Introduction: How to Make a Longboard (Revised and Updated)

Picture of How to Make a Longboard (Revised and Updated)

This instructable is going to be a basic guide on how to make a longboard.
Since i can not  possibly cover everything, and also since a lot of the learning comes with experience, you will need to do some research and experimenting on your own. Building a longboard is not a simple task and it requires patience, hard work, and attention to detail.
Hopefully i can share with you what i know, and what has worked well for me, so that you too can start making boards for yourself, and maybe even friends. 

If you are really new to this, you might not even know what longboarding is. If you have no idea what longboarding is, then i would refer to this instructable first: https://www.instructables.com/id/Longboarding-what-is-it/

Ok you want to build a longboard!
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Longboard building is not cheap, but if you do put time, care, and effort into your boards they will last you a long time. Your first few boards will probably break as mine did, but once you get it down, you will have lots of boards to ride, and possibly sell. I would recommend starting out with a simple design and then move onto more complicated designs once you have board making down.

Please note: The instructions and techniques come from all different sites and i am just putting it all together into an instructable. I am not stealing the information, i am using what i know wand what knowledge others have shared with me.

Here is a good website to help you with building if you get stuck.
Silverfishlongboarding

Finally: *I am not responsible for any injuries, build boards and skate them at your own risk. Please always wear the proper safety gear when skating*

Step 1: Constructing the Press

Picture of Constructing the Press

Ok so before you can even make your longboard you are going to need to build a press. The press is what presses your wood sheets together, into a certain shape, to make a solid board. There are a few different types of presses, but i have narrowed it down to the ones that are the most effective.

The bolt press: (Cost $20 or more)
Bolt Press - This press uses bolts that you tighten down to put pressure on the board. It incorporates wooden ribs to make the shape of your board. This press takes a bit of time to build, but it is probably the cheapest and simplest. You will have to spend a bit of money to purchase the wood to build the press as well.

Vacuum bagging: (Cost $50 or more)
Air Press - This press you can buy online from Roarockit. You could also make your own if you know what you are doing, but i am unsure on how to go about making one. With this method you put your wood sheets in a vacuum bag that has a foam mold in it. When you suck all the air out, the wood forms to your foam mold. You can get a press from: http://www.roarockit.com/index.php

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So for this instructable i am just going to show how to make the bolt press and not the vacuum bag. I would show you how to do both, but i no longer have my vacuum bag and if you are using the Roarockit vacuum press, they have instructions on how to use it when you buy the kit. 

There are two different types of bolt presses. There is the basic plank press and then a ribbed press. The plank press is less complicated and simpler, and the ribbed press is more complicated and effective
So here is how to construct your bolt press(es):

Materials:
- Some 2x4s 
- Bottom sheet of plywood (preferably 1/2inch to 1inch thick)
- 6 to 8 identical bolts - with nuts and washers (you DO NOT want the locking nuts)
- Screws to hold your press together
- Clamps

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Assembly for press 1:
First figure out how long you want your press to be. I chose to have mine 4 feel long. (because i usually do not make boards longer than that)
Cut a single 2x4 to your press length (in my case 4 feet). Then cut 3 or 4 one foot sections of 2x4s. Assemble the one foot sections an equal distance away from each other perpendicular to the longer 2x4. Make sure the smaller one foot sections are on top of your longer 2x4. Screw it all together. See picture one for help.

Now to make the base.
Take your plywood sheet and cut it to be as long as your press (in my case 4 feet), and then cut it 1 1/2 feet wide. Next take two 2x4s and cut them to your press length (in my case 4 feet). Take those two 2x4s you just cut and screw them down onto your plywood base. Make sure you line these up so that there is less than 11 inches, but at least 10 inches between the two 2x4s. You want just enough room so that your baltic birch can sit comfortably with one inch of hang over on each of the 2x4s. Don't give it too much hang over, or you will block the bolts. See picture one and two for help.

Now line up your top and bottom sections that you have finished assembling. One they are lined up drill holes all the way through. Test to see if your bots all fit and the top and bottom line up properly. See picture 5 for help.

What this press is going to allow you to do, is have concave.
You will want your board to have a bit of concave. Concave is the curve in a board that locks your feet in when your riding. Too much concave an your board will be very uncomfortable. But concave is necessary to hold your board together. Because when your pressing wood, you need to have some kind of shape to it, or else it will be really flimsy and break. Also make sure you get the right length bolts, that fit all the way to the top, so you can screw them down.

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Assembly for press 2 (more recommended): 
This is basically the same except you use ribs to press the board instead of the pressure being on the single beam. This makes for a stronger more solid pressing. FINISH THIS SECTION BLAHHHH

Step 2: Choosing Your Wood

Picture of Choosing Your Wood

Now you are going to need to find some wood to make into a longboard!
First off I would like to say that I have only used baltic birch, but it has worked well for me and so I have stuck with it. You can always try using different types of woods. Some are stronger than others and this can work to your advantage.

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Where do i buy wood from?
Good question.
Hopefully near where you live there is a local wood store. If you are unsure look online to find if there is one near you.
If you do not have a wood store in your town, then you can always look online. This is a bit more time consuming and expensive, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Finally, your probably saying "cant i just go to HomeDepot or Lowes and get wood from there?".........you can, but be vary cautious as the wood at HomeDepot and Lowes is plywood, which means it has filler in the middle of the wood instead of wood. (confusing right) This means it is not as strong and breaks very easily. I strongly recommend staying away from HomeDepot and Lowes, go to an actual wood store instead.


What types of wood are good to use?
Here are the two most popular woods that people use:
Maple - Stronger more cleaner look, more expensive, good for stiff downhill boards
Baltic Birch - Weaker less clean look, less expensive, better for flexy carving and crusing boards (what i use) also good for downhill boards


What thickness should i get?
Ideally you want your board to be about a 1/2inch thick or less. But it all depends on what kind of board you are making. If you want a downhill board then you will probably want it to be stiffer, requiring more sheets than a carving or cruising board. 
There are two different types of thicknesses that are most often used:

1/4th inch thick - if you are making a board using this thickness, use two sheets, this makes for a flexier board that is a bit weaker than the 1/8th inch thick.
1/8th inch thick - if you are making a board using this thickness, use four sheets, this makes for a stronger board that can still be flexy, but more solid than the 1/4th inch thick.


Cutting the wood:
So at my local store the baltic birch usually comes in a 5x5 sheet for about $30. This is about average for most wood stores. (I think) You should cut the sheet into foot wide sections, and a little longer than you want your board to be. So for example, if i wanted to make a board that was 42 inches long. I would cut a one foot by 46 inch section (leaving 2 inches of room on each side). Always remember to cut with the grain instead of against, this strengthens your board ALOT.

Step 3: Drawing the Template

Picture of Drawing the Template

The template:
First you are going to want to make a template of your board shape.
Do this by taping a few sheets of paper together and then fold it all in half. Then draw half of your board. Once you have done that, fold the paper in half and trace over the lines you have drawn, this will transfer the graphite over to the other side making the two sides of your template identical! Darken the lines so you can see them better.
Once you are happy with your shape carefully cut out the template.
Make sure your template design is not bigger than the width and length of your press

Step 4: Pressing Time!

Picture of Pressing Time!

Pressing your board:
Time to press those sheets of wood into a board!
First off you want to outline your template onto one of the sheets of wood.
Draw a center line on one of the wood sheets.
Place your template on the center when outlining onto the wood.
You can tape it down so it does not move.
Trace your outline onto the sheet. (see picture 1)

Materials:
(see picture 2)

First off lay out all your materials, here is a list of materials you will need:
- Tiebond 1, 2, or 3 Wood Glue (I do not recommend Gorilla Glue)
- Paintbrush for spreading glue, roller also works
- Sandpaper or a sander
- Drill
- Jigsaw
- Pencil
- Tape measure
- Clamps
- Trucks and wheels and hardware
- Griptape
- Spray paint (if you want)


Gluing:
Set down a blanket or something when you are gluing and put your sheets of wood on top.
Glue the bottom sheet nice and evenly, spreading it with the brush/roller.
Remember its always better to use more glue than less.
Do this in a timely fashion as time is of the essence, you do not want your glue to dry on you! *Some glues dry faster than others*
Once you are done gluing your sheets, put the top sheet with the design on the very outside so you can see it. (see picture 3)


Pressing:
Put the glued sheets into your press making sure they are where they should be. Tighten down your bolts until you get the desired amount of concave (see press 1 option on page one)
Once the sheets are in the press tightened down, you can add some clamps to the areas lacking in pressure. Wipe off extra glue from your board so it does not get in the press.
Finally, leave your sheets overnight (at least 24 hours) and then take it out.
Your board should have concave too it, and it should be nice and solid. 

Step 5: Cutting, Sanding, Drilling

Picture of Cutting, Sanding, Drilling

So the next day pop that baby out.
You will see the concave it now has, and you will see your design on top.
Don't be tempted to step on it, because it will give you a false reading of how flexy your board is. You will want to cut it out to know how it really feels.


Cutting:
So grab your jigsaw and start cutting.
Follow the line that you have drawn on the top piece of wood and try and cut it out nice and neatly. Once you have cut that out, feel free to do a stress test by putting some wood blocks or something where the trucks will go and standing on it. Dont do anything too crazy, don't want to break that board! Hopefully you are happy with how it feels.


Sanding:
Once it is cut out, grab your sander and sand the edges down until they are nice and smooth. If you go from rough sandpaper to smooth sandpaper it makes it very smooth
Feel free to sand wherever else your board is a bit rough.


Drilling:
So now you have your board all cut out and sanded smooth.
You should still have that center line on your board where you drew your template.
If you dont have that line, make one.
Grab the trucks you are going to use on your board, and line then up on the center line of your board, and place them depending on how much nose and tail you want. So if i wanted 2 inches of nose and tail, i would put the trucks 2 inches away from the nose and tail. Mark the holes down very carefully, you don't want to be off. You can use a yardstick to line up the trucks straight. When drilling holes, if you don't want it to splinter, go slowly, and start using a small drill bit and then use the bigger one.
You don't want your board going all crooked, it can be dangerous at high speeds, so try to drill the holes as straight as possible. This helps if you have a drill press.
Once you have drilled the holes, line the trucks back up and see if they line up properly.
If they don't try re-drilling.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches

You are almost done!
You can either leave your board blank or paint it. For your first board you may want to leave it blank, as it may break, and all your hard painting will be ruined.
But if you do want to paint it here is how.


Painting:
You are going to need some sand paper and spray paint.
Regular paint works too (like the stuff that comes in big tin cans)
Grab your board and take it outside, put it on a desk or sheet or something that will not get ruined when your painting. Spray pant that bad boy all over.
Take breaks and let it dry a bit in between coats.
Always wear a respirator and goggles when spray painting.
Then leave it overnight until it is fully dry. The next day, sand it with your soft grit sandpaper on top and bottom. Be careful to not push too hard, you are just trying to smooth it out, not take away the paint you have just done.


Clear Coating:
If you want to do a clear coat, then do this after you paint.
Just get your clear coat and brush it (or spray it) on. Apply at least 5 or so layers of clear coat, letting the previous one dry before you do the next.
This will let your board have a shiny, protective coating.


Gripping:
Go buy some grip tape!
Now you can apply your grip.
Take your grip and peel it off the backing. Stick it on the part of your board where you want grip, you can also make designs if you want to. Roll it down with a skate wheel to smooth out any air bubbles. Then sand the edges down with a file where the grip hangs over, until it has a kind of while outline. Finally cut it with a razor blade and try to keep it as clean as possible. (see pictures 2-5)

Step 7: Go Ride!

Picture of Go Ride!
Your done building your longboard! Set it up with trucks and wheels and go ride!
Show it off to all your friends!  Remember to skate safe, and wear all your safety gear!

If you have any questions or need help send me a message or leave a comment!
Here is a video of me going pretty fast on my homemade board!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8BbuS8JahQ
 
Related Links:
Silverfishlongboarding
Toothless longboards

This site sells vacuum presses that are very simple and affordable:
Roarockit Longboards

The pictures below are of a few of the longboards i have made.

Comments

josephwil11 (author)2016-09-01

The to strips of "2x4" on the base of the press dont look like 2x4 boards

jaycortez (author)2016-08-31

Aren't most skateboards and longboards made of plywood? So what would be wrong with going to home depot or lower to get plywood

matthewkhoury75 (author)2011-05-14

Ok, I am new to longboarding and am thinking of making one this summer. First off, I was thinking about making a foam press like this one https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Longboard-Skateboard/step3/Glueing-Pressing/ Do you think this will be ok?
Next, I really have no clue what the demensions should be. I guess it will be 4 feet long, but how wide? I am probably going to make a design like the second picture on this page (Go Ride!). Lastly, I also have no clue what types of wheels or trucks to get. I am new and dont know which are good and bad, ect.

u shouldnt make a board longer than 45 inches

TheBlueMelon (author)awatkins42011-10-05

You best be trolling. A friend of mine has an 84 inch board and it's brilliant...

GryphonA (author)TheBlueMelon2016-08-21

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzcQozLAQHQ So your telling me its this long?

pyoung4 (author)awatkins42011-09-30

if your like 5 years old.... my board is 54 inches long. why should it be so short? answer: it shouldn't. Long longboards are easier to control downhill. short boards are more for boardwalk cruising where you have to dodge people a lot.

GabeG1 (author)pyoung42015-04-14

Short boards (36-38) are the best for sliding, and much easier to go fast on. Long Longboards are for cruising and stuff.

unbentcrayfish (author)awatkins42011-08-30

I've seen 1.5 meter longboards. (60in) you can make them as long as you want. Just make sure they are stiff enough.

mbudde (author)awatkins42011-08-28

You shouldn't give advice unless you know what you're talking about. What is your reason for not making a board longer than 45"?

10 inches wide by 38 inches long is a good dimension.

i have a couple suggestions on hardware, the three most common trucks i think are bears(my fave), paris, and randalls. you can do your own research for what truck is best for you.

as far as wheels go, hawgs, abec11, orangatang, seismic, sector nine, etc. lots of wheels to choose from. wheels have a couple main differences. durometer(durometer is the hardness of the wheel),the higher the number the better for sliding. lower, the grippier. lots more to talk about.

bearings, i don't know much about.

louisz1 (author)2016-01-11

So I wanted to get a board, and I would like to know if it's cheaper to buy decks and stuff to build or just buy complete. I have my eye on a board, and I want to use it for getting to school. How is it for sidewalks/hills/roads and is there anything bad about it? Is it too short/long?

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00EFERXFC/ref=s9_...

Thanks.

KalebN1 (author)louisz12016-02-02

Thats an alright board its kinda small, depending on your size it could be a good fit. I would recommend an original longboard. They have boards to fit all sizes, the pintail 40 which i have has awesome carviture and fun to cruise and gets some sick speed when i go downhill. Original has some of the best boards in my biased opinion.

selim028 (author)2015-11-25

really it is good . if i use teak wood to make a longboard in my country, to fine maple wood or baltic birch wood is very difficult. please give your opinion. thanks.

selim028 (author)2015-11-25

Wadea56 (author)2015-08-07

Im planning on using your instructions to make a longboard this fall any changes to your instructions and do i need the vaccum bag to complete the longboard. Thanks though for the instructions so ready to make my diy longboard

theAtalization (author)2012-02-06

Hey I have a BAMBOO PLYWOODs to sale- I started to import 100% natural bamboo plywood straight from China especially for LONGBOARD DECK MAKING.
Contact me: bamboo.plywoods@gmail.com

MatthewC6 (author)theAtalization2014-12-01

Hey, you still have that? Do you have a website or something? I want some bamboo deck wood.

theAtalization (author)MatthewC62014-12-01

Hey, yes we r still importing plywoods, u can check our website or contact via email. Www.bambusowe.com Info@bambusowe.com

PrastawaA (author)2014-09-29

is it good if i use teak wood to make a longboard? in my country, to fine maple wood or baltic birch wood is very difficult. please give your opinion.

Barrettkg made it! (author)2014-09-03

Following your guide, I was able to make my own (with a few changes). Three years later and its going well. Some cracks in it but I've gotten a lot of mileage out of it and its still riding smooth.

ktm8888 (author)2014-08-19

Sir how would I make the wood super strong

Mr. tony stark (author)2013-12-05

All bases well covered! Good job!

squishyjoss (author)2013-10-27

Thats sweet

Rockitalk (author)2013-09-27

Great work! Thanks for the kind words about Roarockit...we work hard everyday to help board builders and are always trying to keep costs down on veneers, glues, TAP vacuum bags, etc.

KatherineSchreiber (author)2013-09-06

good

SirDubz420 (author)2013-08-16

Hello I have a few questions, would I be able to use this method with bamboo poles I have in my back yard? if so would you be able to give me advice going in that direction?
My email is JoshuaWellborn@hotmail.com

Rubiz (author)2013-07-03

Is it too late to add concave after the glue dries?

mechazirra (author)Rubiz2013-07-19

yep.

donkeyknee (author)2013-07-18

Its good

lratl1 (author)2013-05-27

That is perfect for doing tricks I couldn't do an ally and now I can

GDADZGSONS (author)2013-03-29

Very sorry about that. It is very annoying.

GDADZGSONS (author)2013-03-29

Sorry about that computer went haywaire:[

GDADZGSONS (author)2013-03-29

Are you on silverfish longboarding?

GDADZGSONS (author)2013-03-29

Are you on silverfish longboarding?

GDADZGSONS (author)2013-03-29

Are you on silverfish longboarding?

GDADZGSONS (author)2013-03-29

Are you on silverfish longboarding?

GDADZGSONS (author)2013-03-15

What is the name of your board design? {If commercially available}

lauti2000 (author)2013-01-07

i have been wanting to make a longboard but dont know what typer of trucks bearings and wheels to get do you have any suggestions

Randalls or Paris 180s. Depends on what sort of riding you want to do.

Allthegoodnamesaregone (author)2013-01-18

Very nice instructable. Well described steps.

teach me cool stuff (author)2012-11-28

if i were to not use fiberglass and just birch, how many layers of 1/4 would i need? im 180

arobertson4 (author)2011-06-25

hey will 3 layers of 1/8 inch be enough plus 2 layers of fiberglass? i weigh around 175

awatkins4 (author)arobertson42011-08-18

u need at least 5 layers wood and and 4layers fibreglass

im 90 pounds and i can easily bottom out a board with 4 layers of wood and 2 fibreglass

also
more fibreglass will give the board a livelier flex
for the best flex use over 8 layers of fibreglass with epoxy resin instead of polyester resin
ps dont buy automotive fibreglass

midnite17 (author)awatkins42012-10-23

8 layers of fiberglass? that would make the board rock solid, and very uncomfortable to ride.

Maco13 (author)2011-09-28

Where do you buy your birch? Is it a store or a website? I've got no stores near me and I can only find one website.

midnite17 (author)Maco132012-10-23

the aforementioned website www.roarockit.com sells all kinds of build kits for longboards and skateboards, in addition to all necessities for building. word of advice though, look elsewhere for your Titebond III glue. Amazon has a great deal on it.

samtheman268 (author)Maco132012-02-19


Where about are you from? If your in the UK most timber companies sell birch plywood at various thickness.

Ne1410is (author)2012-04-04

Do you put arches in your boards

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More by TeacherOfTheWays:How to make a Longboard (Revised and updated)How To Skateboard: Lesson 2!How To Skateboard: The Basics
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