June 23, 2022

Island Workshop Story Part 1

Building Island Snowboards a New Home

We are in the middle of renovating our workshop and as part of this process thought it might be a good time to share the journey. This is the first post in a series on how we turned a 40-year-old Japanese farm shed into a snowboard factory - and how we're preparing it for the future

Exterior Island Snowboards 2020
A new home for Island Snowboards

In the spring of 2020, the world was in turmoil, and an opportunity to buy an old farm shed at the base of Mt Yotei landed at our feet. We decided it was a good a time as any to go all in, so we put down the coin and rolled up our sleeves to get Island Snowboards into a bigger space, with plenty room to grow.

What began its life as a pig shed eventually turned into a retirees' tinkering workshop and saké-soaked karaoke space. So getting the structure ready to build snowboards in another iteration of life, on a shoestring budget, was always going to be a challenge.

Clearing out a couple decades worth of accumulated possessions is never a fun job. Add to that a few snakes, giant hornets and the occasional lost bird will make for never ending surprises. First priority after the inital purge was to make sure we had a clean working space to house the snowboard press. None of the building had any insulation and our budget didn't allow us to to either renovate everything at once or burn through half the forest of Hokkaido to keep the place warm. With winter on the way and a rough idea of how we wanted to operate, a small well-insulated and heated room was to become the centre of everything for the first couple seasons.

Keeping it warm in winter
insulating the press room
Windows going in
Setting up the press
Workshop Version 1.0

This small room has been the hub of all that happened for the past couple of years and as we've grown, we've had to look at expanding out into the rest of the building. Now the time has come to pony up and get the whole building dressed and ready to rock.

Stay tuned to see where we are and where it's headed.