This post is about how I was given the chance to spend a weekend with some wood working tools and design custom skateboards with my friends. I set out to design the ideal skateboard for me based on some design criteria:
It would need to be small and lightweight making it very portable for a college campus
It’s size and weight could not compromise the board’s strength- it has a withstand jumps and sudden impacts like flying off sidewalks, while being able to flex in order to absorb vibrations yet not snap.
The board would need to have the physical lines and contours I learned to look for in a deck after 8 years of skateboarding.
For the general shape, I decided upon a length of 23.5″ and a 7.5″ width. The board would have a 1/8″ concave and 3/8″ rocker, these curves would work to hug my foot and lock it in firmly when I push, and make the board plenty stronger.
In order to have a board that is both lightweight and strong, I selected 3mm cross-ply sheets of baltic birch plywood and I would fuse 3 sheets of this wood together with Tightbond 3 Ultimate Wood Glue.
To achieve the shape I had set out for, I cut three identical lateral profiles of my board out on a bandsaw, 6 pieces in total, to sandwich the wood in-between two sides of a mold. I screwed them all to a press, and shimmed the left and right bottom pieces of the mold up 1/8″ and shaved an 1/8″ off the tops of the opposite side- this gave me the concave I sought out for. The press was assembled with large bolts I could tighten down and apply pressure with in order to form the plywood. The results speak for themselves: