DSM was built under the direct supervision of active professional skaters with the intent of capturing and translating the nuances of their personal decks into both procedures and specialized equipment. This increased sensitivity to subtleties enables DSM to deliver these tightened tolerances straight to the general public so they get exactly what the pro’s actually ride with complete consistency. Translating the feel of a skateboard into both protocol and materials is a delicate process, hinging on communication. One of DSM’s major strengths is its people: a tight team of seasoned pros who understand manufacturing processes combined with multi-lingual, professionally trained engineers and managers capture what is so often lost in translation, unifying the entire process down to the workers themselves. Creating an environment where ideas can simply be explored is the most fertile ground for innovation. Rather than putting aside occasional resources to tackle a problem, DSM allots dedicated assets for continual R&D; to better pursue its mandate of not only making better decks, but to evolve the skateboard itself.
RAW MATERIAL: DSM CREATES ITS OWN VENEERS
Most woodshops buy finished veneers (wooden sheets) from various suppliers. Pricing and supply volatility make it difficult to maintain a singular source and grade of veneer, especially during high-volume months. The variety of grades, nuance of procedure, storage and transit conditions can introduce considerable non-uniformity and variability by the time the woodshop even gets its hands on them. From the very start, DSM imports its own logs from the Great Lakes Region of North America; from that point on, DSM is in complete control of the final product, ensuring maximum consistency and quality. DSM’s exclusive
RESIN EPOXY FORMULA
DSM developed its own resin epoxy specifically for the manufacturing of skateboards. This epoxy is manufactured at DSM using a propriety formula. DSM decks are the only ones on the market made with this epoxy. Epoxy is an incredibly aggressive bonding agent that is entirely different from standard, water-based glues. Smaller applications yield stronger bonding between plies, resulting in lighter, stiffer, more responsive decks.*1 Resin decks minimize “bounce-back,” meaning every deck retains the mold’s characteristics with greater fidelity. In contrast to less aggressive adhesives, epoxy minimizes the wood’s natural tendencies to bounce back into in its natural state, which starts the moment they’re removed from the mold. This effect is so pronounced that many of our pro’s thought we changed the mold itself when they tested original samples. A deck’s decay rate is significantly reduced for multiple reasons relating to the obvious tighter bonding as well as from chemical properties. The natural “give” of any wooden deck is tightened for a longer period, so the sensitive timing and feel is bracketed with tighter tolerances. Beyond extending its overall lifespan and “new” feeling, it just makes for better consistency in your skating.
PROCESSES: SINGLE DECK PRESSING
From our pro riders’ point of view, the most important step in manufacturing consistency is the fact that every single board is pressed individually in its own mold cavity. Standard US manufacturing presses 5 decks at a time, resulting in 5 similar, yet distinct variations. DSM’s individual pressing ensures that every deck feels exactly the same. DSM’s molds were designed on computers and cut from steel using CNC. Standard molds are handmade from non-metal, often polymer materials that decay gradually with time and usage. A major woodshop may have over 30 of a given mold, all of which accumulate large numbers of tiny fractures under the enormous pressures from pressing, yielding considerable batch variation at any given time. DSM is not susceptible to this.
CURING & STORING PROCEDURES
If the decks are not cured properly, they will not maintain their intended form. DSM built elaborate facilities and instituted rigid protocol delineating the curing process for its decks. They are all fully cured in specialized rooms that are climate controlled both in temperature and humidity to ensure that all decks are completely locked into form before they are shaped and drilled.
DRILLING & SHAPING PROCEDURES
Skaters spend countless hours getting the timing right for every trick. The snap, flip, and light-footed control of manuals/5-0’s, etc., is heavily dependent on the leverage points created between the holes and the bend of the kick. Even tiny errors in the drilling or in the holes’ placement relative to the mold’s contours wreaks havoc with this delicate timing. DSM essentially shapes the decks around their drillpatterns, which is opposite the way many woodshops proceed. This is just the starting point of the finely tuned methods we’ve instituted, preserving the consistency of every deck with jewelers’ precision. Templates (the actual board-shapes, unique to every pro) are digitally finalized to ensure lateral symmetry, especially in subtle-curve areas where hand-methods are extremely difficult to control.
There are 14 stages of QC during the manufacturing of one deck; each and every board is monitored and checked throughout the manufacturing. 24/7 video surveillance is instituted so that all procedural checkpoints can be assessed and re-coordinated on a real-time basis.
*1 – Controlling a deck’s edges is the essence of controlling its flip; it’s the undergirding of the broader term, “responsiveness.” Epoxy stabilizes lateral or torsional flexing, so the rails “sink” and twist perceptibly less during setup. Flip tricks become more consistent because the edges stay where you perceive them before the flip, and they’re crisper because they respond to your movements instead of caving-in under them. As a skater, the epoxy creates a steadier deck, which ensures that your calibration doesn’t jostle and float nearly as much during its lifetime or even sessions. Uber is particular aimed and excels at countering this issue.