We live in an age where mass production and cheap materials have taken over the consumer marketplace. It is easier and most of the time cheaper to throw out what’s broken and just buy new now days. When I was growing up as a kid with no job and a measly $10 a week allowance, I wasn’t able to go out and buy the newest coolest skateboards or other things that I wanted. My allowance was spent on candy, donuts and hot dogs from the gas station down the street. One thing that was very abundant at my house was tools and materials. My dad was in construction his whole life and had acquired an impressive amount of tools ready to tackle any job at hand. I took advantage of this and built most of my toys by hand. I took old parts that I had stockpiled in my youth from broken skateboards and bikes I had over the years and created some pretty awesome toys. My favorite was a luge styled board that was paddled with a huge closet rod with rubber crutch ends attached. The luge board had a stereo I wired up with a speaker and everything. I attached some skateboard trucks and wheels to the bottom, custom painted it and paddled myself all around the neighborhood while listening to Vanilla Ice, Kris Kross and MC Hammer. The desire to build things myself stuck with me through life and has transferred into building some of my own cars from the ground upKid. I came across this build that an Imgur user posted and it sparked memories from my youth and gave me some inspiration to get started on one of my own. He didn’t want to go out and buy a longboard from the store that would be the same as everyone else’s so he decided to build his own. It is a lot easier than I thought and it turned out really well. Take a look at this DIY longboard build and get rolling before these last few months of summer come to an end.
He started with a 5’x5′ piece of Baltic Birch. He cut the sheet down to four pieces measuring at 10″ x 40″ long. He made sure to orient the grain in the proper fashion for strength as well as flex. The grain pattern goes as follows, (top to bottom) long, cross, long, long.
He found a longboard template online that was roughly the shape that he wanted. There are hundreds to choose from depending on your riding style. This board is perfect for cruising and carving. He printed the design and slightly modified it to add that personalized touch. He centered the template on the boards and traced it with pencil. Any ink will seep into the grains of the wood so avoid that.
The next step was to laminate all the boards together. To do this, he used Titebond III wood glue, which is waterproof, and a foam brush. He applied a generous coat to the entire surface in between each layer.
He cut the template line and placed two “runners” (small long and straight pieces of wood) under each side of the board, spaced evenly and square with the board. He then placed a large 2″x6″ board directly down the center of the board and clamped everything down to a bench. This is going to give the board a concave shape for turns and carving. He did this while the glue was wet and let it sit for 30 hours to allow for an adequate drying time. The large straight ruler to the left made this process much easier.
Here are the results of this simple press. It looks pretty good to me!
He refined the shape a little more with a bandsaw after the glue was dried. I recommend that you use a jig saw because they offer a little more control.
After applying a few coats of primer to the bottom he began his incredibly unique paint scheme. He started with a base coat of gold and began taping a very intricate design.
Again using his straight ruler he created a grid that would be the starting point for his design. This was very time-consuming but the end results are pretty awesome if you ask me.
Here is his final design goal. I like to think that he got this idea off of a BuzzNick post we did a while ago using this same pattern on some interior walls (check it out here). But it was most likely from the famous MC Escher drawing. With everything painstakingly taped off, it was time to add the final design color.
With the tape in place, he covered the whole board in a semi-gloss black paint. As the masking tape is peeled away you are able to see the look he was going for. A little rough around the edges but the effect is awesome none the less.
He was very happy with the final outcome. The design was inspired by an MC Escher drawing. The three dimensional look really sets this board apart from the others. All that detailed and monotonous work really did pay off.
For strength and durability he had to coat the entire board in fiberglass cloth. He was a little worried about this step but, as someone who’s very familiar with fiberglass projects, I can attest that while messy it is very easy to do. Allow plenty of time for the fiberglass resin to harden and spread the resin evenly over the cloth. Don’t worry about the excess on the sides, you will cut that off after. Be sure to wear a mask because and gloves these chemicals are incredibly potent. Everything that you do touch with resin will be garbage after so use cheap measuring cups and gloves.
With the bottom of the deck completed he started working on the top. He wanted a natural looking finish so he used one coat of red mahogany stain after a lot of sanding. He also drilled the holes for the longboard trucks that would be installed later.
He ended up using 3 coats of polyurethane with a light sanding between coats. Take your time on this process for a mirror finish.
This part can be tricky but he executed it perfectly if you ask me. He wanted to stick with the illusion theme on the top deck so he cut out a giant hypnosis spiral from a sheet of grip tape and made sure to position everything perfectly before he applied it. He ran a razor blade across the edges to cut off the excess grip tape.
It sure does look awesome with the wood grain behind it.
He purchased the trucks and wheels online which bolted directly through the holes he drilled earlier. Drill from the bottom side through to ensure that the bolts will line up perfectly.
Here it is in all of its glory. A one-off completely custom longboard that cost roughly $100 bucks and about 30 hours of work.
Here is one happy longboard owner. The coolest part of this story is that he built it himself and there isn’t another one like it. In a day where you can just pull out your phone and buy a generic board, have it shipped to your door the next day and ready to ride, I commend him for taking the time to hone his skills and build his very own.
I’m a total sucker for most things DIY, unless that means a new wine rack made out of a recycled pallet, but this one really stands out. I love longboarding and it is something that will fill your summer days and nights with a fun and healthy activity. He now has a sweet little mode of transportation that he can be proud of. There are a few steps in this post that were really beneficial to me, like the press he used to give the board a contour. Thanks for the tips and ride safe! I’m going to try and tackle this project myself thanks to your inspiration.