I have a few observations and questions about this photo of Able Gomes. It's the earliest photo I know of a Skil Planer in the Surfboard industry. Abel is standing above what appears to be a stack of early foam blanks with a tool that I can't make out. First hand knowledge or speculation based on first hand knowledge would be helpful. Looking for insight from the OG surfboard builders here.
- Abel Jerome Gomes (1910 to 1967)
- Abel appears to be in his late 40s or older (late 50s photo?)
- ??? The two skegs I see in the photo look older
- ? Foam Blanks
- Foam first introduced in the late '50s
- First dated material from Skilsaw showing a Skil Planer = 1952
- Is that his son Alan Gomes holding the planer?
- Where is this Photo taken?
- Any 1st hand knowledge of the year?
- Anybody have more pictures of a Skil from this era? Or 60s-70s?
a guy posting as Alan Gomes was on Sway's back in 2010-2011... his name pulls up a few threads still. I haven't had time to dig through them but there might be more photos or answers (or just interesting information) in those old threads?
for example in this thread is photo captioned Alan Gomes, to me it does not really look like the guy holding the Skil in your picture (but I could be wrong!)https://www.swaylocks.com/forums/alan-gomes-and-al-nelson
actually there is an 8 year old post showing that it wasn't really alan gomes posting here, it was a guy writing a book about the Gomes family: "Mcding.....can you think of anything else about allan? I am going to start to write a book about allan and his father abel. here is my number 909 917 8609 . Allans two girls would love to know more about allans early surf time.' mark wakeling"
Makes sense there would be a Skil planer around, based on this info from another site: "This guy Abel Gomes made the boards. He was a woodworker. Tom wasn’t that much of a woodworker. But, he had the ideas, you know. He knew what he wanted. “Abel Gomes worked for a place they called Honolulu Sash and Door and they made all this kind of stuff. He was an expert carpenter and woodworker." http://www.legendarysurfers.com/2015/06/
Gomes had a wood shop in Kakaako in Honolulu. The photo might be from that shop. I read somewhere that he made the first boards that Tom Blake designed, and that he moved to California to keep Alan away from bad influences.
The Green Badge Mystery. Earlier in this thread some lime green badges were shown. My theory was they were UV faded black over red badges. I have two sanders from the same era with black over red badges so I took the scientific approach and placed one in a windowsill for the summer. The red turned the lime green color. So there were no badges that were produced black over green, they were just made after they got the lead out.
Very clever sleuthing Inspector Chan. I wouldn't have thought of that in a million years. Onya Mista Coop.
Is there a serial number list for Skil 100's to help narrow down the year on a planer?
Be safe, have fun. -J
I don't really have the serial numbers/dates dialed in yet but at some point I'll connect the dots. Right now the date can be estimated using and the type on the badge and the letter code in front of the serial #. For example "type2" on the badge with an "A" is approx. 1959-1960. Type2 on the badge with a "C" about 61 to 65. These are rough estimates. Like I said at some point I'll map it out.
I couldn' t really give the family much. Most of what I know was 2nd hand. I did run into a guy on the North Side of the Pismo pier once who had a Gomes foam board. Early sixties. He knew what he had and wasn't interested in getting rid of it. They also did a lot of the early glassing for a few shapers. There was some kind of connection to Hap Jacobs. Miki supposedly knew them and had some connection to them. Wonder if that # is still good?
1953 skil catalog shows the 190 planer on one page, and the 676 planer on another page. Catalog for sale on ebay, I don't own it.
This is just my 2c based on observation. I have always been interested in old tools and got my first Skil back in ’76. I think that Abel is holding the Skil oscillating sander as pictured in the lower left corner of this 1955 catalog page. Also, I have a feeling the blanks are not foam but wood. My dad was born in 1922 and up until he enlisted in 1939 he rode a Tom Blake paddle board. After the war he glassed on a balsa “skeg” the same outline as the fins in the back of the picture. Those boards also look like post-war balsas to me. I found it interesting that in 1953 a Skil 676 was $139.50. That would be $1,288.43 in today’s dollars based on Consumers Price Index Inflation numbers. Pictures aren't mine, collected off Pinterest, etc.. Again, just my 2c… Thanks for all the work putting together the display & sequence, I hope to see it the next time around as I am now retired!