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In pictures: See skateboards being built at Roarockit

Company sells DIY kits and conducts after-school programs for young people

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Ted Hunter, 62, and his wife Norah Jackson founded Roarockit Skateboard Co. in 2002 in Toronto. The company, which has five employees, produces DIY skateboard-making kits. Mr. Hunter is also a furniture-design professor at Toronto’s OCAD University.

Rob De Freitas

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A custom skateboard made using dyed veneer layers at the Roarockit warehouse in Toronto. The company sells kits to about 100 customers a month. Among them are independent builders ordering online from all over the world and participants in an after-school mentorship program.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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Three types of veneers offered by Roarockit are on display. Mr. Hunter has also developed a way to “pinch” layers of wood veneer to make them ripple like the surface of the ocean, all while strengthening the product and still preserving the flat, rideable side of the board. But he is unsure about what to do with his method, which he has patented.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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Custom boards at Roarockit. The board second from left was shaped using the company's pinch process.

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Maple veneers at the Roarockit warehouse.

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A machine used to cut custom veneer shapes. At the moment, Mr. Hunter, who is approaching retirement age, is sitting on his idea. He is not excited about the idea of starting a new business.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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An employee glues veneer layers to make a custom skateboard.

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Marcel Dionne, production manager, right, measures out grip tape. Mr. Hunter and his wife have toyed with the idea of licensing the pinch process to manufacturers of skateboards, furniture and housewares. The process could be used to add designs to the back of a chair, for instance – a swirl or a fleur-de-lis.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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Chris Bennett scrapes the edge of a custom-made skateboard to get a flush edge.

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Dye-infused veneers, before they are made into skateboards. “We’re not sales people and we’re not really business people,” Mr. Hunter says. “The problem with [licensing] is we have none of those contacts, and both Norah and I aren’t great at walking in a door and saying, ‘Hey, here’s what we’ve got, you should be using that.’”

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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The pair also worry that explaining their idea to potential licensees could result in the method being stolen. “I’m 62 and the last thing I want to do for my 20 years left on this earth is be involved in litigation,” Mr. Hunter says.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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“With Roarockit we feel as if we’re giving something back to society, and we don’t want to change that,” Mr. Hunter says.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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