Introduction: Skateboard Table

For those of you who were told not to skate in the house as a child, here's a lazy susan coffee table that rotates on skateboard wheels.

Think of the possibilities: Play board games where nobody has to look at the board upside-down. Bring the remote within reach without getting up from the couch. Epic tea parties.

Check out the video below:

*If anybody wants to make that Scrabble Tile Coaster, you can:

Step 1: Design Inspiration

My inspiration came from this table (pictured). Here's the blurb they use to describe it:

"Perfectly engineered truck, wheel and glass interplay, the 360 Table is a grown-up lazy susan that celebrates that instance of teenage rebellion. Taking seriously the claim that skating is a lifestyle, this piece accommodates and furnishes that life quite well."

But their version retails for $2000. And does not include the glass top, which will cost you another $100 or so.

I wanted one that met the following constraints:


  • Less than $100
  • Made from wood and parts available pretty much anywhere
  • Requires minimal power tools
  • Easy to assemble
I ended up spending around $70 for everything but the glass top. The glass put me over my intended budget by around $60. Had I waited for a good yard or estate sale, I imagine I could have gotten the glass much cheaper.

I purchased only from Anytown, USA stores. Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Amazon and Pier 1 (for the glass). No specialty shops. No exotic lumberyards. Nothing fancy. Just deck planks, a couple of cheapo complete skateboard sets, and miscellaneous fasteners.

I used a power drill and a miter saw and a palm sander. You could sand by hand if you had to or wanted the workout, but the other two tools are pretty essential. It's more trouble to get the proper handsaw for the finish work than it is to just ask a neighbor to borrow his miter saw. Or chopbox. Or whatever you want to call it.

After cutting and drilling, assembly is more or less Ikea-style. All inserting dowels into slots. Then some screwing. Just like Ikea.

Step 2: Materials

  • Redwood board - 2x $14 each
    • 2 x 6 x 8
  • Dowel pins - $2
    • 12 pack
    • with channels in the side for extra glue hold
  • Dowel centers
  • Simpson strong-tie T-shaped strap - $4 at HD
    • 6" x 6"
    • and screws to install on the bottom
  • Krown Rookie Complete Skateboard x2 - $44 at Amazon
    • full set of trucks/wheels/bearings cheaper as full set than individually
    • save deck for future projects
  • Wood glue
  • Semigloss polyurethane
  • #8 1" wood screws
  • miter saw
  • palm sander
  • drill
    • with brad point bits
    • 5/16" and something teeny-tiny for your pilot holes
  • speed square
  • protractor
  • a band clamp (you could use any ratcheting tie, it's pretty much the same thing)
    • with brad point bits
    • 5/16" and something teeny-tiny for your pilot holes
  • rubber mallet
  • palm sander
  • sponge for applying polyurethane

Step 3: Saw

Cut your 2 x 6s to length. I had the guys at the lumberyard cut the boards into 24" segments, then I cut them to size in the shop. (Perfect for the urban woodworking enthusiast; portable, easy, and you get to watch the giant saw at the lumberyard in operation.)

The length of the radial portions on the top of the table base may vary. Customize it to your space. (I made my table a little smaller than the original by shortening the radial boards from 20" to 18".) Just make sure each board end is absolutely square by trimming the last inch or so from each side of the 2 x 6 prior to working with them. Not every cut at the mill or the lumberyard is going to be to your specs. Here's what I did for a 36" diameter table:
  • Radial boards for the top of the base: 18"
  • Leg boards: 14"
That should be it. Check that everything is square and the proper length before you move on. Making exacting cuts only to discover that the end of your board isn't square feels terrible.

Step 4: Saw 2

Now that all of your boards have been cut to length, it's time for the fiddly part: that central joint. We'll need to know where to make the cuts to give you a beautiful set of 120 degree pointed boards, and that might require some math.

I've broken it out into three options for you:
  1. For students of the humanities and children, use a protractor to mark a line from the center of the end of the board. Draw a line along the 60 degree mark from that midpoint to the side of the board. That'll give you a lovely line that you may cut along.
  2. For those of you who fully trust the angles along the bottom of the miter saw, just go ahead and mark the midpoint of your board, then set the saw to 30 degrees, align with the midpoint, and cut.
  3. For those of you who know trigonometry, just puzzle it out. [Hint: x = .5(width of the board) • tan(30)]
The measurement from the end of the board came out to around 4.01 cm or 1 17/32". But do this part for yourself to ensure that everything lines up properly. Trig will be most accurate. Trusting your miter saw is fastest. Puzzling over it while lamenting your poverty that prevents you from buying the original $2000 version, that's perfect for a student of comparative literature (share your haiku in the comments when you're done.)

Now that you know where to make the cuts, get to it. I made a few practice pieces to get a feel for a new saw, figure out the size of the kerf, and because I am on the obsessive side of cautious. I also struggle with simple math.

Things to remember: make your marks as exactly and as consistently as possible. Use the speed square. Use a ruler. Check with a protractor. Then cut.

Step 5: Treat the Wood

You can save this step till last, but I like my pieces to be done before I assemble everything. It gives me that Ikea feel of ready-to-assemble furniture. And it makes me concentrate extra hard on not allowing any dings to the wood. And forces me to glue very, very carefully later on. For those of you unsure of your polyurethaning abilities, you might want to do this just before installing the skateboard parts.

I chose polyurethane because it has good protective qualities and has a matte finish. I don't want a glossy table with a glossy top, that's a little too much shine for me. The semi-gloss is good for my needs and hides mistakes better than a gloss. You will be fine with an oil or wax if you want to go that route. The Minwax tung oil gave me the same look as the semi-gloss poly, in case you are curious. (It was also approximately a zillion times easier to apply.)

For the brave and/or foolhardy, let's put on some polyurethane. First, follow the directions on the can. Then, because the can directions sometimes suck, try this:
  • use as matte a finish as possible to avoid having a tiny mistake force you to start over
  • use a disposable sponge brush (or just a sponge like I did)
  • don't over-do it, you will regret it later when you have to scrape off the bubbles/drips with a razor
  • follow the grain
  • allow plenty of drying time
  • hand-sand between coats*
  • if any of that sounds too hard, just use oil or wax
I used two coats, sanding with 220 after each. I could have gone for a finer grit, but I like the ever-so-slightly unfinished look of the 220. Play with it. It's your table, after all.

*The palm sander moves too fast and melts the finish. Then you wind up having to sand everything back to zero and start over. Bad news. Get close with your wood. Touch it. Caress it. Then rub it with abrasive paper. Lovingly. John Henry will appreciate the triumph of man over machine. So will your finish.

Step 6: Joint

Now that everything is cut to size, it's time to mark our holes for doweling. Check the secondary images and image notes for this step, as many of these ideas are easier to convey visually rather than with text.

You'll really want some dowel centers for this. (If you don't have any, a thumbtack should do in a pinch.) They will help you align your holes after drilling. Your drill likely has some wobble and may travel a bit as you drill out your holes. The dowel centers allow you to mess up a little bit on your initial hole placement by letting you just use the existing hole to mark where to drill on the next board.

Mark your drill locations in the following places:
  • each side of the pointy bit on the radial supports
  • two equidistant marks on the underside of each radial support
  • two equidistant marks on the top of each leg
Using the dowel centers means that you don't need a doweling jig for this. It does mean, though, that you will need to keep track of which boards fit together. Each dowel joint done this way is slightly different, so label your boards (on a spot that'll be covered) in such a way as to be able to know which radial support fits perfectly with which leg. This is, as they say, important.

Use a brad point bit. It will make this easier. If you don't have one, drill pilot holes, then use your normal bits. You shouldn't need to buy anything special for this. Be sure to wrap your bit so you don't end up drilling too deep.

Measure twice, stay away from the edges of the wood so as not to split your board, take a deep breath, then drill perpendicular to the face you are working on.

Use the dowel center to mark the drill location for the board you will attach to the board you just drilled into freehand.*

*Look at the pictures and read the image notes, this is sounding much more complicated than it is.

Step 7: Glue

To glue, put a small dab of wood glue on both sides of your dowels. Then align the corresponding board. You'll have to glue and push in all three boards at once for the interior joint. Once you've pushed everything together to your satisfaction, put the strap clamp around the whole shebang. Tighten to the point that everything is pushed together, but not so tight that it starts to pull your joint apart. Then wait for it to dry.

Bonus cheating step: screw the T strap onto the base of the joint after the glue has dried. I don't fully trust the dowels, so some surreptitious metal makes me feel better.

Then glue on the legs. Clamp them in place with something like this. (Not pictured because I didn't actually glue the legs on so I could carry this in my car.)

Step 8: Attach Trucks

Your trucks may vary in size, so I'll give approximate directions for attaching your skateboard apparatus.

Center the trucks on the board. You'll want your outermost wheel to be even with the edge of the radial board. Measure, measure, measure. Mark the center of the holes with an awl or pencil tip or paper clip or something else thin and pointy.

Use the same technique as before to create drill stops with tape, using the length of your screws as a guide. Then drill each mark that you made. Go in as straight as you can to keep the screwheads parallel to the radial boards. It'll be prettier that way.

Put on all the trucks facing the same direction. Look at the pictures. Then screw 'em on.

Step 9: Tabletop

Glass tabletops can be pricey. Check for cheap ones at thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets, or just cannibalize one from another table.

I got mine from a salvage yard that sources their materials from the local dump/recycling center. I got mine from Pier 1. Worth the slight mark-up to not have to dig through trash for a day looking for a single item. And the prices at the recycling center were actually higher than the Pier.

Put the glass on top of the skateboard wheels. Centering the table is a bit of a challenge (aka nightmare), so I decided to just eyeball it to get it as close as I could. You'll notice in the video that the glass hangs over one set of wheels a bit further than the others, but it's not too much of a hassle to move it back into place. I imagine that a real set of skateboard wheels with proper bearings might prevent the eccentric motion, but I chose not to check. Or I could have just picked up a bigger piece of glass for an extra $10.

You're welcome to experiment with the placement of the glass, the bearings, or the glass size. Tell me what worked for you. 3 months of pro membership for anyone who builds their own version and posts a pic in the comments.
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