If you’ve been a skateboarder for any length of time, or know skateboarders well, you’re probably aware that they are largely DIY (do-it-yourself) by nature. We grew up building our own ramps and boxes, bondoing spots and cobbling together torn shoes. As we get older, this usually turns into other creative and constructive endeavours. For Calgary brothers Adrian and Martin Pool, it flowed into woodworking.
Facing high prices for building materials, they worked with what they had: scrap wood and broken skateboards. Salvaging less than perfect materials, Adrian and Martin went to work figuring out how to use what they had to build with. They started making baseball bats, cutting boards, bowls, crib boards and coffee tables, all without any guidelines or examples to go by.
“It’s basically all been trial and error,” Martin explained, sitting in Pinbar on 17th avenue beside a massive wall piece he made inspired by the design of a pinball machine. “It wasn’t really about what we wanted to build, it was about what we could build with the materials we had. That, and a constant drive to achieve higher standards, make each thing we build a little better than the last one.”
Selling their products at local markets like Market Collective, AdrianMartinus Woodworking began to grow and so did their projects. They made coffee tables, hanging art pieces, plates and dishes. They streamlined their processes for creating products and after years of practice and dedication, the business took off when a video Martin posted online of him making a bowl went viral.
“I wanted to get some videos out there to show people our process,” Martin said. “Somebody grabbed those videos off of Instagram and put them up on Reddit, from there it took off and suddenly we were getting messages all over the place from Buzzfeed and other places asking for the video clips to share. Our social media following doubled and orders went crazy. It was by far our busiest year ever.”
With the boom in 2018 and a recent move into a bigger shop, AdrianMartinus is doing better than they ever imagined. They’ve made coffee tables for Adidas, they made bowls out of FA boards for AVE’s mom who gave them to AVE as a present, and they are creating beautiful one of a kind furniture with a completely unique look and design.
"We’re building with what’s available and letting the materials speak for themselves"
“We’re not out there trying to re-create a look or a design, we’re building with what’s available and letting the materials speak for themselves and dictate the design of the piece.”
With their success and growth, AdrianMartinus are also doing what they can to give back to their community.
“Our community has been huge for us and we are honoured to be doing well enough to be able to give back to the people around us.” Martin said. “We held an auction for Skateistan, donated money to help build the DIY park in Calgary, donated to Skipping Stones during pride week and also gave to the emergency women’s shelter for International Women’s Day.”
Despite success and evolution, AdrianMartinus is, at its core, exactly what it’s always been. Two brothers with drive and passion and a talent for making cool stuff. They’re kind, modest, and just figuring it all out. It shows when I finally ask Martin what they want to do next.
“I think we’re at the point where we are good enough to know we’re not good. We can see our own limitations and we are constantly working to overcome them. We may not be the best, but we work hard and we’re making a living on this. We’re creative and we’ve learned a ton, we’ve been lucky enough to establish some products that support us and everything else is just experimentation - keep finding new designs and learning new way of doing things.”
Words by Matt Sutton