Make a young'un happy or break out your own inner teenager and design and make a skateboard, writes Justin Newcombe.
When we had kids, I made a pledge to keep surfing at least once a week. As it turned out I surfed four times in eight years. Not that I minded, I mostly have as good a time just being a dad. I did however find myself skateboarding to the dairy or to school to pick up the kids, on a cheap board I bought years ago.
Now my kids are interested in skating, it's time for an upgrade. I had definite ideas about the qualities I wanted in my new board and I made a makeshift press so I could laminate the thin sheets of ply into the board shape I wanted.
Truck size, wheel hardness and bearings are important to getting the performance and feel required. I needed help with this and phoned a few old surfing buddies (long time no sea). I was given Simon at Hyper as a contact.
I told him how I wanted to skate and he basically set me up. He also showed me the long boards he had in stock and after this conversation I changed my design from a pin-tail to the more unusual dervish style (see hyper.co.nz).
Part of the skateboard tradition is the back design. Most of these have a street feel but that's not exactly me anymore so I used a piece of material from my wife's old dressing gown (which was a gift from me). The pattern is strong without being edgy and by using these scraps of sentiment, my new board has a personal beauty which makes it all the more enjoyable to ride.
Make a template using MDF or cardboard. Make one side only. The template is flipped over to create a perfectly balanced shape.
Work out your desired shape and on a work-bench make a mould into which you can press the thin ply. Draw a centre line to match the ply to.
Cut four pieces of 3mm ply into rectangles. Allow 100mm of excess outside the board shape. Draw a centre line on each piece to match the line in the press.
Apply a glue or epoxy layer over two sheets.
Press them into the mould using clamps and heavy timber. I used glue on my first layer but epoxy and fibreglass cloth on the rest. This gave my board a lot more strength. Let this layer dry, then repeat (if you do all the layers together you get "spring back" and the board won't be true to the mould).
Use your template to draw your board shape.
Cut out with a jigsaw, leaving 10mm excess, then finish with a sander.
Use a scribe and a centre line to work out the exact position of the trucks. These must be dead straight.
On the back of the board laminate your wife's dressing gown or paint or draw a design. Apply epoxy over the top. Finish the edges with a sander.
Drill, assemble and fix wheels.
Use tread tape to give the deck good grip. I'm doing a pattern in glue and covering it with sand. A little trick I learned at kindy.
DIY workshops at your local Bunnings Warehouse this weekend
Saturday: 10am: Children's Day colouring competition; 11am: How to build a picket or panel fence; 1pm: How to revitalise your lawn.
Sunday: 10am: Children's Day colouring competition; 11am: How to child-proof your house; 1pm: How to build a swing set.