Jose Balderas

Longboard Design Sprint

The Commuter Carver

When I was younger, I owned a couple of skateboards. Recently, I began to miss that feeling of cruising on smooth roads. Thanks to some influence I decided it was time to get a longboard. After searching on Amazon and other sites for a while, I couldn't find one that I totally liked.  So after that disappointing search I thought to myself, "Why not just build one?" So I began by immersing my self in how-to articles and videos, for about a day, then I got started. I researched everything from deck styles, size and thickness, truck and wheels combinations, even what bearings would be best.

This is a great design sprint for those looking to keep busy and creative. There's a lot of freedom when it comes to designing a longboard


Shaping the Deck.

I stopped by my local Woodcraft store and picked up a  1/4" thick sheet of Baltic Birch wood. Longboards can be made from a wide variety of materials, but this one is great to start with. It is very strong and flexible, and it was able to support my weight. And it isn't too expensive, I bought this for about $20. 

Anyway, the purpose for choosing a thin board is so that you can glue the layers together, while bending them into the shape you'd like. You can definitely go with thinner sheets, but you might need more layers. Longboard decks range anywhere from 1/4" to 1" thick. So there is plenty of options on how you'd like yours to look. 

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I planned on making my deck 8.5"-9" wide, 34" long, and 3/4" thick. So I took my raw material and cut down the sheets into 36x9s . I wanted to be closer to the 8.5 inches than the 9 so I was ok with that. Normally you want to give yourself a bit of extra room when you cut, then you sand down to size.

Once all the dust settled and the deck shape. It was ready to be brought to life and give it some color.

Staining and Coating.

For this board I chose Honey by Minwax. The dark, rich color of this stain really brought out the beautiful grain of the wood.

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Mounting The Hardware.

I chose to go with Tiffany Paris V2 trucks with Orangatang 4President wheels. I found it easier to position the trucks, make the placement, then drill holes for the screws. Not shown here, but I installed the trucks with rubber deck risers to prevent wheel bite.

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Grip Tape and First Ride.

I loved the way the stain came out so much, I couldn't cover the top surface entirely with grip tape. Instead, I only stuck it on the ends where the riders feet would be.

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Now thats its all together its time to use it. This will make getting around the neighborhood a lot more fun. Also will be taking advantage of the California hills.