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Zuber Singh 82

12 Updates of Christmas Pt 2:

When Woodworking Meets Basketball


Dear Friend,


Hi from Lopez Contracting! I hope you’re enjoying the cheer of the holiday season!

After my wife Hye-young and the kids, Basketball is the great love of my life. It’s my favourite sport by a long shot (pun intended). I was into basketball for as long as I can remember. Even in elementary school I was doing ‘long bomb shots’ from half-courts, and I remember being so ecstatic whenever I scored. At the age of 12, I returned to my birth city of Victoria from Shawnigan Lake. At the time I was teased and bullied a lot for being the new kid. One day whilst at the basketball court next to my house, I met Billy, who like me was a recent arrival in Victoria, but from Korea. Both of us ‘new kids’ quickly bonded over our love for ball and its related game of bump. We’ve been inseparable since then! 

I didn’t have a lot of money as a kid, nor the best clothes, and neither was I popular, but I had basketball and my sense of humor and that has allowed me to thrive in finding my community since. My ball journey continued whilst I was in Arbutus Junior High. My teacher Mr. Shiers knew Steve Nash and recognized his talent. Steve Nash became one of the most prolific and famous Canadian players when he was drafted onto the Phoenix Suns team. Mr. Shiers also encouraged me to get into long jump, discus, volleyball, and track sports because he believed I showed promise, and of course he encouraged me to get more and more into basketball. 

PE remains my favorite subject, even today. I always thrived in that field! At the court I met a lot of my closest friends who I’ve not only kept in touch with, but it’s also allowed me to connect with a number of local businesses and expand our local and ethical network of partners. It helped train my discipline which is something I’ve brought into the workplace.

About a month ago, I saw a basketball hoop on Facebook Marketplace with no backboard which was on sale for $10, and my heart almost skipped a beat! In another instance I acquired a monkeypod slab of live edge wood reclaimed from a table. One day I happened to place both close together and a light bulb went off in my head. I knew then I had just made two very good impulse buys! What better way to marry my passions of live edge and ball than a live-edge backboard and hoop?


I next sandblasted the rim, used a grinder to grind it smooth and have since sent it off to the powder coaters. I built the frame after visiting the Central Park ball court, colloquially known as the Steve Nash ball court. I measured up one of the basketball hoops and the spacing of the square off the rims and sides, and I was able to transfer and reproduce the numbers back to the shop. There, our team welded an aluminum frame which I placed around the live-edge monkeypod slab. 

It was a bit of a challenge confining the organic and natural edges within the perfect polygon, but I drafted a radial diagram emanating from the pinpoint epicenter of the backboard and was able to place the slab within in a way that was optimized for structure and aesthetic. We welded it all together, piloted it, dry fit it, and screw fit it, measuring and labelling every point including bisects and line segments. We’re currently in the process of reclaiming some acrylic sheets and layering them over the backboard with layered custom artwork among the panes of acrylic.

We’ve had a lot of fun with this, and it’s been a great excuse to display our ultimate creativity. This includes our proficiency in powder coating, collaborating, milling, fabricating, designing, and prototyping. Moreover, we can meld all these synergistic processes together in a way that’s logistically sound, and that’s a feeling that we’re just hooked on. This hoop really demonstrates all our departments and capabilities in a way that reflects our own aesthetics and hobbies. I would love to one day see this mounted on a sport shed or with custom buyer. But for now, I want to hang this beautiful live-edge basketball hoop out-front of the shop. Not only is it such a fitting thing to show it off, but I also get to practice half court shots during my breaks and after work, no better way to decompress! 

Thank you so much for your time, Friend. We deeply appreciate your support of our friendly neighbourhood one-stop workshop! We're always glad to be of service, and on behalf of our team we wish you happy holidays!

Kind regards,

Matthew Lopez
General Contractor
Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd
+1 (250) 885-2902

About Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd:

Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd is a local and emerging artisanal contracting company that specializes in highly custom projects, ranging from renovations to bespoke commissions such as live-edge furniture. Our one-stop shop strongly values our community, and we strive to operate within a 100% local network of partnered suppliers, sub-trades, artisans, and specialists. Our wood supply network, for example, sources largely from local ethical arborists.

We host a beautiful and diverse display of Vancouver Island’s finest lumber specimen, ready to be kilned, milled, sanded, edged, finished, or otherwise prepared right here in our shop for any discerning patron or project. Our one-stop shop offers singularly rare and unique services right here in the heart of Victoria, including one of downtown’s only kiln, lathe, and CNC services.


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Our Triple Crown Philosophy

Some years ago, I innately understood that a building structure should have three important attributes. First, it should be structurally sound. Second, it should be aesthetically pleasing. Third, it should be attainable or affordable. Ever since, I have strived to make everything I do worthy of this triple crown of excellence.

During a ferry ride to Vancouver, I saw my young son had drawn Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man in my notebook. To my surprise, my son’s sketch led me to discover the historic importance of this idea. This world-famous sketch of a man in a circle, his arms outstretched in two different overlapping poses, has become iconic. A Wikipedia search showed me how Da Vinci was inspired by proportions described by Vitruvius in his ancient treatise of De Architectura.

Vitruvius was arguably the greatest architect in history. His work is the only major surviving publication on architecture from classical antiquity. It was written for Emperor Augustus, made famous in the Bible for his census which brought Jesus’ parents to Bethlehem. Eminent Roman architects such as Vitruvius were skilled in engineering, art, and craftsmanship. As an army engineer himself, Vitruvius had overseen all manner of building and construction for wars and settlements across Europe and North Africa.

The most famous maxim of Vitruvius was that architecture should embody three qualities: utilitias, firmitas, and venustas. In English, this means that great handiwork should be useful, sturdy, and with beautiful proportions. (Just imagine what Venus, the goddess of love, might look like.)

I was delighted and not disappointed to find out that my idea was old and not new. It gives me more motivation than ever to offer you the product of a triple crown craftsman: sturdy, useful, and beautiful work at a reasonable price.