Throwback Thursday: Why Call A Helmet ‘Stumptown Woody’?

Stumptown Wood Bicycle Helmet
New ideas for helmet designs sometimes take a while to percolate through the brains of the Nutcases to emerge as stylishly wearable headgear.
In the case of the ‘Stumptown Woody’ helmet, first debuted as a bike helmet in 2012, it was actually some years between initial idea and finished perfection.
Nutcase founder Michael Morrow says making a helmet decal that looks like true wood grain was something he played around with mentally for some time. The aesthetic originated for him in his dad’s love of Chris Craft wooden boats and the fine craftsmanship that permeated their designs, especially popular ‘Runabouts’.

Vintage boat for inspiration
Photo credit: jE Norton

“That aesthetic had meaning to me, and I wanted to re-create it in a helmet that I myself would want to wear,” Michael said.

The middle section of the Stumptown Woody, which shows big stripes of mahogany-like wood punctuated by thick black lines, mimics the wooden decks of the boats popular in the 1930’s to 1960’s.

Getting the Stumptown Woody to feel like the perfect blend of photorealism and grainy texture took experimentation, Michael said, first in photography, then in a lot of trial and error.

Nutcase also needed to put a uniquely Northwest twist on the helmet concept, of course, and that’s where ‘Stumptown’ (one of Portland, Oregon’s celebrated nicknames) comes in.

“We always want to keep paying homage to Portland,” Michael said. “And that’s not hard here – stumps and wood are a key part of Portland’s heritage.”

Added bright vermillion stripes and a matte black background for the silvery ‘Nutcase’ name, and the Stumptown Woody was complete. Originally released two years ago, Stumptown Woody is currently not available as a bike helmet, but will soon re-appear as one of six graphic implementations in the Moto helmet line.

Stumptown Woody Moto Helmet

“At first glance you might not know it,” Michael said, “but ‘Stumptown Woody’s’ both a tribute to the super-classic Chris Craft boating era and our Northwest roots.”