Building your own longboard is a fun process as you get to learn so much. All you need is woodworking tools, wood cutting ability and motivation to nail the task well. So let’s start:
Use 2-3 ¼ inch thick plywood sheets to build the deck. To make the whole longboard, these pieces need to be joined with glue or screws. If not to build the deck, you can buy pre-pressed deck. Number of plywood sheets depends upon the flex of the board you want. Some woods like white ash, bamboo, maple and birch are there offering quality where bamboo is the strongest among all. So you can choose any. For longer board, you need 10 inches by 40 inches woodpiece and before getting to build a board, take an idea of the shape of the board you would like to ride.
Go for wood glue, resin or epoxy. Every hardware store has these adhesives that are meant to join the wood pieces tightly and keep the board layers together.
These are the metal bits which are used to attach the wheels to the board. And these are important to keep the board turning when you lean. Most popular trucks are reverse kingpin trucks offering better stability and response.
The harder the wheel, the more sliding ability it has whereas the softer wheels offer tight turns.
Bearings are meant to fit inside the wheels to let them turn smoothly. Usually, people are seen buying ceramic bearings but they are quite expensive as well. Quality does matters!! If ceramic bearings are not in your budget, buy steel bearings.
Cut the wood into strips according to the size mentioned above i.e. 10 inch by 40 inch. Shaping is not a concern here as you just need to cut the pieces for now. Keep the longer strips for longer board and vice versa. Shaping will be done once when the pieces will be attached together into a solid deck.
Draw a straight line on a paper that will be the centre of the board and then draw the shape of the board you would like to have. For your knowledge, shorter boards are more flexible and quickly turn while cruising. So if you are a beginner, keep things simple by building a short board and not the longer one. At the front, draw a slight curve.
With a pencil, trace the board shape on the top wood piece and using adhesive, press the wood together. Let it dry and then carve the shape. Keep in check that you are drawing the deck the same way you want. Remove the imperfections from the board and make sure that half of the board is symmetrical.
Drill holes around the board outline to clamp the wood together. Drill the holes evenly around the board shape and keep them smaller than the screws. Check which points need extra support and add more holes there. All the pieces of plywood must be stacked properly and make sure to hold them tightly so that they don’t shift while drilling. Drill the holes through the wood and ensure that you don’t drill the area that will be your deck. One inch space must be there while drilling the outline of board.
Use a paintbrush and apply adhesive on the inner side of each wood piece. Get them back together making sure that drilled holes are on top.
Stack the plywood pieces and arrange them in a way that the ends of the board are resting on something. And the middle part is hanging free.
On the stack of wood, put weights so that it bends slightly upwards in the middle as when you will stand on it, it flattens out. Leave the board under the weight unless you don’t get a light curve on the wood.
Re-clamp the deck if you are happy with the curve you have got and then put screws around the board.
Take the good looking side of your plywood and make it the bottom of the board. Find the exact centre of the board and draw a line lengthwise down from front to back. Turn the board over and do the same thing for the other side as well. Here you go with the design of the board, take off your stencil now.
Take sandpaper and smoothen the board to keep it free from scratches. Now cover the board with fibreglass resin as it will protect the paint from outside scratches. Mix the fibreglass resin with a hardener and then use a paintbrush to brush the board evenly with its layer. It hardens very fast so be quick while applying. Let it sit for 3-4 hours.
Add any design you like using paint or markers and sand the board down one more time. Go for painting the board with any pattern or color you like to make it look beautiful. Next, add a last layer of fibreglass resin to seal the design finally on the bottom of the board. Do it clearly so that the designing you did is visible through the coating. Cover the whole board with grip tape as it will keep your feet stick on the board while riding at higher speeds.
Now it is the time to put the bearings inside each wheel and attach the wheels to the trucks. The nuts must be so tight that don’t let the bearings come out and offer free spinning of the wheels.
Here you go!! Your board is ready. Now check it once that it holds your weight properly. Before sliding on the hills, make sure that everything is perfectly done.
Longboards have prolonged existence and long shelf life as the name depicts. Due to the fact that longboards were manufactured with a purpose of cruising and not for tricking, you can maintain them and keep them from getting botched. With few cleaning efforts and maintenance, your longboards will serve you for years. The longer you keep riding, the more it will serve you and the less you will have to keep it enact.
To keep the longboard or skateboard working perfect, little maintenance every few days is good. And bearings play a major role in keeping the longboard fine. If you are a lover of riding in rainy season or have gone through some puddles, then you must regrease the bearings to stop them from gathering rust. I have seen many people keeping an old bearing set for riding and sliding in rain as it will save your new bearings from rusting that you just got. Let’s get to know how to keep the longboard bearings clean:
To take the bearing out, simply take the nut off and slide the wheel. It will bring the innermost bearing to the edge of the axle from where you can take it out. Just use the motion that you use to open a bottle and force the bearing out of the wheel. This way you can remove the bearings from the wheel. Use the same process for every bearing.
Now you have to get inside the cartridges and this is done once when you have taken the bearings out. Mostly the bearings have only one shield and I hope you are lucky enough in that case. Then you have to get the shield out to get your hands in the cage and balls. Getting inside the cartridge with a rubber shielded bearing is easy as you just need to get one shield off with a screwdriver and you are done. Metal shielded bearings are equipped with a “C” clip that needs to be taken off.
While getting the rubber shield off, you may get it damaged but that’s fine. Some bearings give the possibility to remove the cage and balls for individual cleaning also. So it depends upon the bearings your longboard have.
Now grease the bearing races by using methylated spirit. Or you can simply soak them in alcohol or some sort of solvent. Or if there is some spray available to use as a de-greaser, use it to bring all the crap out of the bearings. And if you have nothing, go for lemon juice. It is a great cleaning tool though. Whatever method you choose for cleaning, soak the bearings for 2 minutes at least or put them in a jar and then shake it for 2 minutes. Lastly, rinse them with a clean solvent.
Now you need to dry the bearings. Hair dryers are a good choice here. After drying, use some oil or grease to lubricate the bearings but don’t go crazy with the lubrication. Bearings don’t need much of it. Try lubing the bearings thinly so get faster spin. Oil is supposed to keep the bearings fast but if any crap gets inside then it will be a mess. Plus, while spinning the board, oil gets out speedily that leaves the bearings without any lubrication and they overheat and get melted. So it is not so cool idea to use oil. All you can do is clean the bearings from time to time to keep them intact and working all fine.
Other than oil, we have medium grease i.e. white lithium stuff which can be bought from any bike shop easily. Using white lithium makes the bearings resistant to crap and serve you for longer time than ever. And if you are a rain lover, then this is a perfect option of course. The downside of this grease is that the wheels spin slower.
So I would suggest using light grease for better and proper results. Re-grease with a good lubricant indeed.
Now hit the streets because you are done with the cleaning. But before that, screw the bearings back properly so that they don’t come out while spinning.
Okay guys, this was all about cleaning the bearings that are quite an essential part to keep the boards maintained. Now if you are thinking of how to clean the longboard deck, you must read further because this is a valuable part to know. You might be using your longboard since long but never felt the need to clean the deck. Let me tell you that the board deck is an important thing to offer prolonged life and keep it looking good and clean always. And to your surprise, it doesn’t take much time to clean the deck as well as not much of the cleaning gears are required. Let’s dig deep in the topic of cleaning the board deck perfectly:
To conclude, I would like to say that these methods are quite useful to clean the board. So try them once and get a new looking longboard for sliding or cruising.