The world needs pioneers, people willing to try something new, break new ground, set out on new paths. We’re proud to shine a light on skilled artisans creating something, new and unique, Pioneers lets us share their stories...
In our latest Pioneers article, we had the pleasure of interviewing Danny from Factory 13 Skateboards in LA. It was simply by chance that Danny was placing an order through our website and happened to jump onto our live chat and found himself chatting with one of Directors James. They were discussing the details and fit of the Lincoln Waistcoat when the conversation led them to Danny’s love for craftsmanship. He then went on to tell James about his workshop and the process of making skateboards. Immediately we wanted to find out more and headed off to look through his work.
After chatting more on email we wanted to hear about Danny’s creative process, what inspired him and of course, how that Lincoln waistcoat was working out...
You’ve been selected as a Pioneer for &SONS - What’s your definition of the word Pioneer?
To me, a Pioneer is someone who is driven by creativity & innovation.
A person that can generate the invisible thought and be able to bring that idea into reality.
This can be a voluntary or involuntary act, as I believe people are purpose driven,
whether they believe it or not.
Tell us your story. How did you begin your career and what led you here?
Work & what I am able to make is crucial to me, everyday.
Not in the way of being a workaholic or against my will,
but in the way that creative work is my purpose in this life.
The story is wild, purpose driven, & has many, many subcomponents to it.
My career of Designing & Manufacturing skateboards
became a reality in December 1999, in Chardon, Ohio U.S.A.
This was the time when I created my first few boards in my garage workshop
under the flag of Factory13 Experimental Skateboard Manufacturing.
Designing & manufacturing skateboards was a dream / idea I've had since I was 14 years old.
I had no point of reference at that time on how to do this, besides my generic skateboard & passion.
2 ingredients is all it took, it was pure & I had the vision.
Just had to figure out how to get there.
At 18 years old, I went to work as a Welder Fabricator in the Cleveland Steel Factories.
I worked very hard & long hours for the next 15 years,
all the while I was creating my Factory in my mind.
I knew I couldn't physically build my workshop or boards yet in those days,
but I was preparing, hoarding, and getting ready for the Lion that my workshop would become.
In the days of factory work, our crews were separated by skill & machinery aptitude.
The factories were commonly divided into 8 to 12 manufacturing units,
& I noticed that it was common for them to never go over the number 12 as far as labelling their factories.
When I was 24 years old, I told my fellow steel workers that my factory will be called "Factory13"
because I want to make what they can't imagine or manufacture. 9 years later I released my first boards.
My first 2 hydraulic skateboard presses were made from scrap structural steel
taken out of the factory dumpster while I was on my 30 minute lunch break.
It was common for them to scrap steel lengths that were under 36 inches,
so I would take the scrap home & weld it together with a Lincoln stick welder (Buzzbox)
which I ran the power from a neighbors washing machine outlet.
Passion & purpose outweigh the barriers, everytime.
That is the start of Factory13 skateboards & the next 21 years of it has been awesome.
It's a tough hand off, but works very well.