I found another small European maker, the French company Alkamist Longboard, with some nice looking downhill boards and some very stylish wheels. I will have a look more at the wheels and am very tempted. Never been one for white wheels, but these are the first that got my attention.
Sometimes the stars align and you have to seize the day (to mix as many metaphors as I can) – I contacted a few makers over the last few days looking for a new deck with a single or double kicktail, including the small UK maker (are we supposed to call small makers “boutique makers”?) Hecs Decks, who shared that they have just started making an evolution of their short cruiser; yet to be named, but with a kicktail. So, hey, seize the day and ordered one with a gloss Bubinga finish. 🙂
Details from the very helpful Hector (hey, just got it: Hec’tor):
835mm length (33″) with a wheelbase of 505mm.
Big round tail with a mellow angle.
Mellow concave which curves towards a peak just forward from the centre of the board.
12 ply with thin layers (“so that it’s stiffer”)
Photos of his stunning walnut first cut (and what convinced me).
Have a spare set of Paris 180cm V2s and some 4President wheels to try on it when it arrives, but may drop down to some slightly narrower trucks. Will see what it is like before deciding on what to do with the face/top; which is probably just leave it and only ride it easy and dry, like the Hackbrett, although I do have some ideas on fancy grip patterns after gripping the Kaliber.
So that’s a Zenit AB, a Jungle Board pintail and now a Hecs Decks all to come and join the growing family collection… wupps 🙂
I have had lots of comments and questions regarding Alfie and the grip-tape patterns and cutting.
The first thing is that this was not done first time in one go – I had many many tries and had help from a Loaded replacement grip kit for some of the shapes.
There are 5 Loaded grip-tape kits I know of, which give you some nice individual shapes to play with.
In addition to these are a few pre-cut (laser-cut) patterns from the likes Lokton, however, the longer 40×11″ versions, as opposed to the smaller square 11×11″ ones, seem harder to find.
If you have access to a laser cutter then life is much much easier and they are usually available at community maker/engineering facilities, if not these pre-cut patterns can save a lot of time and heart ache. Although the pre-cut sheets are relatively expensive, I would dread having to do these kinds of patterns with just a ruler and razor-blade.
My relatively inexperienced pattern cutting to date has been much more basic, using only steel rulers and kitchen pots: saucepans and frying pans – sadly there is no community engineering workshop near me, otherwise, I would use a laser cutter every time.
My cutting with a razor-blade, or carpet knife, has had mixed success. Patterns drawn on the paper backing, even with new blades I have found often snags and produces poor ragged edges. Cutting on the top, direct into the grip, has produced much better clean edges, but obviously, it is not easy to draw on the top. The clean curved edges on Alfie were achieved by marking on the back paper of the tape the start and end point of the curve, making a small cut with scissors and then placing the saucepan or frying pan on the start and end points/cuts and cutting around the curve of the pan with the razor-blade.
Finally, grip-tape does not need to be black or gray, there are many other colours that can be used or mixed.
My next challenge is to grip with Zenit AB on order and arriving in a months time.