Introduction: Old School Penny Boards

About: Day time public servant who likes to create things

Hi everyone,

Today I am going to be doing a little tutorial on how you can make a penny board from some old and new supplies. When I started doing wood projects, I thought this would be a fun one to try with the right tools and supplies. I think this is a great project if you are a beginner looking to hone your skills. Some steps have been recreated. You may see some pictures that look like they are a step ahead or behind of the step listed. The reason for this is that I made a couple of boards and had a different order of operations for each. In this Instructable, I took lessons learned from each, and created an ideal step list.

Lets get into the materials and supplies. Listed below are items for one penny board. Most supplies come in sizes or amounts larger than for one use (i.e spray paint, plywood), so you may have enough to make multiple boards. Hyperlink included to provide a visual, all costs are estimates ($CAD):


Health and Safety:

1) Eye Protection Glasses - $3.00 (from dollar store)

2) N95 Respirator Mask - $8.00

3) Ear plugs - $5.00


1) 3/4'' Plywood: x1 - $40.00

-For my board I only needed a 7''x25'' piece. This could be free if you can find a scrap piece the right size

2) Old roller skate with metal trucks and wheels: x1 - $10.00 (usually they come in pairs!)

3) 1/4x2'' Flat-head stove bolt: x6-8 - $4.00

4) 3/8'' Lock nuts: x6-8 - $4.00

5) Grip tape: x1 roll - $7.00

6) Wood filler: x1 tube/package - $20.00

7) Spray Paint w/primer: x3 (blue, yellow, black) - $30

Tools (This is what I used; alternatives are in brackets):

1) Jigsaw (pull saw or hand saw)

2) Palm Sander - with variety of sandpaper sheets (sanding block and sand paper)

3) Drill - with a) 3/8 Drill bit that is safe for metal and wood, and b) counter sink (hand drill I guess)

4) Angle Grinder with cut off disk (Hacksaw)

5) Tape measure (Ruler?)

6) Skateboard tool (ratchet set, adjustable wrench)

7) Screwdriver that matches the head of the truck screws

8) Speed square & chalk line (these alternatives are getting tricky, for this project it can be replaced by any straight edge)

9) Pencil (Pen?)

10) Utility Knife (hobby knife, scissors)

11) Putty Knife (Car windshield ice scraper)

12) Old metal wire hanger (you MUST use a metal wire hanger, there is NO alternative for this item)

13) Something to hang your skateboard on to spray paint, in the event you don't have an old metal wire hanger

Step 1: Designing the Board

First step to making the board is to choose your design and size. On your piece of plywood, mark a centre line down the middle of what will become the length of the deck. This will be our reference point when designing the shape and setting holes for the trucks. Make sure your centre line provides enough space on the right and left side of the line for your board's width.

I wanted my board to be 6''x24'' so I wanted the rough piece of my board to be 7''x25''. (1,2) I measured down from the edge of the board, 3 1/2'' (half of the width of 7'') on both ends of the board and made a mark. Once the points were made, (3) I lined up my chalk line on it and snapped it.

The same concept is applied if you are not using a chalk line, but a straight edge instead. Mark half way of the width on each side of the board, and line up your straight edge with the marks, then draw your centre line.

Next, to sketch out the shape of your deck, measure out equal distances from the centre line and mark in pencil a rough draft of cut points. I recommend to make a cut line every 3 or 4 inches. Make sure that the opposite cut point marks are equal distance away from your centre line to ensure your board is symmetrical. By doing this, you will basically be creating a "connect the dots" for when you begin cutting.

Step 2: Cutting Out Your Deck

Now that we have the deck prepared for cutting, it is time to connect the dots. You can trace the cut lines if you would like, or you can cut from point to point. Up to you!

Using your jigsaw, carefully cut along your marks until your deck shape is cut out.

Step 3: Preparing the Trucks

With the deck prepped, now it's time to shift focus to the trucks. Take your roller skate and detach the boot from the trucks. You may be able to simply unscrew them from the boot. In my case I had to cut off the boot and drill through rivets to separate the two. Do what you need in order to separate them, assuming you wont be using the boot after.

(1) Once you have the trucks separated, (2) find the mid point between the two wheel sets and mark. Ensure that cutting along that mid point will give you enough room to make holes to attach the truck to the skateboard. Once the middle line is marked, (3) cut the metal in half. Feel free to sand or file down the metal if it is rough after the cut.

Each truck will have two holes to start. You will have to drill two more holes (I only needed one) on the end of the trucks closest to the centre of the board. If you are making two holes, ensure they are symmetrical to the centre of the trucks. Once your holes are complete, you have your two trucks for your skateboard.

Step 4: Sanding and Patching

Back to the (skate) board. When you complete your rough cut out of the board, you will need to sand the board down so it is as smooth as possible.

Start off sanding the face, bottom and sides of the deck with a higher grit (60) sandpaper. You can also use this as an opportunity to round off any edges you may want to round, as well as fixing and shaping of the deck. Once you have gone over it and finalized the shape of the board with the high grit, move to a finer grit paper and repeat. Continue to repeat with finer and finer grit paper until you are at your finest grit paper.

Done sanding? Great! Now you can fill in any pesky holes or dips in the board with wood filler. Follow the instructions on the package. Apply filler to required area and smooth down with putty knife. Once you have filled in all the nooks and crannies, let the board dry for the required time.

Once the filler has fully dried, re-sand the board from highest to lowest grit.

You can keep repeating this step until your board is at the preferred smoothness, or until you get tired.

Step 5: OPTIONAL: Cleaning Wheels, Trucks and Bearings

Depending on the condition of your wheels, trucks and bearings, you may want to clean them. If you are very committed to this step, feel free to look around for ways other people clean their roller skates/skateboard parts. The steps I followed are below.


(1) Unscrew the wheels from the trucks. (2,3) Using a screwdriver (or skate tool) carefully pry the bearings out from the wheel. I say to do this carefully because you don't want to damage the bearing by pushing too hard. Once your wheels are off the trucks, and the bearings are off the wheels, you can begin cleaning:


Simplest method I found across the internet was just dish soap and water. Wash the wheels as you would your dishes.


I left the bearing shield on the bearings, wiped them down with a damp cloth, and let them sit in a container with lemon juice for about 10 minutes. I then removed them and wiped them down again. After that I sprayed the bearings down with WD40. (NOTE*: when looking this up, my method seems to be very contentious across the bearing community, so use at your own discretion.)


Apply a blotch of Brasso on the trucks and rub and scrub thoroughly. Follow the instructions on the container. Use in a well ventilated place as the fumes are pretty strong.


Pop bearings back in wheels while ensuring that the bearings are all the way into the wheel and are straight. Put the wheels back on the trucks. You are done!

Step 6: Fastening Trucks to Deck

(Note* I recreated this step for the Instructable. You can have your deck cut out at this point, unlike the pictures.)

We will need to use the centre line again for this step, so assuming your line has disappeared after sanding, re-mark your line. Tips to remark the line: on the bottom of your deck measure the width, make a mark at half the width; repeat for the middle and top of the deck. Once you have your marks, redraw your centre line using a chalk line or straight edge.

Now that you have your centre line again, position your trucks on the deck and ensure they are centre on the deck. At this point I had all the holes prepared on my trucks. Your trucks will have 2 holes from being attached to the roller skate boot, so try and have those holes equal distance from the centre line on each side. For my board, I only put in 3 screws due to the shape of my trucks. I ensured that the centre hole sat perfectly on the centre line. When marking your holes, again ensure they are equal distances away from the centre line to ensure everything is symmetrical.

I measured the distance of the holes from the centre of my trucks and marked on the board accordingly. Measurements are tagged on the image. I have also included a visual of how I marked some of the holes for the deck. Once you are satisfied with your hole marks, use your drill to drill the holes. Ensure you drill as straight as possible to avoid misfits of the screws and, as a result, the trucks.

Once your holes are drilled, use your counter sink bit to countersink the holes on the top of the board. This will allow your screws to sit nicely in the board and not stick out. Countersink little by little, testing the screw in the hole until the top of the screw is flush with the wood of the board.

Then put the machine screws through the holes and put your trucks through the screws. Double check that your trucks are on straight; fasten with lock nuts. Once everything is fastened up, giver a rip! You have worked hard at making it ride-able, so take a break and test it out.

Once you are done testing the board, it's time to get back to work. Before taking the trucks off, if your screws are sticking out well past the lock nut, you may want to make a cut mark so you can trim down the screws at a later time.

Now that you are done celebrating your half finished skateboard you can move onto painting and designs.

Step 7: Painting and Design

At this point you may have decided to make a design your board, or at least picked out some paint colours. For one of my decks I wanted to do a Wolverine theme (please don't sue me FOX, it's not even that good). I brought up the graphic I wanted on my tablet, put a piece of graphing paper over the image and used the back-lit image (and a friend with artistic capabilities) to trace the graphic. Once I had my draft stencil I decided what part of the image would be filled in with paint and what would be part of negative space. I then had that artistic friend cut out the stencil to ensure there were no finesse based errors. I lined up the template to ensure everything looked fine. At this point the template is ready but the background isn't.

When you are deciding your design for the board, determine what colour the background of the image will be. Once decided you can start painting. I used yellow for my background. I hung my board on a clothesline using an old metal wire hanger and began the base layer. When spray painting, read and follow the instructions on the can. Maintain the proper distance and paint in passes and ensure your layers are thin. Let the preliminary layer dry for the recommended amount of time and repeat 2-3 layers until your background colour is complete.

Use the paper stencil and transfer it onto a more rigid surface. I recommend using an old plastic binder cover; something with rigidity. This is for 2 reasons:

1) when you start to paint through your stencil, you don't want the stencil material sticking to the board

2) you want the shape of your graphic to be maintained, not blown away by the spray of the can.

Once your graphic is transferred to the rigid stencil, you can apply your stencil to the board. Make sure to cover up the part of the board that is not part of the stencil. I used a mix of paper and painters tape to cover up the board. Use the same method of spray paint application as you did with the background. Apply layers and let them dry. After all paint dries, remove the stencil from the board. Repeat the process using the same technique for the top of your board if required.

Your board is now fully painted!

Step 8: Grip Tape

Almost there! Once you are done painting your board, you can apply grip tape to the top. (1) First measure the length of your board to (2) determine the length of the grip tape. You may also want a design for the grip tape. In this example I used a simple 2 1/2'' thick line down the middle of the deck. (3) I simply measured and marked 2 1/2'' from the length-edge of the grip tape (on both ends) and snapped a chalk line. I then (4) measured and marked 1 1/4'' from the length-edge to find my centre line marks and snapped the chalk line again.

If you plan on shaping your grip tape, use the same method as I used when shaping the board: On the back of the grip tape draw a centre line. Based on the shape of the board and the measurements, draw cut lines symmetrically out from the centre line that will be your guide.

Make your cut marks and ensure everything is proportioned. (5) Use a knife or scissors to begin your cutout.

When applying the grip tape, make sure it is centre. (6) Make a centre mark on the edge of the back side of the board and one on the top side of the board. (7) Then make a middle mark on the top of the grip tape cut out and the bottom of the grip tape cut out. (8) Ensure both the board and grip tape middle marks are lined up, and start peeling the grip tape and adhere the bottom first. (9) Now pull your strip tight and line up the top part of the grip tape to the top of the board. Ensure middle marks are aligned. (10) Once in position, peel out the backing paper slowly, ensuring your grip tape continues to stay straight. (11) Continue until the backing is off and the grip tape is fully on the board.

(12) Feel out the divots in the grip tape to locate your screw holes and poke holes through the grip tape with your drill bit. (13) Lastly, trim any excess grip tape by riding a knife along the edge of the board to ensure the grip tape is flush with the shape of the board.

Step 9: Final Assembly

We're almost at the finish line. After you have applied your grip tape you can install your trucks. (2) Insert the screws and fasten trucks to the board. (3) Once your screws are tightened up, you are good to go!

Step 10: Final Product

Thanks for reading the Instructable. If you liked it, please vote for me in the "Skateboards" contest as well as a sending me a favourite or a follow. If you made the board, or if you have questions or feedback, let me know in the comments!


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