How to build a longboard 

 September 24, 2020

By James Mason

how to build a longboard

Did you ever have a dream that you will be riding on a longboard that will be made by yourself? If yes, then you are about to turn your dream into reality.

Building up a longboard can be done by following some steps. The steps are pretty much simple and straight. Building a longboard doesn't demand much money.

However, if you are looking for information about building your longboard, then this guide is for you. Let’s start!

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How to build a longboard - Step By Step Guidelines

Step-1: Bring The Essentials

Your first step for making the longboard should be picking up the tools that you need. The tools that you need to collect are-

  1. Hardwood or plywood
  2. Strong adhesive or wood glue
  3. Rough and fine-grained
  4. sandpaper
  5. 8 small screws
  6. Staple gun or screws
  7. Drill
  8. Weights
  9. A jigsaw
  10. Fiberglass resin, Polyurethane varnish, hardener or cloth
  11. Paper and pencil
  12. Grip tape
  13. Trucks
  14. Wheels
  15. Bearings

If you are planning to build the cheap one, then you should choose the wood 2-3 1/4-inch thick plywood. Otherwise, choose 4-6 1/8-inch sheets. Alternately, use 7-9 plies having about one mm thick. You will be using the wood glue or screws for fusing the pieces of wood together into a longboard deck.

The extent of the sheets will depend on the amount of flex you want. For getting a rigid board, you will need more layers of wood. However, you may also go for an aftermarket pre-dressed deck and then build your longboard.

skills-or-skulls-skateboards

Credit to blessthisstuff.com

Try to pick the wood with high-quality such as Birch, White Ash, Bamboo, Maple and so on. According to me, Bamboo is the best. Whatever the length and the width of the longboard should be 40-inches and 10-inches respectively. You can go for longer if you wish.

Go for the high-quality wood glue or adhesive. The adhesive will help to keep the plywood layers together. You will find this in the hardware stores.

Make sure that the screw you will pick is long enough to fasten the truck securely to the board. But, remember that it should not much longer that they get in the way. In this case, you need to match the size of the holes in your trucks.

Trucks are an important part of your longboard. In general, the job of trucks is attaching the wheels to the board and allowing the longboard for turning when you lean. There are different types of longboard trucks. You may go for the Reverse Kingpin Trucks unless your longboard has a tail and you are planning to ollie it. However, the standard kingpin will provide better pop, whereas the reverse offers better stability and turning response. You can also read my reviews of longboard trucks to find out the best one.

While choosing the wheels you should keep in mind that “the harder the wheel will be, the more slide it will offer”. Roughly the good slide wheels usually are above than 80a durometer. There are different kinds of wheels such as offroad wheels, cruising wheels etc.

Bearings are the things that will let your longboard smoothly. That's why you should pick a high-quality bearing. The bearings that are made from ceramics are supposed to be the best one.

Step-2: Seal and Shape The Deck

Well, after gathering all the essentials, you should get started. Start with cutting the plywood to size. Cut down the wood into the strips having length and width 40-inches and 10-inches respectively.

After cutting the wood, use the pencil to draw a straight line on a paper. The straight line should be the center of your board. Then, from the line draw the shape of your longboard. At first, decide the size of your longboard and then go for the shape.

Then, using the pencil trace the shape of your longboard onto the top piece of the wood. You will be needing to press the wood together with pressure and adhesive. Wait a bit, let it dry and carve this shape out. You need to trace carefully and make sure that you are drawing the deck exactly as you want.

build skateboard

Image credit: Jack Vater

After tracing the shape, you have to drill holes around the outer side of your board’s shape. You should drill screws through the holes for helping clamp the wood together. Better make the holes a bit smaller than your screws. Then, you need to put the pieces of plywood evenly stacked. Place them in a manner so that they do not get shifted.

Then, start drilling and making holes straight through the wood. You need to drill the holes about one inch from the outline. After the wood is clamped, you have to drill the screws into the wood.

After that, you need to stick the pieces of wood together. Use the adhesive and a paint-brush for spreading a thick layer of adhesive on the inner facing side of each piece of wood. Make sure that the pre-drilled holes are placed on the top and place then carefully.

Now, its time to give the board shape. For this purpose, you need to stack the wood pieces in a way so that the smooth and clean side of the piece will be on the bottom. Make sure that the end of the board is resting and the middle is hanging free.

Then place the weights onto the stack of the wood. This will give your board a stable shape like a longboard. After that, you will need to put the screw all around the longboard if you are happy with the curves. Then wait a bit and let the adhesive set. Check the curve again. If you are satisfied with it, then take out the screws.

Step-3: Finishing The Deck

Find the best-looking and smoothest piece of your plywood and carve the shape into the board. You can ensure any design that makes you feel good. Then use the sandpaper and sand everything down so that the board is scratch-free and smooth.

building longboard

Image credit: Jack Vater

After that, use the fiberglass resin and polyurethane for covering the board with a layer. This coating will keep your board scratch-free.

Step-4: Decorate The Board

Before decorating your board again use the fine-grained paper to sand down the board last time. Then you can decorate your board using paint. You have lots of options for painting like using spray paint, permanent markers, regular painting and so on. Then again add a final layer of fiberglass resin or polyurethane. This will seal your design onto the bottom of the board.

After that, using the grip tape covers the top of the board. You can go for the chunk of bulk tape. This tape will ensure your feet sticking on the board at high speeds.

hand Painting board

Credit: SK8ology Inc

Step-5: Attach Trucks, Wheels and Bearings

You are almost about to finish. Just a single step to be done. Now, you need to attach the trucks, wheels and bearings.

For this, simply push the bearings inside the wheels. Repeat this as you have to place the four bearings inside the four wheels. Then, attach the wheels to the trucks. Make sure that the nut is tight enough for allowing an easy and free spinning of the wheels.

Now, for installing the truck you need to drill the holes. Remember that the holes should be straight. After drilling, then you need to attach the trucks and wheels to the deck using nuts and bolts. You are done with building up the longboard and now you can start riding with the board.

About the author

James Mason here. Surfing, skateboarding, and longboarding enthusiast currently living in Rio, Brazil. Started boarding since I was old enough to wear a helmet, except I often didn't. Think that explains a lot :)