The Maker: Chairman Of The Board
Growing up, Andrew Huff almost always had a board underfoot. “Whether it was a skateboard or a wakeboard or a snowboard, that’s what I was passionate about,” he says. That hobby dovetailed with another one of his pastimes: woodworking. By the time he was a teenager, the Bremen-based craftsman was producing gorgeous skateboards, paddle boards, and surfboards, mostly from reclaimed wood.
Huff built his first board in high school just to see if he could make something professional-looking. But after graduating with a business degree from Ancilla College in 2015, things got serious. “I started looking for jobs and thought, Why not try to make this a career?” Huff says.
“After a lot of trial and error, it kind of took off.”
Today his company, Huff & Puff, produces boards that range in price from $225 to more than $2,900 and ship worldwide. While smaller boards take about a week to craft, larger builds can take up to a month. Regardless of what he’s making, Huff first considers which types of wood to use. “I’ve got a stockpile that I pick through,” he says.
Because most of his materials are repurposed, the manufacturing process usually starts with removing old nails. Next, Huff planes and saws the lumber with industrial-grade machinery. But when it’s time to create his ornate inlaid designs, Huff hand-cuts those. To finish, each board gets a high-gloss coat. “We do a clear grit on them, too, to help keep your feet on the board,” Huff says.
Although working with reclaimed wood can be a challenge, Huff wouldn’t want it any other way. “The product, in my eyes, is 10 times better than a new-wood board, because it’s already had a life and a history,” he says. “We’re making it into a functional piece of art.”
This S-curve paddleboard features inlay made from reclaimed red-cedar telephone poles. $1,395.