OLYMPIA, Wash. - If skateboarding had a golden age, Andre Drescher believes it was in the 1970s.
"It was the best time anyone could have," said Drescher as he sat surrounded by the boards he hopes will help restore the individuality and joy of skateboarding.
When he looks at an old door, or a cabinet, or a forgotten table leaf, or whatever, he sees a skateboard.
Drescher has converted the basement and garage of his Olympia home into a factory that uses fond memories, used wood and skill to make a new generation of customized skateboards.
"I made my own boards when I was a kid," said Drescher, who grew up with the Southern California skateboard boom of the mid-70s.
He showed off one he made for a close friend who recently lost his father in a traffic accident. The friend's father was a union carpenter so he found the union logo, reduced to fit a board he rescued from an old church pew. The result is an artistic tribute that uses old school pride and modern skating principles.
"He likes it so much, he's afraid to ride it," said Drescher.
He understands, but Drescher's true goal is to get people back in love with an activity that evolved into a high tech extreme sport dominated by a elite group of athletes. Drescher wants people to remember it started out as a homemade hobby that featured boards as individual as their riders. He won't rule out any object as a possible skateboard source but insists they all come from reclaimed or salvaged materials.
"You know I see stuff going to the dump and I'm just like, are you kidding?" he said.
Drescher said everything he makes can be ridden hard in Northwest weather conditions.