It’s a lucky person who can build a job from a hobby; but imagine creating a business out of two hobbies. Nick Pourfard is one such lucky guy. He creates guitars, but his pieces are unlike any you’ve ever seen. He’s developed a manufacturing process akin to fusion cuisine; transforming broken and used skateboard platforms into guitars. The result is a uniquely branded product that looks and sounds like a modern day masterpiece.
Pourfard’s company, Prisma Guitars, is not just a business, but an expression of his love for both skateboarding and music. At 24, a self-taught woodworker and industrial design student, he had the basic knowledge and instincts to discover something amazing where others saw only waste and refuse.
As he tells us, “I wanted to build a guitar I couldn’t buy. I was originally going to build a traditional style guitar until about a day before I started…I passed a stack of my old boards! Then I knew I had to make that happen.”
The idea of using skateboards seems crazy and certainly implausible to anyone who isn’t aware of both industries. Pourfard’s knowledge informed his unorthodox direction. As he explains in his site video, “Skateboards aren’t plywood, but people think they are. They’re made from hard rock maple, seven layers of it, and some of them are dyed. That’s how you get the colors to come through.” With prodigious work and some artistic sanding, the Prisma team draws forth the designs that make their instruments stand out.
To continue building inventory, Prisma accepts broken and unwanted boards from skate shops, distributors, and other recycling groups. This San Francisco-based company even solicits skateboard donations on their website, offering to pick up local batches from within the Bay area.
This commitment has drawn praise from the likes of EcoWatch, a news site which informs us that, “For decades, mahogany, ebony, rosewood and other rare tropical hardwoods have been extensively logged – both legally and illegally – to produce valuable wood products, such as guitars and other instruments.”
In his own amazing way, Pourfard demonstrates that innovation can be something we stumble upon, but we need to watch out for it and keep our eyes open. Our brains need to continually seek out and nurture the next great idea. He credits the skating culture for his unique vision.
“The coolest thing about skating is that you go outside with all your friends, you find some spot that you want to skate, you kinda analyze it and figure out how you want to use it, what tricks you want to do, and everyone has their own perspective on it. You start to look at all the ledges and benches and stairs or whatever – you’re not meant to skate on them, you’re not meant to use them like that but you do.”
“That’s the same thing – these skateboards were not built for me to make guitars out of them, they weren’t built for anyone to make anything out of them. They were built for riding. And that’s kind of the same thing, in skating there’re no rules and with what I’m doing there’s no rules. I’m trying to push myself every build, I’m trying to up the ante, I want every single one that I do to be better than the last one that I did.”
Pourifan is singular not just in his work, but in his commitment to innovation. And the best part? He’s managed to join the ranks of those rare business owners who can live their dream every single day. As he says, “Some people do and they’re really lucky and I’m happy that I’m one of those people.”