So a buddy of mine bought a wake skate, and I decided to give it a try riding it. What a blast!!!
I usually spend a lot of weekends on Lake Coeur d'Alene or the Pend Orielle river wake boarding and boating, so I thought this could be a fun project!
A wake skate is basically a cross between a standard wake board and a skate board, no bindings and no wheels.
You need to acquire supplies:
I started out with a trip down to Lowes.
1. Plywood! I went with very thing plywood, this stuff is like 5-6mm thickness. It is pretty dang thin.
2. Glue! I wanted epoxy, but finally settled on a waterproof marine wood glue.
3. Clear Coat! I went down there with no idea as to what to use, so I picked around until I found what I figured to be the best for the application. Spar Varnish. Its marine style wood finish. Its not for use below the water line, but that's ok, a wake skate gets wet for not a lot of time each time.
Step 1: Cut Out Your Sheets
I cute the plywood into 6 equal sections, I was shooting for a board of about 40X15. So I cut it into 16" strips at 41" long
I used a skill saw for this step, a table saw would also work nicely.
This could also be done with a hand saw very easily, as the wood is then enough to cut fast.
Accuracy isn't as important on this step as making sure the plywood is cutting smoothly, you don't want the plywood to start to delaminate or peel off when the saw hits it.
A fine toothed saw blade is best.
Step 2: Glue Them Together and Shape Your Curve.
I had to figure out a way to get the shape I wanted once I glued them, so I built a medieval torture device to put my glued together pieces in. Which was basically a series of 2X4's laid out on my work bench and screwed down.
I then began gluing the pieces together 1 at a time. With the finished side of the plywood always pointing outside. Make sure you get 100% coverage with your glue, since it will be no only what holds the board from falling apart, but this is what keeps the board curved on the top and tail
I initially laid it out with 5 strips, but then cut it down to 4 once I realized it was too thick.
The only boards that really shaped with were the 2 under it at the ends, and the 2 that I placed 10" from the ends on top, to press it down. The others were there to keep the pieces sammiched together so that there was no gaps or separation when the glue dried. Then I waited over night.
You can play around with the board placement to fit your liking, this will adjust the curvature on the tip and tail of the skate. Ive seen boards with no tail curvature at all, and Ive seen some that were very curved. Its really a preference.
Make sure you figure out your curvature before you start to glue, since there is no going back once the glue sets.
Its also important that the boards are perpendicular to the skate, to keep the curve straight, and you tracking straight.
Follow the instructions on the glue as to how long to wait, i waited 24 hours before pulling it out of the jig.
Step 3: Make Some Fins
Or at least my version of them.
Made out of Doug Fir 2X4 I had laying around, I cut them into thin strips then jig sawed them out and sanded them into water cutting magical beasts. Threw some Spar Varnish on them to test it out to see if its the finish I wanted. Looked good, so I rolled with it.
When you make them, you want to make sure you make them WITH THE GRAIN OF THE WOOD, dont cross cut a 2X4, it wont hold up and will easily break. So Rip the 2X4 into thin strips.
Generally fins are shaped more like a dome, to keep them from breaking off if the tip digs in. I wanted mine to look cool so I went with a curved "sharp" fin.
Step 4: Make a Template to Shape Your Board
Draw the shape out! I jumped on AutoCAD and made a quick template, my only design criteria was 10" tips, 15" middle and 40" long. I printed out 1/4 of the drawing, on 2 different sheets of paper scaled 1:1.
You could easily draw these out on a couple pieces of paper taped together. You only need to draw out 1/4 of the board, use the same template 4 different times to make it fit the board.
You can easily change your dimensions to whatever you wanted. This is just what looked good to me.
Step 5: Remove the Board From the Jig and Transfer Your Template
After waiting 24 hours, I removed the skate from the jig, and began transferring the template to the board. I simply marked the center line of the board and put a dot in the center of it. Then i lined up the corner of the jig with the center dot, rotated it to the center line and traced it out.
Step 6: Cut It Out!
I used a jig saw to do this. A band saw would probably be best but the jig saw worked awesome.
A fine toothed blade is a must to keep the plywood from breaking apart on you.
Take your time and go slow to make sure the lines come out straight and nice.
Once your done with this, it should really start to look like a wake skate.
Step 7: Sand It Down!
I hate sanding, so I didn't spend as much time on it as I should have, I intended on painting it but I liked the way it looked with wood anyways. Looking back I would have sanded it way longer. Repair any flaws in the plywood as well during this time
I used some wood filler to fill a couple small holes on one edge, I also used a palm sander to sand down the board.
I sanded it a lot on the edges to take out any imperfections, I also rounded out the edges on the top half so the board wont injure me in a crash. However I didn't round out the bottom of the edges much so it could carve the water nicely.
Make sure you spend a little bit of time sanding it down nice, as this will impact the outcome of the board. Like I said, I wish I would have sanded it down more than I did.
Step 8: Coat It With Spar Varnish
Now is the time to lay down your first coat of varnish. I found it best to do one side, then let it dry, before you turn it over for the other side.
You should sand down each layer before adding another. Make sure you let it sit the appropriate amount of time before you sand and recoat.
You can see a flaw in the coloring on the edge, that was from the glue running down the board. I intended on painting it anyways, so i didn't worry much about color. Like I said before if I would have known I wasn't going to paint it, i would have spent a lot more time sanding.
Step 9: Attach Your Fins
After 2 coats, I attached the fins.
I pre-drilled the skate and the fins, then used 2 wood screws each to mount them on. If the wood screws are too long, you can simply cut them down a little and put it in.
Make sure you center the fins perfectly or your board wont track straight.
Step 10: Decorate It!
After 2 coats of Varnish, I sanded, then added a decal, and then applied 2 more coats of Spar Varnish.
After coating both sides with at least 4 coats, and letting it dry, you should be good to go! Make sure you varnish the edges good too!