This project was actually the second longboard I ever built, my first being a fish-shaped board which was a great first step into the world of board making. After using my fish board for several months, I quickly learned its weaknesses and figured out what mistakes I needed to avoid in the making of this new board.

Fish Board
Here is the fish board posing in Piedmont Park

Firstly, the fish board was made of two layers of standard 1/4″ birch plywood that I got from Home Depot and laminated in a press using standard wood glue. As I used the board more and more, it became apparent that the plywood had two main problems: a lot of flex and sensitivity to moisture (though that is more a fault of the lack of sealant than the wood itself). Secondly, the maximum dimensions allowed by the plywood pieces I had purchased made the board a bit too small for what I felt would be most comfortable. Thus, the plans for my second board were set to create a new and improved set of wheels.

To fix the flex without having to make the board too thick, I took the advice of my friend and roommate Charlie (featured in my post here) and instead bought several large pieces of 1/8″ maple veneer. That way I was able to create my own four-layered cross grain lamination out of a strong, sturdy wood as well as make the board longer than before. This ended up being much stronger than the standard plywood board without being any thicker.

Before I cut the board out, I first laser engraved it (well the top of it, at least). This allowed me to trace my cut lines with the laser and have my cutting path drawn for me far more precisely than if I had drawn it by hand. I sketched up the design using a 2-D CAD program.

Board Design

For the pattern that filled the top surface of the board, I chose to circularly pattern a large circle around a point inside the circle one inch in from its edge, creating a design from the intersections of the lines. These lines were cut with the laser out of focus to cover a larger area, so the lines also serve as a grip for one’s shoes on the board. For the board shape itself, I went for an old school surfboard style. I placed the outline at the center of the circular pattern and trimmed off everything outside the outline to created the filled shape.

Next, that pattern was laser-cut onto the laminated wood, which was trimmed to the maximum dimension of the laser cutter’s area. The outline was then cut on a bandsaw and shaped into a smooth curve on a belt sander. I then set the board back into the engraver upside down to cut the crop circle pattern on the bottom.

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Lastly, I traced the locations of the holes by placing the trucks down the center line. After drilling and countersinking each hole, the deck was finished! I acquired some used trucks and wheels from Charlie which were larger than the trucks used on my previous board, which was better for the longer deck. Before attaching them I coated the whole board in several coats of matte finish sealant to prevent moisture from degrading the wood. Once the trucks were on I had a new longboard! I am happy to say that it was a big improvement from my first board, and I still use it to this day.

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