Intro: Building a Wakeskate - Parts & Tools
Basically the process starts by making a jig (to form the rocker shape) and then you use the jig to build the board.
2 x 4 lumber (for the jig)
Cheap 1/8" plywood/ particle board (for the jig)
1/8" sheets of fine woods (for the board) - I used 4 [2' x 4'] sheets of 1/8" birch and 1 [2' x 4'] sheets of 1/8" mahogany for the centre of my board.
Marine Epoxy (Comes in 2 chemical parts you mix together then apply) - I have a picture of my epoxy before we started using it
Paint (I used metallic car paint, got a sample from an auto body shop)
Grip Tape (available at most board shops, anywhere they sell skateboards, West 49 etc)..
Wakeboard Fins (I used Ronix fins)
Step 1: Cut Out Rocker
[*The rocker is the curvature of the board, there are lots of different types of rockers, each will give the board a different feel, and different pop off the wake]
Draw the rocker shape onto 2 [2 x 4]'s that are 4 feet long, then cut along the line.
I hammered a few nails into the 2 x 4's *away from the cut line* and cut them both with one pass on the bandsaw
KEEP BOTH HALVES OF THE 2 x 4 YOU CUT, YOU NEED BOTH
You will end up with 2 'negative' pieces and 2 'positive' pieces.
I decided to make my board mimic the rocker of the Liquid Force 2008 Faction because that is what I had ridden before. So for me, it was easy to trace the rocker straight from the board then cut it out. You can design any rocker shape you want
Step 2: Jig Spacers
Next, mount a set of 2x4 spacers between the two top ("positive") pieces and another set between the bottom ("negative") pieces, as in the photo. The spacing should be wider than the board size you intend to make. On mine this was approximately 2' wide.
Step 3: Finish Jig
Then use the cheap 1/8" particle board and screw it onto the insides of each piece of the jig frame
(So when you put the top and bottom together the boards are touching)
*The second photo has the jig pieces on the left
Then the Jig is done and you are ready to form the board.
Step 4: Laminate Boards
Once the jig is complete it's time to laminate the plywood. I used five 1/8"-thick boards. Four of them were birch (for the beautiful woodgrain) and the last was a 1/8" board of mahogany to give the centre of my board extra strength. (Plus, it looks cool.)
Use marine epoxy to laminate the wood sheets to one another. It comes in a part A and B; mix these together in equal parts and apply between all 5 sheets. Make sure to spread a thin coat completely over each board. If it is too thick it will just ooze out the sizes when you clamp it.
I used 5' clamps because that's all I had available to me. I'm sure it's overkill; you would not need clamps as large as these but you want to make sure you have lots of even pressure on your jig. Leave the epoxy to dry for longer than it says on the instructions because you want it to be completely solid when you do the next steps.
*EPOXY IS TOXIC. Make sure to use gloves and a mask and follow all the safety instructions!
Once the epoxy has cured, you can take the wood out of the jig. (you can see my lovely epoxy finger prints) The next step is to draw out your board pattern. Draw a rectangle and add your rounded corners. I suggest that once you have one corner you like, make a template on paper and trace it for the other 3 corners.
After you are happy with the board's shape, use a jig saw to cut out your board. Try to keep your cut perpendicular to the surface of the wood.
After using the jigsaw, you have to round the edges with a router. Look through router bits to find a curvature that works with your board.
This part is really hard because of the board's rocker shape, and it is easier to use the router on the convex side of the board and then sand the edges on the other side down with a palm sander. It won't be to the same curvature, but it will still look nice.
BEFORE you start painting, decide on what fins you want on your board [if you want any] so you can drill the holes before you start sealing the wood.
Step 7: Varathane
To prep the wood for painting, brush on a layer of Varathane. Once that dries, all the wood fibres will stand up and it will become rough. Sand those down to a smooth finish and put on another layer of Varathane. Sand that down once again and repeat one more time if necessary. By the end it should be super smooth.
Step 8: Painting
I cut a stencil out of a large piece of acetate paper with an X-Acto knife. I then used a spray adhesive to stick it onto the bottom of the board. I sprayed on car paint to ensure that the paint would be able to endure being used in the water. Then I peeled off the acetate to reveal my design.
I wanted the wood to show through so i did a simple design. You can easily paint the whole back if you want too
If I could do this project again I would love to try out some wicked graphics.
Step 9: Final Layer
After the colour paint layer, another layer or two of Varathane should be applied to seal in the paint and give it a final smooth layer.
he next step is to apply the grip tape. I went to my local boardshop and bought it on a roll. It is the same grip tape that is used on skateboard decks. Any pattern will work. I cut out a pattern with an X-Acto knife and then laid it down at an angle.
Sticking it down isn't particularly easy - its very sticky stuff, you get one shot
To trim the edges of the tape, take a rasp and file around the edges. Finish it up with sandpaper and more Varathane applied with a paintbrush between the strips of grip tape.
Step 11: Ready to Ride
Once the grip tape is set in place you can attach your fins. Although, some people prefer their boards without fins. I used a set of Ronix fins I bought online. When you buy fins online they should come with the correct screws.
Then the board is ready to ride!