Trunk Monkey Gets Basement Skates

December 18, 2013 - 2:53 pm
Irradiated by Stingray

Farmgirl and FarmFam have been in the process of cleaning up and renovating the actual farm house this year. Part of this has been cleaning up the basement. In the process, they came up with a pair of ancient skates. Farmgirl made an offhand crack about them and my derby skating, and somewhere in the Good Idea* matrix of my brain, something said “No, don’t throw those out, let me take a look at them.”

Time passed, and I’d managed to forget they were in the for-Stingray pile at Blogorado. More time passed. Farmgirl got a case of the itchy-feet and came down to visit, and did in fact remember that there was a for-Stingray pile (mostly empty beer bottles that need refilling), and brought that, and the skates, along.

For once the Good Idea matrix of my brain was on to something. This is what showed up:

They’ve already had two coats of neatsfoot oil to start reversing the effects of, I’m told, 30 years minimum living in a basement without any attention aside from that of a packrat, but they look suspiciously similar to modern skate design.


On the right is one of my current workhorses, along with a spare truck and kingpin for reference. A brief aside into skate anatomy, the plate is… well, the plate. The metal bit to which all other bits are mounted. The truck is the bit that has the axles (detached with the black plastic caps protecting the threads below the two). Rotate the pictured spare so the lower cap is pointed up but otherwise in the same position and you can see how they fit, if you’re of the less spatially-thinking set. The forward tip is the pivot (mirrored on the rear but pointed the other way), and the kingpin goes through the bushings (black on the old skates, “orange” with a hefty dose of grime on mine) and the large hole in the truck to hold the whole assembly together. They’re both double-action trucks. I haven’t busted out the protractor yet, but they appear to fall in the more popular 10-15 degree range (45 being the other somewhat less popular but still common angle. If anybody is really that interested in this particular divergence, I can go into more detail later, but it’s sort of a hornet’s nest.) Also the axles are 7mm instead of the currently more popular 8mm (which is what LabRat and I roll).


Oriented to see the model, the make (inverted) is Sure-Grip. This is interesting because Sure-Grip is rivaled only by Riedell in terms of ubiquitousness in the modern derby world. The more things change, the more things stay the same, it seems. The plate is even today part of Sure-Grip’s lineup.

As it stands, they’re too narrow for my feet, but not outside the realm of stretchable. I think you all know where this is going.

The bushings are obviously shot. I could get some 7mm axle wheels, but in the interest of in-house sanity, I think the better bet will be to replace the trucks entirely (and the pivot cups, obviously) and go to 8. The kingpins will go as well, since the crank-it-down flathead screw model doesn’t leave a lot of room for adjustment, and the less said about the toestops the better. They have a similar flat-head crank-down mount leaving the stops very high, which is less than useful for tomahawk stops, which are a severely non-trivial part of a referee’s toolkit. Options there are to either go with a standard nut and washer setup, or drill and tap a couple holes for set screws. Having skated both ways, I’ll be adding the set screw. May also have to bore out the main hole itself, but we’ll see how things go.

All in all, thanks FarmFam! (Like I needed another time sink…bastards.)

(And to end-run the inevitable questions, yes the Trunk Monkey moniker is based on the commercial campaign. My general policy of making boy scouts look underprepared** has resulted in way more than a few “Does anybody have a [oddball thing nobody would ever think a derby practice would need]?” “Yeah, I do. Just a sec.” moments, ergo press the button, deploy the Trunk Monkey, fix any problem. My number, for those curious, is .30-06 because “a man with a .30-06 doesn’t panic.”)

*They’re not
**Which sadly is not foolproof, as I have found myself underprepared at times.

5 Responses to “Trunk Monkey Gets Basement Skates”

  1. Old NFO Says:

    Interesting, and those don’t look like ‘cheap’ skates… One wonders what the history of them is? And yes, you’ve got another time sink! :-)

  2. Farm.Dad Says:

    They were NOT cheap skates i can assure you LOL . As to the ” history ” of them , well we just wont go there .

  3. Farmmom Says:

    Stingray loves a time sink. The skates rated higher than all the other goodies we sent out. The pickles and the venison didn’t even get a mention! Between the empty bottles and all the other goodies FG had a car full!

  4. Matt G Says:

    “There ain’t many troubles that a person can’t fix…
    With a trunk monkey wearing number thirty ought six.”

    (With apologies to Lindey Wisdom )

  5. Jennifer Says:

    Going to have to pick you brain regarding parts for my skates. Anxious to see the next stage on these