When we started Spring House Press we did so with one primary thought in mind: A whole new generation of DIYers isn’t able to find projects and how-to information that really speaks to their interests. With that in mind, one of the very first calls I made was to Matt Berger. Matt and I worked together at Fine Woodworking magazine back in the 90s. From southern California, Matt came in with a passion for traditional woodworking and craft in general, but also a new set of interests that represented what I now see as a renaissance in working with your hands.
Back then we were both determined to learn all we could about woodworking and logged countless hours in the magazine workshop. But even from the beginning Matt’s projects often had a decidedly different bent than much of the work you saw in the shop—Shaker side tables and 18th Century reproductions, projects that brought to mind plaid flannels and dusty beards. While Matt became a well-versed woodworker with a broad range of interests and talents (including the traditional), the first project I remember Matt building was a maple longboard. I’d dabbled in building skateboards as a teen, but Matt had clearly taken it a few steps further. I’ve always been amazed at Matt’s ingenuity and passion for all things craft.
A few years later Matt left the magazine and moved on to American Public Media. And he’s now moved over to a job at Apple. I’d lost touch with Matt in the last few years, but he was the first maker that came to mind when we talked about launching SHP. I wonder if he’s still building skateboards, I thought. Boy was he. And he’s still a great craftsman, natural writer, and a tireless worker.
I’m in the midst of editing Matt’s first book now, and we couldn’t be prouder to have him as one of the first authors from Spring House Press. Take a sneak peak at The Handmade Skateboard: How to Design and Build a Custom Longboard, Cruiser, or Street Deck from Scratch, which will hit stores in August.