ARTISANS: Sam Baskett

BMX Parts, Woodburners, Ramps... You Name It!

Above: Sam in his showroom.

Words and photos by Dunk

When I put the word out to the internet that I wanted to shoot with some artistic folk, Sam’s name came up on more than one occasion, and with good reason. Having done the usual connection through Facebook I looked through some of his pics and I knew then that what I thought would be an article based around wood burners, would in fact be quite a lot more involved, because the first thing I saw was his awesome backyard ramp setup. Then there was the showroom with all of his and his brother Tom’s combined work, and so on it went. Their ability to make, create and innovate seems to be pretty limitless and having spent a day with the man himself I came away thoroughly inspired.



– Where are you from and what is your background riding wise?

“I was born in Street, Somerset. I now live in Bridgwater, Somerset. Pretty much bought my first bike for £8 from the local tip at the age of 14, didn’t think I would still be riding at the age of 29. But I am, and I love it.”


– Where did you develop the skills which now allow you to create the things you do?

“I’ve been a hydraulics manufacturing engineer since 2003, so 13 years now, and finished my 3 year college course in manufacturing and mechanical engineering back in 2006 at Bridgwater college. It’s here where I learned the skills to fabricate and work with metal.”



– Do you consider yourself artistic?

“In a way I would say I’m artistic, there are a lot of ideas I come up with which I need my brother’s hands on approach to proceed with. When it comes to joinery wood work, that’s all my brother’s doing. I just add my ideas on top, then proceed with my metal work to meet with his wood work. It’s a match made in heaven. Especially with the skate park build, he taught me so many things whilst building this project. I didn’t even own a impact driver before this project, I was always a pillar drill man haha.”


– What’s the first thing you ever made?

“I’ve made BMX pegs, bar ends, brake lugs, hub guards etc. I haven’t paid for a set of BMX pegs since 2007. Started making the pegs in early 2008 which were popular by word of mouth. I can make them to whatever spec people want and there are plenty of Baskett pegs out there still going strong!”


Baskett Pegs. On miniature pallets!
Bar ends.


– You work closely with your brother on many projects, so where does he fit in?

“My brother has always been full hands on with everything: if it’s broken, he will fix it, if it isn’t broken, he will already be thinking about how to fix it when it breaks. Growing up with him pretty much taught me everything. He was the first person I ever witnessed build a BMX wheel. He was 16 and had never seen anyone build a wheel, but within a hour it was built and perfectly straight. My brother chose carpentry and I chose engineering which worked out perfectly for all the things we now make.”


– How did you end up making the burners you’re known for?

“The burners were my brother’s idea, but because of my CNC work and metal background we teamed up to halve the workload. So everything gets made quicker, and two brains are a lot better than one. The flues (the bit sticking out the top) for the burners are made out of recycled hydraulic ram tubing. Basically if there’s a mark or scratch on the tubing it won’t seal properly and ends up in the skip. I get to take this stuff home and re-purpose it! So with our combined skills there’s a lot of things we can make between us.”



– Is there a link between your passion for BMX riding and the side of you which creates things?

“Yeah, everything I personally make is BMX linked. It all started off with parts, but has grown into other areas, and now the biggest thing is obviously this skatepark in the garden. I also make modular flat rails, again using the recycled hydraulic ram tubing. They can be joined in sections to be as long or short as you want and they grind really fast!”


– Do you have any big plans for your creations?

“I would love to open a shop with all our ideas, but we don’t live in the right town to do so. The money isn’t there. It’s the sort of quirky things which people in the bigger cities would pay good money for. I just like making stuff for the satisfaction of seeing it complete. Making a bit of cash is just the bonus.”


– Where can we find out more about your things?

“I currently have a private showroom in Bridgwater that can be viewed by appointment only. Apart from that, I just advertise through Facebook and work of mouth. Search for Baskett Burners on Facebook to see our work.”


Handmade skatepark. Handmade rail. Handmade gap to manny.

Now I’ve seen my fair share of garden ramps in the past but The Baskett Yard is certainly a unique setup. Sam lives with his girlfriend Grace and her parents Steven and Caroline, who must surely be the coolest people in the world to let this kind of thing happen on their land. The site on which the park now stands was once covered in rubble and building waste, totally uneven and nothing resembling what it does today. So here’s the cool thing – Steven owns a really old digger and a dumper, both of which he thought were beyond repair, and said to Sam if you can fix them and move all the rubbish then you can build a skatepark. That’s exactly what happened. It took 6 months for him to clear and level the space, and up until now it’s taken a year on top of that to get the park to where it is now. All of the materials used have been salvaged and recycled, and as you can see the majority is made of pallets. Sam again worked with his carpenter brother Tom, learned how to work with wood, and together they have created this BMX wonderland. It’s not only the pallets which are recycled but all of the materials. Building sites are rife with waste material, and one man’s trash is another mans treasure! To date the total cost has been around £500, and the majority of that has been on paint and some sheeting material.



So how is it to ride? Well, it’s tight that’s for sure! The vert wall has sunk at the front over time so it’s now about two inches over-vert. The quarter feels great but comes up quickly, there is a curved wall with banks and subs, some gaps and an elvis. It has all the elements of a regular wooden park, but with the challenge of nothing being quite as you’d expect and with very little thinking time. Sam continues to add new things to the park as and when he can find materials, and all the small gaps between ramps get filled in to create new bumps and wedges (as well as adding a small element of safety). I’s these elements combined which make the Baskett Yard a truly exciting, sometimes terrifying experience.

It’s not open to the public and you can’t simply turn up and ride (even if you do make it past the guard dogs), but if you can find him and want to come for a session then I’m in no doubt that Sam will be happy to accommodate. In his own words:

My future plans are just to continue adding weird and wonderful setups, and invite different characters in to ride and film and add their style and creativity to the ghetto masterpiece.”

We hope to work with Sam in the future, maybe to create a build-off or something cool like that. And with such a creative and enthusiastic rider running the show it can only be awesome.


Sam loves landing flat at every opportunity. Gap off the pyramid and over the rail.
Tag team action in small space is always interesting. Sam takes a ride around the bitumen coated wall while Tom Isted sends a hefty whip in his happy place.


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