Introduction: Longboard Out of Bamboo Flooring Planks
Make a sweet deck out of left over and discarded bamboo flooring planks.
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, 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.
Step 1: 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)
- 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
- 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
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
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.
- The template was printed on multiple sheets of paper and taped together.
- Then I cut out the profile and transferred the outline to the planks previously glued together.
- Take care to align the center of the nose and tail to the center of your planks.
- Don't forget to transfer the bolt hole pattern for trucks.
- Confirm bolt hole pattern on the template matches the trucks that you have.
- Using a jigsaw or bandsaw, rough cut along the outline drawn on the planks.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Using a hand file, break the edges of the cuts and smooth out the roughness of the cut from the saw.
- Then polish the edge using medium grit sandpaper followed by fine grit sandpaper or sanding sponge.
Drill holes (not pictured)
- You will want to exercise caution and precision while drilling the holes for the truck hardware.
- If you miss drill, you will end up not being able to install all the bolts or with misaligned trucks.
- Start with making 1/16 inch pilot holes and confirm that the holes line up with the trucks.
- You can always drill a second 1/16 inch pilot if you need to make an adjustment.
- Finish the holes with 3/16" drill bit.
- You can also go up to a 13/64" drill bit if you find it too tight of a fit.
- Optional: Counter sink the bolt holes for a nicer finish.
Step 5: 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
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!
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