For the advanced project, the skateboard is a uniquely customizable project. It is also an item that many students may actually use on a daily basis or can design and make for someone who will. This project connects to other curricula including art, science, social studies and physical education. Students might be interested in researching the history of art & design on skate decks, or the physics of skate deck flexing and truck placement, wheel options, deck grip options, and much more. Download Project
Tools & Materials
- plywood (½" to ¾" thickness)
- new or used skate trucks (axels) and wheels
- nuts and bolts to attach trucks
- chosen wood finish or cloth finish for bottom of deck – student specific
- grip tape for top of deck (or research and choose another method –i.e. adding non-slip particles to marine paint)
- spindle sander
- disc sander
- palm sander
- drill press
- snap-blade knife
Research skate decks (cruising decks) online to see what shapes work best for the type of skating you’d like to do with your project.
Design the shape of your skateboard on a large piece of paper, this will be your design template. Make sure you consider the following: the width of your trucks, your foot size and chosen placement, the style of board you like, the dimensions of grip tape you have available.
Trace your board shape onto plywood using a pencil and cut to shape with the bandsaw. If you have designed a very curvy shape, be sure to make relief cuts in the wood.
Shape the edges and surfaces of your deck, keeping in mind that if you’re using grip tape on the surface that it needs a flat surface to adhere to.
Place your trucks on the base of your board and mark the hole placement with a sharp pencil or awl through the truck holes. – This will be specific to the trucks you choose to use.
Set up the drill press to drill the holes. Be sure to check the size of the drill bit against the bolts needed for your trucks.
Sand any rough edges or splinters using sandpaper, by hand.
Add your chosen finish, design, applique, art to the bottom of the skate deck.
If you’re using grip tape, peel the backing off and place it on the gritty surface to protect your hands as you smooth it to the board. Lay the sticky side of the grip tape gently on the top of your deck, starting in the middle and laying down the ends. Be cautious at this point, as the adhesive is strong and difficult to peel off if you lay it down in the wrong spot. Smooth it down from the centre outward to prevent bubbles.
Use a file to rub along the edge of the skate deck at a 45-degree angle, making a white line where the grit has been filed off. Carefully run a snap-blade knife up through the grip tape at the same 45-degree angle to cut off the overhanging grip tape. Run the file along the edge one more time to scrape away any excess grit around the edges.
Attach trucks, put your helmet on, and enjoy your new toy!
- Research how to make laminated skate decks and try making a curved mold for producing shaped decks by laminating thin pieces of wood together.
- Add a short second layer of plywood on the top of the tail (last quarter of length) of your board and feather it in to shape a “kick” at the back for trying tricks.
- Cut designs into your grip tape before applying, making a pattern on your board or incorporating stickers or painted designs.
- Instead of grip tape, research different non-slip deck finishes boat builders use (paint finishes with grit, lifted gel coats using a dry paint roller). Tape off sections of your deck and apply the chosen finish in a pattern or shape of your choice.