How to Make a Skateboard

There’s nothing quite like cruising around town on your own board!

Handmade Cruiser Board made from reclaimed oak barn wood

Handmade Cruiser Board made from reclaimed oak barn wood

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

By:

Tools and Materials

  • 1/2” plywood
  • 3/4” hardwood
  • skateboard hardware - trucks, wheels, grip tape, bearings, mounting bolts
  • Danish oil
  • epoxy (optional)
  • jigsaw or band saw
  • straight edge
  • drill with drill bits (13/64)
  • router with roundover bit and flush trim or template bit (with bearing)
  • rasp
  • sandpaper

Before you begin, you’ll need to secure some materials and decide what size to make your board. Most of the boards that come out of my shop are around 8” wide and range from 26" - 48”. The shorter boards are great for cruising around city streets. Personally, I like a board around 36” long. Following these steps, you can make on 52” long and 10” wide if that suits your fancy. The cost can vary greatly depending on the materials and hardware you choose, but expect to spend in the neighborhood of $75 and $100. I almost exclusively use Paris Trucks and Bones Red Berings.

Make a Template

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Getting the template right is key. Cut the plywood a little larger than the final skateboard. Draw a line down the middle of the plywood - this line represents the middle of the skateboard. Then draw or transfer your shape to the plywood. If it helps you visualize the final piece, draw both halves. Otherwise, one side is all you really need. Mark the place where the trucks will go.

Use a jigsaw (or a bandsaw if you have it) to cut away the waste. The closer to the line you can get, the less work you’ll have to do by hand. Don’t worry if you go over. The key is to get as clean a cut as you can.

The shading on the left side represents what I will cut away.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Using a rasp, file, and sandpaper work the edge until you have clean curves and a smooth edge. You’ll really get a feeling for how the board will look in the end. Run your fingers along the edge to find highs and lows that your eyes can’t see.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Drill the holes for the trucks using a 13/64 bit. I’ve made myself a little jig to help with the process (using one of the trucks and a square scrap of plywood).

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Building the Skateboard

 Files and sandpaper aid in refining the shape of the skateboard.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

 Files and sandpaper aid in refining the shape of the skateboard.

Now that the template is ready, it is time to make the skateboard itself.

Using a jig makes positioing and drilling the truck holes a cinch.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Using a jig makes positioing and drilling the truck holes a cinch.

Do whatever prep you need to do on your hardwood. If it needs to be cut to length or made square, now is the time for that.

By loosley tracing the template on your final material, you can get a glimpse of what your cruiser is going to look like!

 

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

By loosley tracing the template on your final material, you can get a glimpse of what your cruiser is going to look like!

 

Place the template on top of the hardwood and drill out the holes for the trucks. These holes will be used to align the template. Using  a countersink bit, create enough of a hole for the truck bolts to sit flush with the top of the skateboard.

Using the truck holes for alignment gives you a solid reference point for creating a cutline on the hardwood.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Using the truck holes for alignment gives you a solid reference point for creating a cutline on the hardwood.

Using pins in couple of the truck holes, align the template and the hardwood. Trace along the template to mark one edge of the skateboard. Flip the template over, trace the shape again. 

Rough-cut out the board getting as close to the line as you can without going over.

Again, using pins in couple of the truck holes, align the template and the hardwood. Tip: use double-sided tape for a more solid connection between the template and the hardwood.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Using a router with a template or flush trim bit, follow the template’s edge. Be cautious, you will be going against the grain of the hardwood so cracking the wood is a possibility. You might find it helpful to position the template on the hardwood in such a way that you’re constantly going with the grain - effectively working 1/4 of the shape at a time. 

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Swap router bits for a 1/4” or 3/8” roundover and create a nice, clean edge on the skateboard.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

If you have any knots in the wood, you might want to stabilize them with some epoxy. Once the epoxy is cured, sand it down flat.

Give the whole thing a good sanding, down to 220 grit. Remove the dust with a shop vac or a tac cloth.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

At this point, you’re almost there. A few coats of Danish oil followed by a couple coats of polyurethane and the skateboard will be protected from the elements.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

On all of the to date, you’ll find two strips of grip tape. I like to show off the wood and this helps me do that. Feel free to use a full-width piece of orange grip if it makes you happy! Don’t forget to poke holes in the grip where the truck holes are.

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

Mount your trucks and slide on the wheels, it’s ready to ride! 

Handmade Cruiser Board made from reclaimed oak barn wood

Handmade Cruiser Board made from reclaimed oak barn wood

Photo by: Photo by Dan Lipe

Photo by Dan Lipe

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