I’m a little late getting this post put together. My nephew and I completed his longboard on Thanksgiving day. We, for the second year, hosted the big dinner at our house.
As you can imagine, our house was in utter chaos in the days leading up to and after the holiday. At any rate, here is the rest of the longboard story.
The formed lamination came out of the clamps and held almost all of the intended shape.
We established the final width and I ran the blank through my old portable table saw. This operation sped things up, but safety was a little sketchy due to the shape of the blank. My nephew then determined the length that he wanted and adjusted it fore and aft to include the formed transitions to his liking. Then he used a handsaw to trim away the waste.
He wanted a simple shape to the board and opted to simply radius the corners. The nose of the board received a single sweeping arc. To establish that arc I took up a thin batten and bent it until my nephew saw the shape that he liked. Then he simply traced the arc along the batten. The rear corners of the board received smaller radii. Those were established with a little trial and error using several round templates found in the shop. A roll of tape, a round plastic container and a few different sized cans. The winner was an empty soup can.
The bulk of the waste he removed with my turning saw. Then I showed him how to refine the shape with a little chisel and file work. The long edges of the sides were cleaned up with a few swipes of a hand plane. The last bit of shaping he wanted to do was to bullnose the entire perimeter.
Nephew: “My buddy uses an electric router to round over the edges. Do you have a router?”
Nephew: “Oh, well square edges will be OK.”
Nephew: “Then how are we going to do it?”
Me: “With this and this.”
So I clamped the board in the vise and demonstrated how to round an edge with a plane and spokeshave. Then I turned him loose. He got the hang of it pretty quickly. All I had to do was supervise and drink coffee. He refined the rounding with a little sandpaper.
At this point the wheel assemblies were removed from his old board and we laid out their locations on the newly minted board. Then holes were drilled and countersunk. Now all it needed was a finish.
We chose a spray on polyurethane. I looped a wire through one of the wheel assembly mounting holes and hung the board from the garage door track. He managed to get two coats on before he was out of time for the day. I followed up with two more additional coats during the evening and it was left to dry for a couple of days.
The nephew came over on Thanksgiving day and went straight to work installing grip tape to the top surface. He worked out his own pattern, but ran out of tape before he was able to finish. So we installed the wheels and he headed out to the street to give it a try. He was gone for quite a while and I began to think something was wrong, but back he came grinning from ear to ear. He says that it rides great. I’ll take his word for it. I’m smart enough to know that this old hillbilly has no business stepping on that contraption.
I think he did a great job! I also think he enjoyed the process and learned a little something. Something I know for sure is that I learned something new. A formed plywood lamination is something that I had never considered trying. There are already a few projects swirling around in my head. The most difficult part of this build for me was to keep my hands off of it. It was a real effort to limit myself to demonstrating and correcting if necessary.
He took his newly crafted longboard back to college with him. The old board is still in my garage and he hasn’t called asking me to send it to him. I guess that means everything is good with the new one.
Part 1 Greg Merritt