handmade ski and snowboard company | deviation lLC.
Meet Dani Lipsky of deviation lLC. | Designer and Maker Extraordinnaire
When did you start Woodworking: I first started working with wood when I was a kid, but I didn’t consider myself a “woodworker” until I was about 18.
How did you learn to Woodworking/Metalwork, etc : I went to The Rhode Island School of Design for my bachelors degree, this is where I really fell in love with creating with wood.
What machinery/tools do you primarily use: In Deviation LLC’s wood shop we have our big beauty Laguna SmartShop® 1 CNC, a table saw, planer, joiner, horizontal belt sander for grinding, band saw, drill press, and two large cabinet routers. For hand tools we use orbital sanders and jig saws. All these machines are used to make every ski and every snowboard.
Did you develop your skills with a goal to make a business? If so, how many years have you been in business: Personally I started out working for furniture makers as a shop assistant to make money and then I realized I loved it and went to school for it, and then learned that there is a big world out there besides furniture. So, originally yes there was intent with honing my skills, but as I’ve learned different industries have different processes I would like to keep my abilities open to what I can get my hands on and learn. Right now I really love the skills that are involved in making skis and snowboards. I will always be a maker though no matter what industry I am tied to.
What do you produce? How has Laguna machinery changed the dynamic of your production: Deviation makes custom skis and snowboards by hand entirely in house. Our CNC machine is used for several parts of production. The biggest roll it plays is machining the wooden core that goes in a ski or a snowboard. Our cores have a unique machined profile that the cnc is able to make in minutes, with set up time. Before the cnc was introduced to this process, the only way to machine that profile is with a hand router or a planar crib, both of which require large set ups and hours of labor. The CNC is also what we use to make all of our profile molds, which is one of the key features that differentiates a ski or a snowboards worth to a customer.
What are you focused on making/producing now: Currently we are updating our demo fleet for this winter season, and prototyping new models to introduce at Out Door Retailer trade show this winter
Are there any stories behind the projects you make: We make custom skis and snowboards for everyone- no matter what background or experience level they have. Since our product is so custom, we get to know our customers very well and get to know what they like to experience when they ride or ski. We get to make a lot of skis for the ski patrollers here in Oregon. We also donate a lot of custom boards and custom certificates that are used for raffles to generate donations, for example we made a custom snowboard for the Children’s Cancer Association that was raffled off at a fundraiser at our local mountain. Currently, I have a really exciting project that I am working on for an adaptive snowboard for a friend who was born without legs. I’m excited to teach him how to ride it and to watch him experience snowboarding for the first time.
Have you had the need to contact Laguna for assistance since purchasing your machine? If so, please describe the experience: I was having dust collection issues and asked (on instagram) if Laguna could give any advice on getting some better suction on the cnc. It turns out that the dust hood we had was an old model, and has since been updated. As soon as they realized we had an out of date dust shroud they immediately sent us a new one! since then the new hood has been much more efficient at dust collection and has helped me keep a cleaner shop. I feel that Laguna’s customer dedication is the best I have seen from any tool company, and now whenever I have any questions I feel very comfortable reaching out and asking them directly.
Do you see your business/hobby expanding in the future? What part will your Laguna machinery play in that: Currently we are experiencing an expansion at Deviation- we are producing more products more efficiently and at a hire quality than ever before, thanks to the machine. As time goes on and we get busier I would hope to see another cnc enter the shop.
What do you wish you knew when you started out Woodworking and (if applicable) your business: If there is any advice I can give to anyone, it is that there is no greater learning reasource than history. Wood working has such a rich history throughout human existence. We had to learned to manipulate wood to be able to survive. From furniture, to tools, to skis and snowboards, history is the best teacher. Because I mainly work on a cnc throughout the day, I have to remind myself the value of hand techniques- why fine woodworking takes patients and integrity for learning, whether I am making ski core or I am making finger joints.
Thank you for submitting your story about you, your skills, and your projects: Thank you for letting me be part of this amazing community of makers that you have created and supported. I have made so many friends on social media because of the exposure that you have given them, and myself! I am really excited to be part of the laguna community :]
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