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!”
– 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.”