In the bedroom of Nick Pourfard’s San Francisco home is a collection of furniture he built himself. Pourfard is a self-taught woodworker who seems to have a knack for crafting wooden wonders. Instead of turning his professional attention to dressers and bed frames, however, Pourfard decided to craft something a bit more exciting: guitars. And he doesn’t craft them from Home Depot-fresh lumber, he makes them out of old skateboards. We met him in the garage workshop of Prisma Guitars to take a look at his process.
CM: What inspired you to start doing this?
NP: Curiosity mostly. I wanted to build something I couldn’t buy that was sentimental to me. I passed by the old stack of skateboards my brother and I accumulated over the years and that was it.
CM: Do you have to go hunting for old boards to use?
NP: Actually, I get all of them donated to me by skate shops, distributors, skaters, and fellow board recyclers.
CM: And once you have them, how long does it take you to make one guitar?
NP: I was juggling school for a while and that made the process take about 4-5 weeks per guitar. Now that I’ve graduated, it takes about 2 weeks to build one.
CM: And you taught yourself, right?
NP: Right. It started with skate ramps, then furniture, and now guitars. I would also try to hang around people who did know a lot so I could learn more about woodworking and guitar building. Basically, work for free to learn, get experience, and make connections—plus it was fun!
CM: What’s your favorite part of the process?
NP: Getting the skateboards to become usable material is so labor intensive, and I have no idea what patterns will emerge. When I finally get to see the pattern that comes out, I get excited. The pattern helps me decide what type of guitar I will make. That’s my favorite part.
CM: How can someone get one of your guitars?
NP: I have an online store, and that’s where I make most of my sales. I also get custom inquiries to build a guitar from scratch. I’d say I get one of those requests at least every few days.
CM: When you’ve actually got time to play, what’s your go-to song?
NP: Yeah, I’ve been playing guitar for about 12 years, and I’ve been skating for just as long. I’ve been playing “Cissy Strut” by The Meters for as long as I can remember. For some reason, that song never gets old.
Learn more at Prisma Guitars.