Introduction: Longboard Out of Bamboo Flooring Planks

Picture of Longboard Out of Bamboo Flooring Planks

Make a sweet deck out of left over and discarded bamboo flooring planks.


About bamboo:

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo, Bamboo Listeni is a tribe of flowering perennial evergreen plants in the grass family; although, the forestry services and departments of many countries where bamboo is utilized as a building material consider bamboo to be a forestry product, and it is specifically harvested as a tree exclusively for the wood it produces, which in many ways is a wood superior in strength and resilience to other natural, fibrous building materials.

Bamboos are some of the fastest-growing plants in the world,[2] due to a unique rhizome-dependent system. Bamboo has a higher compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete and a tensile strength that rivals steel.[4][5]

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Identify raw materials: Left over planks.

Also regular wood glue or gorilla wood glue. You are a carpenter now, keep the wood glue handy.

I happened to have some in my garage. Each plank had the following dimensions: 5/8 inch thick x 3-3/4 inch wide x 37-3/4 inch length. My planks were prefinished which is how they are typically sold. Perhaps you can get some from a friend, a neighbor, or just asking a store if they have a broken box, or discards, or whatever.

Worst case, you can buy "samples" from flooring stores for approximately $5 per plank. Only need two or three planks depending on the profile that you want.

You will also need to procure the following skate board hardware from your favorite vendor:

  • Qty 2 - Skateboard trucks (either reuse from another board or purchase) Choose either regular or reverse kingpin type of trucks.
  • Qty 2 - Truck mounting hardware (set of bolts and lock nuts)
  • Qty 4 - Urethane Longboard Skateboard wheels. Choose big and softer grades for a smoother ride.
  • Qty 8 - Skateboard bearings. In general the higher the price, the better the quality, and the smoother the ride. Don't skimp on bearings. Don't skimp on bearings. Don't skimp on bearings.
  • Qty 1 - Clear skateboard grip tape (get clear if you want to paint graphics on the top deck, otherwise black works too)


Tools

  • Bar clamps (optional, you can use alternatives at your discretion.)
  • Jig saw with all purpose wood cutting blade (A band saw would be better)
  • Medium and fine grade files
  • Medium and fine sand paper
  • Screw Driver
  • Wrench
  • Drill or Drill press (Drill press is optional but will result in higher quality holes)

Art and Graphics

Any sweet board has awesome graphics. Depending on your artistic sensibilities, you can paint your own or just simply apply decals. Both work great if done well. I decided on painting my own and improved my chances of success by printing out the designs on paper and cutting stencils out of them. Using acetate sheets will let you reuse your stencils. Otherwise if you want a single one-off masterpiece just use regular paper or contact paper

  • Printer and paper for template and stencils
  • Hobby knife / exacto knife (optional)
  • Acetate sheets for stencils (optional)
  • Contact paper for stencils (optional)
  • Decals (optional)

Step 2: Glue the Planks

Picture of Glue the Planks

So the key thing here is that the floor planks are manufactured with precision tongue and groove fits.

All you need to do is apply a bead of glue to the grooves and camp them together. Follow the directions on the bottle of glue regarding cure/drying time. Best bet is to wait 24 hrs. I used three planks.

Key tip: Gently clamp the planks together just enough to keep them together if they got bumped. Do not clamp super tight.

Step 3: Template for Deck Profile

Picture of Template for Deck Profile

You can cut your deck to any profile that you desire. I went for a classic pintail cruiser design

Using a template called "Churchill_st013". Simply google for longboard deck templates and pick one. I found this excellent website from Silverfish Longboard Co with ready to print templates.

  1. The template was printed on multiple sheets of paper and taped together.
  2. Then I cut out the profile and transferred the outline to the planks previously glued together.
  3. Take care to align the center of the nose and tail to the center of your planks.
  4. Don't forget to transfer the bolt hole pattern for trucks.
  5. Confirm bolt hole pattern on the template matches the trucks that you have.
  6. Using a jigsaw or bandsaw, rough cut along the outline drawn on the planks.
  7. Optional: I set the jig saw to a 15' angle to give the deck a bit of a lipped edge rather than a square cut.
  8. Note: that it is harder to cut with the saw base set an angle, don't use an angle if you are not comfortable with it
  9. Note: make sure the blade is angled in the right direction with the bottom of blade pointing towards the center of the deck. It's easy to get this backwards and hard to fix after cutting has begun

Step 4: Finish the Edges and Drill Holes for Mounting Hardware

Picture of Finish the Edges and Drill Holes for Mounting Hardware
Edging
  1. Using a hand file, break the edges of the cuts and smooth out the roughness of the cut from the saw.
  2. Then polish the edge using medium grit sandpaper followed by fine grit sandpaper or sanding sponge.

Drill holes (not pictured)

  1. You will want to exercise caution and precision while drilling the holes for the truck hardware.
  2. If you miss drill, you will end up not being able to install all the bolts or with misaligned trucks.
  3. Start with making 1/16 inch pilot holes and confirm that the holes line up with the trucks.
  4. You can always drill a second 1/16 inch pilot if you need to make an adjustment.
  5. Finish the holes with 3/16" drill bit.
  6. You can also go up to a 13/64" drill bit if you find it too tight of a fit.
  7. Optional: Counter sink the bolt holes for a nicer finish.

Step 5: Add the Art and the Grip Tape

Picture of Add the Art and the Grip Tape

By this point I was too excited about this build to capture pics of the graphics process.

Here is the original piece of art that was the inspiration, appears to be stitch work.

I traced the rabbit using default MS Paint program and then scaled it up to full sheet of paper size.

I followed a similar process for the bamboo motif.

Then using an exacto-knife, I cut out the dark lines leaving a stencil.

The stencil was taped to the deck and spray painted.

Alternate option is to skip painting and just apply decals from your favorite skate shop or wherever.

Once the paint is dry, just apply the clear grip tape over the graphics, use this link if you need further instruction.

Step 6: Enjoy the Ride

Picture of Enjoy the Ride

This board was built for and dedicated to my beautiful wife Alexa.

I built it back in 2012 but only got around to writing up the instructable this year in 2015. I'm hoping to build another one this year.

Thanks for checking it out!

Comments

Rayson Cirqueira (author)2016-09-14

Has as you send that tutorial translated to Portuguese ? it would be very helpful , I am willing to pay the most

kcull (author)2016-08-21

How much flex did these boards end up having?

Cofo made it! (author)2016-02-12

Thanks a ton for your inspiration!

Your Instructable kicked off my experience with longboards by having me create my own. Instead of a three board construction, I opted for two boards and I would not suggest anyone else do this! The two board design left a large split down the middle of the board, which made it's life much shorter than if I had used three boards like the original design. I wound up cutting a metal plate and fastening it to the bottom of the board around the bolts, acting like a big washer, to keep it together.
I made this board in the summer of 2015 and have since used the knowledge to create an improved model in the Fall.

Show Me Joe made it! (author)2015-07-02

I had some leftover bamboo flooring so I made one. Instead of grip tape I coated the top with epoxy resin and sprinkled some sand on it. I used photo prints that weren't quite good enough to frame to decorate the underside. I test drove it today and it rode beautifully. Thanks for the instructable.

pheenix42 (author)2015-06-13

Very nice!! What kind of weight can the bamboo handle? I'm rather hefty at about 250 lbs., and of course boards are all aimed at lightweight young folks!

makkuz (author)2015-04-26

great instructable, but you can ask everyone, unless you do very *very* fast downhill, you can't really feel the difference between a 5$ and 50$ bearings, so specially for beginners, it's useless to spend a lot of money on them

ToolboxGuy (author)makkuz2015-05-04

To all boarders who replied to makkuz here - thanks for the input.

SirCooksalot (author)makkuz2015-04-28

Waaaay wrong.... It's all about the bearings,any skater will agree. Push once and roll a block or push constantly to fight friction? I'll push once please. Bearings are the soul of a board,MUST be quality. Go pick up a board at HelMart and try pushing it....good luck! Now grab the cheapest skate shop board with REAL bearings....and roll and roll and roll. You're statement couldn't be more wrong,it's from opposite-world

Tanju-B (author)makkuz2015-04-26

oh I disagree. I can totally feel the difference in bearings when pushing the board. $5 bearings results in constant pushing and I'm working. $50 bearings and it's one, two pushes and then glide and cruise with a big smile.

Or let me put it this way, cheap bearings purchased online had me working, cheap bearings purchased from my local skateshop (that cost more than online), and I was gliding.

rnord (author)Tanju-B2015-04-28

Yeah all bearing are not created equal, plus for some godforsaken reason people still don't know you can pop the things open when they get crunchy, clean them up, re-oil, re-install, BAM!!! smooth wide turns like you just popped them out of the package. It is metal on metal so they will eventually have to be replaced if that board isn't hanging on the wall by that point but with proper maintenance 5+ years easy and you can take em board to board, so I don't mind dropping some money on good name brand stuff I know is gonna last. That being said you wanna go the cheap route online try and make sure its at least stamped abec (you probably want 7+) and the $15 range is more realasitc to get authtic off brand. Instead of some random Asian knock off.

the seabass (author)2015-04-30

omg dude this is sick...I currently have a quest bamboo long board that cost about $100 ....I wanted another shorter long board and I'm going top two this because I ashtray have every thing...I just want top all one thing though, when you glue the boards do you make several layers of wood or just over layer

Tanju-B (author)the seabass2015-05-02

It's just one layer. These are hardwood bamboo flooring planks. They are 5/8" thick. Only need one layer.

darrenhall (author)2015-05-01

Sweet ride - bet she pumps great too by using the bamboo - - nice job, ya get my vote

johanna.waller.56 (author)2015-04-28

It seemed like you did an awful lot of filing with the edges. Could that work been done with a sander or hand sanding using a lower grit of paper? Also, how could you make this concave given the plank use? My brother just started riding as his 11 year old daughter is learning, so I thought I might try to make him one for his birthday. Thanks for the Instructable.

Hi, I don't think I filed too much, but nonetheless, yes you can certainly use a sander or sand paper or even an edge router as others have commented.

As for making it concave, I have two ideas but neither are easy. The first one is to use a router to carve out the mid section and leave a lip, but this would be a ton of work... probably just better off building a board out of veneer and using a press as you will find lots of instructions out there explaining how to do that. Other option would be to add some trim around the edges to create a lip that toes could push on, etc, similar for a kicktail... essentially bolt on stuff on top of the deck... but I would be afraid of them breaking or coming loose over time.


This project as I have posted is mainly for making a nice looking board for laid back cruising... which I think would make an awesome gift for a dad with an eleven year old. (i'm one with a 10 and 12 year olds myself) but getting into boards with a concave decks and kicktails and stuff gets into wanting a higher level of performance than this project was intended for... maybe I'll think of something for a next gen version.


Here's a pic other boards we made for my son and I out of birch veneer that led to the inspiration for the bamboo plank board.

jlouis (author)2015-04-28

Edging: could I just use a router?

jreidy1 (author)jlouis2015-04-28

Half inch round over bit would do a great job.

jreidy1 (author)2015-04-28

Good comment about using higher end bearings. I'm a woodworker and learned a long time ago that you can buy a cheap tool three or four times or a good one once.

Never use garbage.

NathanSellers (author)2015-04-25

Great idea. I can't tell, but did you do two layers or one? with one I would worry about eventual splitting. Awesome build though.

Tanju-B (author)NathanSellers2015-04-26

just one layer. each plank is already 0.625 inches thick (nearly 16 mm), which is a lot. The board is more for laid back cruising than anything else. If it ends up splitting I would just build another or pursue a different design.

geosander (author)Tanju-B2015-04-26

having built this board so long ago have you found any performance or durability issues

Tanju-B (author)geosander2015-04-26

The board has held up great. I ended up upgrading the trucks to proper reverse kingpin trucks afterwards compared to what is shown in the pics. However the deck is super flat. Would be better if the deck was a little concave and had a kicktail. We only ride it occasionally, but I've gotten going downhill up to 25 mph and feels comfortable and stable. Here's and endomondo chart showing avg and max speed:

http://app.endomondo.com/workouts/223187811/572313...

IDThoris (author)Tanju-B2015-04-28

Was wondering about the lack of curve, but the amount of flex you get with that engineered bamboo makes it a natural for the longboard. Maybe too much, but that's a matter of long/too long and personal tastes. This is a sweet sweet idea!

pteglia (author)2015-04-28

Great looking board, and great ible!

One safety concern, usually this bamboo flooring is made with some nasty stuff, so when you are cutting, sanding, edging, etc. ensure you are sucking away that dust, and you are wearing a mask. It can be pretty toxic stuff, lots of glue, and if I have heard correctly, formaldehyde.

Be safe, don't breathe this stuff!

EvolvedAwesome (author)2015-04-26

Really nice end result!

About This Instructable

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Bio: Founding board member of theMakerStation, a new makerspace in Marietta, GA
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