How To Build Your Own Longboard
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:
Gather the Materials
- Hardwood or plywood to make the deck
- Strong adhesive or glue
- Rough sandpaper
- 8 screws to assemble the trucks. The size should be such that can fasten the trucks securely to the board
- Screws to seal the board when curving is required.
- Drill machine
- Fiberglass resin, cloth and hardener
- Piece of paper and pencil
- Grip tape
Select the Wood
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 Plywood
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 the Board Shape
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.
Trace the Board Shape
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.
Stick the Wood Pieces Together
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.
Shape the Board
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.
Put Weight on the Board
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.
Carve the Board Shape
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.
Sand the Board
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
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.
Attach Trucks, Wheels and Bearings
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.
Test the Board
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.