When it comes to holiday gifting, there are times where you just feel the need to swing for the fences. Perhaps you’ve got a big client that you’re very much “looking forward to continuing business with in the coming year.”
Perhaps you’ve got a significant other who has resigned you to a doghouse you’d like to emerge from sooner rather than later. Perhaps you’ve just had a helluva year (or several) and money just ain’t no object.
Any way you slice it, you’re in need of a true showstopper of a gift. Not only something of truly superlative quality, but something with a story — something the recipient can crow about whenever someone invariably inquires “damn, where did you get that??“
And thus we bring you the Rare Finds Gift Guide, a handy compendium of holiday swag for just about any type of person on your list (or, perhaps, if you’re just in the market for yourself — no judgement).
This installment concerns AdrianMartinus Design, intrepid Canadian woodworkers utilizing some delightfully unexpected materials.
The world certainly isn’t wanting for items made from “reclaimed wood,” but Canadian brothers Adrian and Martinus Pool have taken things to a whole new level. They’re creating gorgeous furniture and homewares from something few would even consider: old skateboards.
Growing up outside of Red Deer, Alberta, the Brothers Pool found that their pursuit of skateboarding often required the construction of their own ramps and obstacles — an interest in woodworking was born, and, as the brothers honed it over the years and discovered the work of famed Japanese artist Haroshi, they began to hoard old decks and experiment with them in their father’s garage.
Today, that experiment has grown into a full-fledged design studio, in which Adrian and Martinus use old boards to craft everything from decorative bowls to baseball bats to jaw-dropping furniture — all sporting the unique look that can only come from their unconventional process.
First comes the sourcing: despite their woody provenance, skateboard decks don’t exactly grow on trees. Over the years, the Pools have built relationships with various skate shops, who save old decks and set them aside for what they call “essentially an informal recycling program.”
Winter in Alberta is long and harsh and really limits the supply of skateboards — which was kind of a blessing, as it put a huge design constraint on us and forced us to come up with the best and most unique ways to use each part of the skateboard.Martinus Pool, co-founder of AdrianMartinus
These decks must then be meticulously stripped of all extraneous elements (grip tape, stickers, glue residue, paint) to get back to the bare wood — a labor-intensive process for which there is essentially no shortcut.
The decks are then “butchered” into usable pieces, sorted according to color and type, and then glued by hand into larger blocks that will be used for various projects. Some will become intricate parquet wall art, others eye-catching axe handles, others geometric veneers on larger showstopping furniture pieces.
One consistent element: many, many boards are required for each piece, and, due to the very nature of the materials and process, no two pieces are alike. All, however, are readily identifiable by the geometric patterns and swirls of color that have become the AdrianMartinus trademark.
Anyone who appreciates quality design, expert woodworking, or skateboarding. If you’ve got someone who fits two out of the three, even better. Three out of three and you are legally required to buy this for them.
If you dig the vibe but don’t see something that fits your exact needs (or have ideas of your own), AdrianMartinus happily takes custom commissions and can also customize most of their existing line to fit whatever pesky dimensions you (or your giftee) have in mind.
This all depends, and is kind of the best part: AdrianMartinus offers a wide variety of products to suit a wide variety of budgets. While larger benches and coffee tables can run into the thousands, housewares and wall art can be had for a few hundred bucks, and they’ve even got a line of reasonably-priced jewelry pieces if that strikes your fancy.
Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, the second edition to the storied Canadian brand’s Extra Rare series, is crafted from one of the final barrels of whisky saved from the now ghost LaSalle distillery.
To mark the model’s 55th anniversary, TAG Heuer’s flagship Carrera line is being driven by the brand’s premium, Swiss-made in-house column wheel chronograph movement, the Heuer 02, for the first time.
Using reclaimed agricultural tools, rare woods and ethically-sourced animal horn/bone from his native Brazil, Brooklyn knifesmith Max Poglia is crafting handsome, one-of-a-kind knives that are equal parts art and function.
With a journey that begins on the steppes of Mongolia and ends in an NYC design studio, SAVED proffers ultra-soft cashmere throws, pillows, blankets, hats, and scarves — all featuring the sort of punchy, voguish designs one might expect to catch in the background of a Wes Anderson film.
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, legendary shaper Mikey Franco and his team are building snowboards in a way no one else in America does: by hand, specifically tailored to each and every client from the ground up.
Hailing from the tiny island of Kagoshima in Japan’s smallest prefecture, Olive Wagyu is the rarest beef on planet earth. Only a handful of Japanese cattle farmers produce it, and in extremely limited quantities — only 2,000 of these mythic cows exist in the world at any given time.
The first generation Ford Bronco is one of the most beloved SUVs of all time, unchanged from 1966 to 1977. Illinois outfit Gateway Bronco reigns supreme in the restomod game, hunting down these classics and meticulously restoring/refurbishing them to new levels of glory.
There is no piece of equipment more essential to mountaineering than the humble backpack. And no one makes them quite like Dan McHale, a veteran climber who’s been making bespoke ultralight packs out of a workshop in Seattle for more than 40 years.
Plying her trade from a by-appointment-only studio in the heart of Nashville, Savannah Yarborough is one of the most sought after designers of bespoke leather jackets in the country — her clients include Jack White, Jason Isbell, and, with a bit of luck, you.
Product imagery courtesy of AdrianMartinus Design