I've always wanted to take karate lessons for basically just one reason - the board breaking. I never really understood what happened to one's body that allowed them to gain the super powers that enabled the average hand to break the formidable, structurally sound, wooden board. To this day I'm still yet to take my first karate class, but I have been able to answer that question none the less...and, the answer is...absolutely nothing! Board breaking is pretty darn easy, and in my opinion, just about anyone can do it.
I asked a friend of mine who IS a karate master if we could break boards one day. She said sure, not asking if I had any karate experience...hmm, I guess she trusts me.
After rounding up some appropriate wooden boards and performing a few of those awkward slow motion "practice hits" where I visualized my hand going through the board, I was breaking boards left and right, at home just for fun, with friends at parties, and with the other members of the Instructables team at work.
I find the process of breaking boards to be far more pleasing than "hitting a pillow", which was my mothers suggestion of what I should do when I was a kid and wanted to break something. The rush from breaking the board never gets old, and when you can one-up other inexperienced board breakers by adding second, and dare I say third boards into the mix, well, the fun just never has to stop.
***Please use this Instructable at your own risk and thoroughly consider this warning. Although this Instructable encourages board breaking, and the author of this Instructable promotes all forms of board breaking by people with absolutely zero experience, all board breakers must understand that the risk of hurting yourself is real, probable, likely, and imminent. If you break boards with the kind of limited understanding of technique and safety that I have, and share in this Instructable, please be prepared for the possible outcome of broken fingers, wrists, hands, elbows, arms and heads.***
Step 1: Get Some Wood
Wide pine boards are the most readily available, inexpensive, and consistent type of wooden boards to break.
Pine is a pretty soft wood, so it's a good wood to mess around with, if like me, you don't have any experience with this sort of thing. if you're looking for more of a challenge, try breaking a harder type of wood like oak, ash or walnut.
So, head on down to Home Depot and pick up a long length (96" for some real board breaking action) of 1" thick by 12" wide pine shelving. Crosscut the shelving into smaller lengths so that your finished boards are around 10" x 12". The size isn't crucial - anything in the ballpark will work.
Remember, actual dimensions of milled lumber are less then what they are sold for, so, just to be clear, the shelving that reads 1" thick on the tag, will actually be 3/4" thick when you measure it with a ruler.
This is an important point, since, if you're milling your own wood and attempt to karate chop through a 1" thick piece of wood that's actually 1" thick, it might be significantly more difficult.