First of all let me introduce this weblog series by saying that I have got shed loads of Travel Board 15mm decks in Russian birch ply ready for sale at £22.50 inc carriage. This material will take the hammering of many years longboarding before it gives up. I’ve been shaping, finishing and building longboard skates since 1995, pretty near 20 years now, which is pretty crazy. I keep it going ‘cos I just love ridin and surfin the tarmac and making boards to sell on great hardware, the like of which you will not find in your local skateboard store. Pretty cheesy maybe but the ride and the tarmac glide will never equal the real thing on water, but I reckon most guys an gals agree its the next best thing.
So while I am working up some ideas for new models this year it’s also come time to share some experience where it might help you get the result of finishing a deck that’s as good as any in the shops and it’s all your own artwork and finishing. Signature boards are cool. This first lesson I start with basic requirements of tools, sanders, lacquers etc. The Longboarders workshop.
What you will need in the way of Tools and Finishers etc.
1. A good but reasonably basic jigsaw.
2. A surform.
3. Standard Stanley Knive and blades.
4. Aluminium paper. Sheets 120 coarse and 180 fine.
5. Good quality masking tape in widths from 1″ to 3″. I find the stuff in B&Q is good but VC in my local DIY store has always carried the best really reliable non crinkle tape.
6. Colour stains. I have used Hannant’s woodstains in recent years and they are really good.
7. Acrylic paints in tubes.
8. Blackfriars Quick Drying Exterior Woodstain Clear W25
9. A wood burning engraver tool.
10. Basic socket set, set of allen keys and phillips screwdriver.
11. A metal straight edge or rule.
12. Pencils and plenty of sketching paper.
Russian or Finnish Birch Ply comes in 8×4 ft and 10×5 ft sheets and in 12mm ,15mm, 18mm and thicker if you really want a tandem or real big boys beast of a board. Severn Ply is sold by Severn Plywoods Address: 14 Gloucester Rd, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire GL10 2PB Phone:01453 82688. Its not cheap by any standards and comes in different grades depending mainly on the number of ‘plums’ (plug veneers for knots).
Sapele is a great wood but lacks flex and can break as with most hardwoods so this material is for more advanced board building. Ash, Willow, Chestnut, Oak, Sycamore and Pines and Redwoods are all great woods to source for special one offs.
These workshops are however about working with Birch ply as a standard material which has flex, great strength and excellent memory, ie., it returns well to the flat and in my experience only takes on a slight barely noticeable set with riding.
Next Lesson – Getting Started some dos and dont’s.