Mike Schneider has been fingerboarding since approximately late 2002 and has one of the most significant fingerboard collections in the world. From his own personal creations to boards made by friends and various fingerboarders around the world, each deck represents a significant time period and location in fingerboarding. Every board has a story, and many of them are extremely rare. For those who are unable to see this mythical museum in person, we've decided to document each board with photographs and captions for the world to see right here online!
*This page is a work in progress, please check back frequently!* Scroll down to see photos and read about each board!
Please keep in mind, these boards are not being offered for sale and are part of a private collection. Enjoy!
1. My first fingerboard, ever. It all started around fourth grade. I was getting into skateboarding, and loving it. Kids in my class had TechDecks and I thought they were really cool and fun and wanted to get one. After begging my mom for months, one day she finally came home with this Tony Hawk Tech Deck and the rest is history!
2. One of my first creations was making a graphic and sticking it onto a Tech Deck for some customization! I made the artwork in MS Paint, and you can see the names of a few of my friends who I fingerboarded with and I made a "company" called Deaf FB, which eventually changed to Death FB, for about a week, and then I renamed it again into FlatFace! The FlatFace name stuck for good. A lot of people ask me the origin story for the name, and I wish I had a cool one. But it was just a totally random name, and I didn't know it would become something serious at all either. It was just me making fingerboard stuff and having fun with my friends!
3. A Tech Deck I got at Learning Express in town, which had the super rare Gold trucks and clear wheels! I still have some like it new in packaging which I collected later, they go for $100 online now! But I am keeping them. As you can tell, I was really into Tony Hawk when I started. He's still an awesome role model in many ways! I even got to meet him once, but I was too young and nervous so I just said "Hi, I'm Mike" but if I get the chance to hang out again I'll be sure to tell him all about fingerboarding :) and we can laugh about the time I met him 10 years ago!
4. The first wooden fingerboard I ever made! This was sometime in 2003. It was a lot better than the next few boards I made after it, somehow. I didn't know what the thin wood was actually called, so it took a while before I could make my own board from when I first wanted to, and I had already gotten some wooden decks before making any. One day I was in my friend Evan's basement and his dad had the exact "thin wood" I needed and he gave me some! Here's the first one I made, and it was molded in between two Tech Decks with some c-clamps, wood glue, etc. One day I came into my bedroom and the board was snapped in two places, but I never found out who did it or when. Maybe someone stepped on it or something, but I'm just glad I decided to keep it regardless of it being broken! This board is super special to me.
5. Another very early FlatFace deck. This time I had some oak veneer, probably with paper backing which just went right inside the deck anyways! The bottom was colored with a marker. This deck is pretty solid.
6. I started to dye my own wood using different mixtures. This one was using a very concentrated liquid dye meant for wood, and it worked out pretty well, as you can see the color stayed on the side after sanding, which was a big challenge. I like how some wood grain is visible under the red dye, which makes dyes a lot more appealing than paint in comparison.
7. A simple wood print graphic, text on a background color. I would put the wood straight in my printer, taped onto the printer paper. It works really well, however, I've broken about 7 printers doing this. You can see in the reflection that this board has neon fluorescent yellow griptape on it.
8. This is a deck I made for FFI. I can't remember the exact reason but I believe there was a contest, and I had made a board to give them for one of the prizes and made another one to keep. Maybe? Anyways, FFI was huge, long before the days of YouTube and Instagram, everything was on forums. I started on the Tech Deck forums, and then FFI was a big upgrade with a lot more serious fingerboarders. There was also RZF and possibly a few others, but FFI was the big one for a lot of us. YouTube didn't exist until around 2006 and I was one of its first users, way before it became a household name! Before that, we had to find file hosting websites to upload our video files to, and then post a download link on the forum to share our clips with other fingerboarders. Downloading these short clips could take overnight on our standard dial-up internet which was the norm back then, and it would tie up your phone line during the process.
9. A FlatFace deck made out of aircraft birch plywood style veneer. Each ply was like 3 plies, and the wood has a silvery-greyish hue to it. You could buy this wood in hobby stores like Michaels and AC Moore. It was super smooth and fairly hard, and made for some decent boards. Not quite as good as maple and others, but was very common and easy to work with. This has a wood print darkstar graphic on it, and colored skate grip design.
10. Mike Schneider pro graphic deck, FlatFace. This one's got some dark green griptape on it, which I had from hobs boardshop, the first skateshop I visited. I still didn't quite realize the bottom ply was supposed to be vertical. It does give them a neat extra crisp edge look, though! I think Jay made this graphic, because he knew how to align text all cool.
11. Another pro model graphic FlatFace deck, wood print, and this time with Rip Tape on it! Rip was super hard to get in the USA back then, and we all used skate grip on our fingerboards. When I finally was able to get a pack of rip, I put my first sheet on a Tech Deck, which you'll see here soon. I wasn't sure if it was going to be good, so I didn't want to risk ruining a wooden fingerboard with it. Turns out, riptape was way better than skate grip, and I immediately regretted "wasting" one of my three pieces on a TechDeck! Luckily, it was a really good TechDeck, and I was able to use my other two pieces on some good wooden boards. I think Jay made this graphic too.
12. A FlatFace deck showing off the true potential of a wood print graphic, with a beautiful maple burl bottom ply, which was still incorrectly horizontal, which would sometimes cause pregnancy. As you can see in this board, it is called "pregnant" because the middle bends upward like a belly, reducing performance.
13. The first wooden fingerboards I got were "Skulls and Bones" brand, and they cost $4. This is one of them, although my very first one was purple and I'm not sure where it is now. Getting my first wooden board was completely surreal and such a big upgrade from Tech Decks, so I quickly ordered a few more. These actually came in a plain white envelope with no bubble wrapping and it was a miracle when they would arrive safely at all, as the mail sorter machines would usually rip or flatten them. The fly griptape was from Martin Illsley I believe.
14. Berlinwood. This was my first Berlinwood, from Germany, which cost $20, back when the average price of an American board was $4-5. BW decks were nearly impossible to get, and not easy to afford either. When I finally got the opportunity to get one, it was absolutely incredible! I had never seen a board with such amazing beauty, craftsmanship, perfection. The board was strong, shiny, even, and rock solid! It definitely took things to a new level. This board was pretty long, and I actually sanded it a little bit shorter to my liking for better performance, although I wish I hadn't just because of the rarity of this particular board. Another crazy thing is that I traded this board to someone in France, and a few years later I tracked him down and was able to trade again to get the board back, as it meant a lot to me as my first Berlinwood ever! I am beyond thrilled to have it back in my collection. I still remember fingerboarding on the floor with this deck in Florida and how crisp the pop felt. I also dropped it off a 19 story balcony into bushes and found it!
15. Spode Deck with Josh Jones graphic. These were really good, solid, well-made boards! Wood print graphic and a semi-exotic maple with a beautiful burl. A really good grippy camo griptape on top.
16. Spode deck I had gotten much later than the previous one, and this one was disappointingly pregnant and a bit too long too. The previous one performs really good though!
17. Vegas deck. This one is super special to me! These decks were often referred to as having a banana shape, but they performed really amazing and there was nothing else like them! Vegas was one of the coolest companies of its time, and had amazing full length team videos.
18. Vegas Anti-Concave. Another unique board design, these literally had a small amount of "anti-concave" which was completely upside down. It wasn't too deep but still made for a very different feel, and mellow performance. This graphic was part of a series and this was the Martin Illsley pro model, he was a great fingerboarder from England and owned a few companies as well.
19. Vegas anti-concave deck I got in a trade, used. I'm not sure if I set this one up for long if at all, they were fun but I preferred the regular shape.
20. Vegas Deck, Chris Daniels pro model! One of my favorite parts ever was Chris Daniels' part in the Vegas video "Form of Sin" which was somewhere around 2004 ish and can still hold up in skill level to todays fingerboarding, not to mention being all filmed on 26mm Vegas and TechDeck boards with makeshift cardboard ramps. Chris Daniels is a FlatFace team rider to this day!
21. A newer Vegas deck, maybe Raymond came back for a little while and was making decks again? This was on different wood and of a nicer quality, although very lightweight. Doesn't look like I used it, probably got it later as a collectible.
22. A Martin Illsley deck. These were extremely high quality boards for their time, with excellent craftsmanship and performance. Great quality wood print on Maple. This board has the original precut 26mm riptape on it which was the standard deck size of the time. You can see the deck is just slightly wider.
23. Priest decks were Martin Illsley's oldschool decks. Also some of the best of their time and really good performance wise, too! Ziptie boardrails with double sided adhesive.
24. Holywood Deck from Poland. This was a really good one and I used it for a long time. Loads of pop, super solid and amazing craftmanship and performance. You'll see this in a lot of my old videos, probably around 2005-6 ish. Holywood Decks are coming back to FlatFace store soon!
25. The best Prete deck I've ever had! I loved this shape, super easy to use and performs amazing. Probably 26-27mm wide.
26. Ingenunity Deck from Danny Rodriguez! He was a big inspiration of mine in fingerboarding back in the day, his videos were incredible! He made some cool boards too, I have a few of them and this might be the best one.
27, 28. Two more Ingenunity Decks. I wonder if it was Ingenuity, because that's a word, but maybe it was supposed to have the word Unity in it, because I remember it as Ingenunity, but I was also like 10 years old, so who knows. I'll find out and update this.
29. This is a pretty famous Jamie Thomas deck. I've had this fingerboard for a real long time and it's one of my earlier TechDecks, but must be a couple years into my fingerboarding adventure because I remember when these risers first came out!
30. Another one of my oldest TechDecks :) The grip on this one is super grippy. They changed the griptape texture slightly, numerous times over various early generations.
31, 32. A couple more older TechDecks, pretty sure these both came with the rare gold trucks and clear wheels too. The pig one also has the griptape on backwards!
32. This is the first deck I ever put riptape on! That's my first sheet of riptape ever, and on a "really good" TechDeck that I used a lot. As I mentioned before, I wasn't sure if Rip was going to be good or not, so I had to test it on just a TechDeck first. It instantly made it into the best TechDeck I ever had! Riptape was super rare and hard to get in the USA back then, so after this I only had two more pieces to carefully select a deck for.
33, 34, 35. Animaux Decks. The oldest wooden deck company that I am aware of. I don't remember many details, but I was told they are from before my time, and I think from France or maybe Canada... if anyone remembers this company please fill me in with details! These boards are very skinny, 25-26mm (which was the norm because of TechDeck sizes anyways) and the one on the right is even shorter, too!
36. Blast! Deck by Jonno Lee. This was another awesome company that was around during my early years of fingerboarding.