Longboarding has gained popularity as an exciting and versatile form of transportation and recreation. While there are plenty of options available in the market, building your own longboard can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating your very own longboard, tailored to your preferences and riding style. So, grab your tools and let’s dive into the world of longboard crafting.
How Hard is This project?
The difficulty level of the project “how to make a longboard” can vary depending on your skills, experience, and the specific design and materials you choose. Making a longboard generally requires basic woodworking skills and access to tools and materials.
What Materials Do I Need to Make a Longboard?
The materials for this build are simple and easy to come by. For the wooden deck, we used some offcuts we had lying around the shop. You should be able to easily substitute the wood we used with whatever you have on hand.
Just keep in mind that softwoods (such as pine or cedar) can and will break quickly. For this style of construction, we recommend hardwood (e.g., oak, walnut, maple).
We use a lot of tools during the build because we have access to them. Most of the tools may be swapped out for something you already own, and we strive to give alternative tool possibilities in each stage.
To make a longboard, you will need the following materials:
- Deck: The main body of the longboard can be made from various materials such as wood, bamboo, or composite materials like fiberglass or carbon fiber.
- Grip Tape: This is a rough, sandpaper-like material that is applied to the top of the deck to provide traction for your feet.
- Trucks: These are metal T-shaped components that are mounted to the underside of the deck. They hold the wheels and allow the longboard to turn.
- Wheels: Longboard wheels come in different sizes, durometers (hardness), and shapes depending on your riding style and preferences.
- Bearings: Bearings are small metal or ceramic components that fit inside the wheels and allow them to spin smoothly.
- Hardware: This includes screws, nuts, and washers used to attach the trucks to the deck.
- Tools: You will need various tools to build a longboard, including a saw or jigsaw for cutting the deck, a drill for making holes, screwdrivers, wrenches, and sandpaper for finishing.
- Optional Materials: Depending on your desired design, you may also need additional materials such as adhesive decals, paint, clear coat for protection, or veneer for adding aesthetics.
The Tools You’ll Need For This Project
To construct a longboard, you will need various tools to facilitate the process. These tools help with shaping the deck, attaching components, and ensuring the overall quality of the build. Here are the essential tools needed for longboard construction:
Saw or Jigsaw:
Used to cut the longboard deck from the chosen material, whether it’s wood, bamboo, or composite.
Necessary for making holes in the deck to attach trucks, grip tape, and other components. A power drill with various drill bit sizes is recommended.
You will need both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers to tighten and adjust screws throughout the construction process.
Depending on the type of trucks and hardware you use, you may need adjustable wrenches or specific wrench sizes to secure the nuts and bolts.
Essential for smoothing the edges and surfaces of the longboard deck, creating a comfortable finish.
Helpful for securing components in place during assembly and allowing adhesives or paints to dry properly.
File or Rasp:
Used to refine and shape the edges and contours of the longboard deck, ensuring a clean and smooth finish.
Tape Measure or Ruler:
Necessary for measuring and marking dimensions accurately during the shaping and assembly stages.
It’s crucial to prioritize safety. Wear protective equipment such as safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask to safeguard against potential hazards.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Longboard at Home
Here is a step-by-step guide to making a longboard at home:
Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools
- Collect all the necessary materials mentioned earlier, including the deck, grip tape, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware, and tools like a saw, drill, screwdrivers, wrenches, and sandpaper.
Step 2: Design and Shape the Deck
- Decide on the shape and dimensions of your longboard deck. Mark the outline on the raw deck material and use a saw or jigsaw to cut it to the desired shape.
Step 3: Sand and Smooth the Deck
- Use sandpaper to smooth the edges and surface of the deck. Remove any rough spots and ensure the deck is ready for finishing.
Step 4: Apply Grip Tape
- Clean the top surface of the deck and carefully apply the grip tape. Start from one end, pressing it firmly and gradually smoothing it out to avoid air bubbles or wrinkles.
Step 5: Position and Attach Trucks
- Determine the desired wheelbase and positioning of the trucks on the underside of the deck. Mark the hole locations, drill pilot holes, and attach the trucks securely using the appropriate hardware.
Step 6: Install Bearings and Wheels
- Insert the bearings into the wheels. Align the wheels with the trucks and push them onto the bearings until they sit snugly. Ensure the wheels spin freely.
Step 7: Check and Adjust Hardware
- Double-check all the hardware, including screws, nuts, and washers. Tighten them securely but avoid over-tightening, allowing the trucks to pivot and turn smoothly.
Step 8: Finishing Touches
- Inspect the entire longboard for any rough edges, sharp corners, or imperfections. Sand or file them down to ensure a safe and comfortable riding experience.
Step 9: Test and Customize
- Take your newly built longboard for a test ride in a safe environment. Adjust the trucks, wheels, and other components to find the desired riding feel. Customize the longboard further with paint, decals, or other personal touches if desired.
Remember to follow safety guidelines while working with tools and materials, and consult additional resources such as detailed tutorials or experienced longboard builders for more specific instructions based on the type of longboard you wish to create.
How Long Does it Take to Make a Longboard?
The time it takes to make a longboard can vary depending on several factors, including your experience, the complexity of the design, the availability of materials, and the tools at your disposal. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few hours to several days to complete the process. Here are some factors that can influence the time required:
Skill and Experience:
If you are new to longboard building, it may take more time to familiarize yourself with the process and techniques. With experience, you’ll likely become faster and more efficient.
Simple longboard designs with basic shapes and minimal customization can be completed relatively quickly. However, if you opt for more intricate designs, complex curves, or additional features, it may take longer to shape and assemble the components.
Drying and Curing Time:
If you use materials like adhesives, paint, or clear coat, you’ll need to account for the drying and curing time as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This can add extra time to the overall project duration.
Access to Tools and Workspace:
Having access to the necessary tools and a dedicated workspace can significantly impact the time it takes to build a longboard. If you have all the tools readily available and a suitable area to work in, it will streamline the process.
On average, considering a moderate level of complexity and assuming you have the necessary tools and materials at hand, it can take approximately 8 to 15 hours spread across a few days to complete a longboard.
However, it’s important to remember that this is just an estimate, and individual circumstances can vary. Plan your time accordingly, allowing for any learning curves, unexpected challenges, and personal preferences for attention to detail.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Longboard?
When making a longboard, it’s helpful to be aware of common mistakes to avoid. By keeping these in mind, you can improve the quality of your build and ensure a better overall experience. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:
Failing to plan the design, dimensions, and components of your longboard can lead to unexpected issues later on. Take the time to research and plan your build thoroughly before starting.
Poor Material Selection:
Choosing low-quality or unsuitable materials can result in a longboard that lacks durability, stability, or desired performance. Select materials that are appropriate for your riding style and desired outcomes.
Improper Deck Shaping:
Inaccurate or uneven deck shaping can affect the overall stability and performance of your longboard. Take care to ensure precise cutting and shaping of the deck, especially when creating concave or camber profiles.
Inadequate Surface Preparation:
Neglecting proper sanding and smoothing of the deck before applying grip tape can result in an uneven or uncomfortable riding surface. Take the time to prepare the deck properly to ensure a better grip and overall finish.
Incorrect Truck Installation:
Improper installation of trucks, such as using the wrong hardware or unevenly tightening the mounting screws, can affect the ride quality and maneuverability of the longboard. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure proper alignment and secure attachment.
Neglecting Bearing Maintenance:
Failing to clean, lubricate, or replace worn-out bearings can result in reduced performance and increased friction, leading to a less smooth and efficient ride. Regularly maintain and replace bearings as needed.
Lack of Safety Precautions:
Working with tools and materials without taking proper safety precautions can lead to accidents or injuries. Always wear protective gear, work in a well-ventilated area, and follow safety guidelines for tool usage.
Rushing the Process:
Trying to complete the build too quickly or skipping essential steps can compromise the quality and longevity of your longboard. Take your time, follow instructions carefully, and pay attention to detail throughout the entire process.
By being aware of these common mistakes and taking the necessary precautions, you can avoid potential issues and create a high-quality longboard that meets your expectations in terms of performance, durability, and safety.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How long does it take to make a longboard?
The time required to make a longboard depends on various factors such as your experience, complexity of the design, and the availability of tools. On average, it can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to complete a longboard project.
Can I make a longboard without any prior experience?
Absolutely! Building a longboard doesn’t require advanced skills or experience. With some basic woodworking knowledge and the right tools, anyone can successfully create their own longboard.
What tools do I need to make a longboard?
Some essential tools for making a longboard include a jigsaw or bandsaw, sandpaper of various grits, a drill, screwdriver, and a grip tape applicator. Additionally, having clamps, a router, and a paintbrush can be helpful for certain customization techniques.
Can I recycle old skateboard components for my longboard?
While some skateboard components can be repurposed for a longboard, it’s important to ensure they are suitable for the intended riding style and compatible with the longboard deck. Pay attention to the width and shape of the trucks, as well as the diameter and durometer of the wheels.
Is it cheaper to make a longboard or buy one?
The cost of making a longboard can vary depending on the materials and customization options you choose. In some cases, building your own longboard can be more cost-effective, especially if you already have access to woodworking tools. However, it’s essential to consider the quality and expertise required for a professionally manufactured longboard.
Can I repair or replace components on my longboard?
Yes, you can repair or replace various components on your longboard. If a part becomes damaged or worn out, you can replace it with a new one or repair it using suitable techniques. It’s important to regularly inspect your longboard for any signs of wear and tear to ensure your safety while riding.
Building your own longboard is a fantastic way to unleash your creativity, personalize your riding experience, and develop new skills. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a unique longboard that reflects your style and preferences. Remember to prioritize safety, enjoy the process, and have fun cruising on your custom-made longboard.