If you enjoy skateboarding or longboarding, you will need the right board in order to practice. While you have plenty of options to shop around, the most ideal way to have your customized longboard is to build it yourself. For those who are into DIY projects, you have come to the right place! This article will show you how to build a longboard at home.
Step 1: Prepare the tools, materials and hardware
Prepare all the materials and tools you need
The first thing you need to do for any DIY project is to find the materials and tools needed for your project. It’s actually simple and easy to find the materials. Just keep in mind that hardwood is more reliable. You can use some kinds of wood like oak, walnut, or maple. Besides, you need to prepare wood glue, black spray paint, polyurethane (Spray Can) and spray adhesive.
In addition, it will be necessary to use some tools such as Clamps, Sandpaper, Photoshop, Printer, Utility Knife, Pencil, and Screwdriver. Apart from that, some optional tools can be used, like Band Saw, Table Saw, Jointer, Planer, Chisel, or Spokeshave, Bench vise.
Having some Skateboard Hardware would also be useful, for example, Gullwing Sidewinder II, Trucks, Bearings, Wheels, Independent Hardware, and Clear Grip Tape. SkateboardCast.com has all the guides so you can choose the best ones for your longboard.
Step 2: Prepare the Wood and Make the Panel
As you have already well prepared, it’s time to learn how to build a longboard. Let’s start with the deck. You can cut it from a flat hardwood panel.
To make the panel, you need to rough cut the 4 hardwood strips to about 4 inches longer than the final length by using a saw. If you prefer a flat panel, try to get the hardwood strips flat and square. You can run them across the Jointer so that they will be perfectly straight.
Besides, all the strips can be ripped to an equal width at the table saw. You can replace a table saw with a circular saw to make these cuts. Next thing you do is to glue up the panel. Make sure you put the boards in order before applying wood glue evenly across the edges. Then use the clamps to clamp all of them together and let it dry overnight.
When the glue is dry, scrape off any dried glue using a chisel. You then can flatten the panel by putting it through the planer. If a planer is not available for you, a hand plane can be used to flatten the panel.
Step 3: Setting Up the Hardware
In this step, you need to install the bearings into the wheels. And what you need to do is to slide the bearing onto the truck, then press it into the wheel. Don’t forget to put a spacer in-between the two bearings. The ideal result is that each wheel has a bearing on each side and a spacer in-between.
Afterwards, screw a nut onto the end of the truck to hold the wheel in place. It’s important to dial it right. It can’t be too tight or too loose, otherwise, the wheel won’t spin or it will wobble. You should pay more attention to this step when you learn how to build a longboard.
Step 4: Figure Out the Deck Shape
Longboards can be built at home
There are different shapes of a longboard. If you are not sure what your favourite shape is, take a look on the internet and choose one depending on your preference. It’s ideal to figure it out before learning how to build a longboard. One of the most popular ones is a pintail shape. So in this guide, we are going to discuss how to build a longboard with a pintail shape. You can find an image of this shape easily with a few clicks.
You can use Photoshop or “GIMP” to create a Layer, and give it a nice outline. When it’s ready, print it out and tape it down to the table.
Then place the skateboard trucks, align them in the same spot they were on the drawing and use a ruler to square them so that they are centered. The holes can be traced by using a pencil. Afterwards, tape the deck outline down and cut out the shape carefully using a knife.
Step 5: Create the Artwork on the Deck
This step is all about your creativity and skills. You can carve on the bottom using a proper machine, a stencil or a screen-printing technique.
But first, you need to choose the artwork, then carve and use some sandpaper to go around each line to make sure it’s clean and free of burrs. You can also spray paint it to make it look cooler and colorful. Don’t forget to remove the leftover paint from the surface using a razor blade and run it through the planer.
Step 6: Shape the Longboard Deck
It’s time to give your longboard deck a shape. First, you can use some craft spray adhesive to make the outer profile of your deck. After spraying it onto a paper template, give it about 30 seconds to dry and then stick it down onto the wood. Next, you can cut around the template using the bandsaw or a jigsaw.
Make sure to mark the hole’s location for the trucks using the tip of a screw before removing the paper template. Now that you have completed the outer shape, you can drill the holes for the trucks and counter sink the top so that the screw heads have some space.
Step 7: Complete the Longboard Deck
Building your own longboard is not too difficult
Before finishing the surface, you can sand the entire surface to 320 grit and clean off all the sawdust. Most people prefer using the longboard for outdoor activities, so it will be exposed to dirt, water, gravel, etc.. So we recommend that you should opt for a polyurethane finish. Use a spray can to put a few coats of it on your board. Make sure it gets inside the carving as well. If you don’t have a spray can, use a brush or rag instead.
Step 8: Add the Grip-tape and Hardware
The reason why you should add the Grip-tape is because it helps your feet stay gripped to the board when you ride. You can roll it onto the deck. Once it is completely stuck down, you can rub the edges of the deck using a hard surface. Then cut off all the excess tape with a razor blade. Next, put the trucks in place and bolt them in using the hardware.
Now it’s ready for you to ride!
And that’s how to build a longboard! It’s especially much easier if you already have some tools available in the house. We hope you have fun with your DIY project and create a reliable and beautiful longboard for yourself.