In the 1990s, Dan Coyle started making wooden helmets for himself and his buddies for whitewater kayaking, as well as wooden eyeglass frames and paddles. It was a hobby, a use for Coyle’s chainsaw and grinder.
Coyle noticed that, structurally, wood is similar to rigid, closed-cell foam. That means it can, with impact, deform and absorb shock like EPS in a traditional bicycle helmet. In fact, Coyle discovered, almost any wood is capable of absorbing more energy than polycarbonate and the ABS plastics typically used in bike, skate, motorcycle, and ski helmets, while also being more durable. A wooden shell provides protection over a greater spectrum of impact energies, according to Coyle's tests. Add a cork liner and the comfort level compares to other helmets currently on the market.