable material. In the end, the return is not that much.”

The colorful slabs look so impressive and so durable that Stier has had many requests for wood from other craftsmen. But the cost prohibits most woodworkers from being able to afford the material. This alone makes Stier’s creations unparalleled. After all, he actually creates the material that he then produces.

As for the creations? Stier makes charcuterie plates, coasters, pocket knife scales for higher-end spaces, small tables, Lazy Susans, bottle openers, clocks…

“I make a limited amount — about 5 — of each product,” Stier said. “They sell out pretty quickly. I have a good following of people who support what I do. Basically I use the edges of the skateboards, which are colored like a rainbow. That’s why the products have so much character.”

I asked Stier what his favorite item to make was.

“Chessboards,” he replied. “Chess boards are also my best selling item. I have never played chess [laughing]. My former roommate wanted one.”

Stier attributes his ability to excel at his craft to The Guild @ 980.

“I was looking for an inexpensive workspace to work on my side project,” said Stier, who is also a general contractor for Build WNY. “A place to get my foot in the door. Eventually I started doing some work for The Guild @ 980. This allowed me to upgrade to a larger unit. This year I plan to make a coffee table and a dining room table.”

Not only does the additional space at The Guild @ 980 allow Stier to work on larger projects, he also gets to interact with the various tenants, all of whom have their own artisanal specialties. The Guild @ 980 has become somewhat of a regional mecca for makers, a number of which I’ve written about lately.

Because Stier has a full-time day job as a GC, he tends to work at his studio in the evenings and one weekend day (usually Saturdays). He promotes his wares mainly by word of mouth. It’s easy to see why Stier has managed to build a devoted following of fans who dig his work. Repurposed Plies is definitely one of the more unique and impressive small craft businesses I’ve come across. I don’t even skateboard, but I’m itching for a pocketknife that has seen some serious Buffalo street skating action.

Get Connected: Recycled Plies | Instagram | The Guild @ 980 by ReUse Action | 980 Northampton Street Buffalo NY 14211

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