Questions about making a skateboard deck out of hardwoods. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 09-11-2015, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Questions about making a skateboard deck out of hardwoods.

Hi,

I think for my next dumb project I want to try and do a really nice skateboard deck out of hardwood. Something with some inlay and maybe a vintage surf feel. I'm thinking maybe a longboard, but that'll depend on a couple of the questions i'm about to ask.


1) I'm thinking the length of the deck would come in somewhere around 38-40" long. I'd prefer to keep the board thin, but i also don't want it to have a lot of flex and end up cracking or something like that. Any suggestion on 4/4 vs 5/4?

2) Given the fact i'm 200lbs, i'm guessing the board is going to flex a little bit no matter what. If I end up doing something like Oak/Walnut/Oak do I need to be worried about the different hardness or that the different types of wood might give differently? That wood combo is just off the top of my head, i really have no idea how i'm going to lay it up yet. We'll see what the hardwood store has in the shorts bin!
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post #2 of 23 Old 09-11-2015, 10:59 AM
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I would use hard maple or hickory. Either of those wood are about as strong as you can get without buying some exotic wood that is $$$$.
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post #3 of 23 Old 09-11-2015, 12:48 PM
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Ditto on the hard maple, as that is the most common for skateboards anyways.
You can keep your thickness down if you look into the manufacturers method of cross veneering.
Most decks are 7 ply laminations running in alternate directions.
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post #4 of 23 Old 09-12-2015, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I actually want to just do it out of board lumber, not really into laminating, but I totally know what you're saying.

I have some white oak I was thinking of using for the majority of the deck, and maybe some cherry for accent. White oak is pretty hard but we'll see. Making a run to the hardwood store this weekend, we'll see what they have in the way of maple.
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post #5 of 23 Old 09-12-2015, 01:48 AM
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My son and I built these longboards out of white oak and walnut. Name:  ImageUploadedByWood Working Talk1442036722.055724.jpg
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Size:  92.9 KBName:  ImageUploadedByWood Working Talk1442036745.026735.jpg
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They're 5/8ths thick. My kids like them.
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post #6 of 23 Old 09-14-2015, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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My son and I built these longboards out of white oak and walnut. They're 5/8ths thick. My kids like them.
Those are gorgeous, is that solid lumber or did you laminate them?
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post #7 of 23 Old 09-14-2015, 08:28 PM
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Those are gorgeous, is that solid lumber or did you laminate them?

Thank you
They are solid wood. But some precautions were taken to add strength. We ripped the boards to about 1 1/4" then glued them back to prevent splitting. Also if you look closely you'll see that we cut a groove then glued a piece of contrasting cross grain wood to keep that short area of end grain from breaking. Questions about making a skateboard deck out of hardwoods.-imageuploadedbywood-working-talk1442276709.007460.jpg

Also instead of unsightly grip tape we used lucid grip. It's a clear spay on system Name:  ImageUploadedByWood Working Talk1442276916.331092.jpg
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post #8 of 23 Old 09-15-2015, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you
They are solid wood. But some precautions were taken to add strength. We ripped the boards to about 1 1/4" then glued them back to prevent splitting. Also if you look closely you'll see that we cut a groove then glued a piece of contrasting cross grain wood to keep that short area of end grain from breaking. Attachment 184305

Also instead of unsightly grip tape we used lucid grip. It's a clear spay on system Attachment 184313
All great ideas, thank you very much for sharing. It looks like you have a little rocker in there, did you press the deck into a form after you glued it up?


Or maybe that's just an optical illusion lol?
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post #9 of 23 Old 09-15-2015, 07:56 PM
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We did not press the deck. What We did was before glueing up the "wings" We added a very slight bevel to each of the edges. Then after gluing it We spent a lot of time sanding it into a concave effect. It's slight but noticeable. Then lengthwise We steam bent it to give it a slight arc. We looked at many decks and tried to mimics them using techniques we're familiar with.
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post #10 of 23 Old 09-16-2015, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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We did not press the deck. What We did was before glueing up the "wings" We added a very slight bevel to each of the edges. Then after gluing it We spent a lot of time sanding it into a concave effect. It's slight but noticeable. Then lengthwise We steam bent it to give it a slight arc. We looked at many decks and tried to mimics them using techniques we're familiar with.
Ok, the steam bending is what gave it that "rocker" (surfboard term). Very cool, i think most laminated decks get that through pressing, it's cool that you guys went so far as to steam and bend it.

I feel alot better about the thickness though after having seen yours. And thanks for the tip on ripping / glueing everything back up to prevent splitting, I wouldn't have thought of that otherwise.
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post #11 of 23 Old 09-16-2015, 05:54 PM
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Ok, the steam bending is what gave it that "rocker" (surfboard term). Very cool, i think most laminated decks get that through pressing, it's cool that you guys went so far as to steam and bend it.



I feel alot better about the thickness though after having seen yours. And thanks for the tip on ripping / glueing everything back up to prevent splitting, I wouldn't have thought of that otherwise.

Thank you for having interest in the subtleties of what I love to do. You have a good eye and ask good questions. It's my pleasure.
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post #12 of 23 Old 09-25-2015, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update, ripped up my maple, walnut, and cherry for the board last night. Everything is 4/4 except for the walnut (5/5) but that's just because it's what I had lying around. After glue up everything will be planed down, probably close to 5/8"

A friend of mine who is good with Photo Shop made me a cutting pattern for the deck. I took an actual 9'6" longboard surfboard and had him turn in into just an outline and size it down to 40"L x 9.5"w.

Will probably get this glue up tonight. The plan is to do a vintage surf style tail block for this also, but that'll be later in the process.

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post #13 of 23 Old 09-25-2015, 01:50 PM
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Just a tip. If you plane all the boards to the same thickness before the glue up it will be MUCH easier. Don't plane to your final thickness just as thin as the thinnest board.
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post #14 of 23 Old 09-28-2015, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Just a tip. If you plane all the boards to the same thickness before the glue up it will be MUCH easier. Don't plane to your final thickness just as thin as the thinnest board.
Really wish I would have seen this about 6hrs earlier than I did lol.

Anyway, got everything glued up, and the next day went out and ran the whole thing through the planer to bring it down to a rough / uniform thickness... it went ok but i noticed my maple and walnut ended up with some gouges in it, sort of like pock marks. Not sure it had anything to do with the planer, could well have been just the lumbe. I guess that is why you plane everything to uniform before you glue it up. Oh well though, nothing so bad that I can press on.

I'll post more updates as soon as I find time to do more work on it.
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post #15 of 23 Old 09-28-2015, 09:09 PM
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Really wish I would have seen this about 6hrs earlier than I did lol.

Anyway, got everything glued up, and the next day went out and ran the whole thing through the planer to bring it down to a rough / uniform thickness... it went ok but i noticed my maple and walnut ended up with some gouges in it, sort of like pock marks.


Not sure it had anything to do with the planer, could well have been just the lumbe. I guess that is why you plane everything to uniform before you glue it up. Oh well though, nothing so bad that I can press on.

I'll post more updates as soon as I find time to do more work on it.
Because you planed those pieces in the wrong direction... Cherry will do that as well depending on the grain and how 'figured' it is.

It also has to do with the cutting angle on your planer and the particular wood you fed through it. (not all wood is going to give the same results at the same cutting angle)

If you have straight blades - You most likely can 'tweak' those angles to get closer to where you want to be for the woods you are working with currently and if you get it right - 'direction' becomes less critical.

The greater the angle of bevel ground on the face of the knife, the more the cutting angle of the knife is reduced.




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post #16 of 23 Old 09-29-2015, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Because you planed those pieces in the wrong direction... Cherry will do that as well depending on the grain and how 'figured' it is.

It also has to do with the cutting angle on your planer and the particular wood you fed through it. (not all wood is going to give the same results at the same cutting angle)

If you have straight blades - You most likely can 'tweak' those angles to get closer to where you want to be for the woods you are working with currently and if you get it right - 'direction' becomes less critical.

The greater the angle of bevel ground on the face of the knife, the more the cutting angle of the knife is reduced.
Thank you for the info. Most of my projects so far have been out of Poplar and Red Oak, I guess those are more forgiving through the planer, never had any issues with either of those.

I hear what you're saying about finding the angle, the only bummer is that my piece is about 11" wide and I have 12" Delta planer, so there's really no getting any angle on it. I need to take another 16th off or so, hopefully i can get through it without too much chip out. I think i'll be able to sand out most of what happened already, but it's borderline.
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post #17 of 23 Old 10-21-2015, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Update on the project... just need to figure out a finish and add some grip.

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post #18 of 23 Old 10-21-2015, 03:53 PM
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Wow!!!
Looks great. A finish is really going to make it all stand out.
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post #19 of 23 Old 10-21-2015, 04:08 PM
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Also. Love the look of the tail piece.

I responded to your P M. But not sure if it went through because this app is not showing any sign of my response. Let me know if you didn't get it.
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post #20 of 23 Old 10-21-2015, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Also. Love the look of the tail piece.

I responded to your P M. But not sure if it went through because this app is not showing any sign of my response. Let me know if you didn't get it.
Got it and responded, thank you!

Yea it's about as basic of a project as you can do, but the tail-block makes it a little more special i think. I'm a surfer also so it really gives it's a vintage longboard surf look also.
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