DIY Tips to Help You Make Skateboards for Your Kids
Imagine you or your kids cruising around your neighbors on a skateboard you made with your own hands. Nothing’s quite like it.
Skateboarding improves eye, hand, feet and leg coordination. Change your movements when skateboarding to maneuver your routes accurately and smoothly. Other benefits of skateboarding include:
- Pain tolerance
- Stress relief
- Patience and reflexes
You can buy your kids skateboards from a physical sports equipment store or online. However, go the DIY route if you’re working on a tight budget or simply lack the money for such a purchase. Here’s a guide to help you build a skateboard for your little ones:
Tools and Material Required
- ¾” hardwood
- ½” plywood
- Danish oil
- Skateboard hardware – wheels, trucks, bearings, grip tape, and mounting bolts.
- Band saw or jigsaw
- Epoxy (optional)
- A router with flush trim, round-over bit or template bit (with bearing)
- A drill with drill bits (13/64)
- Straight edge
Find and secure the materials and tools you need. Determine the size of the skateboard you want to make. Generally, skateboards range from 8” to 12” wide and 26” to 52” long. However, sizes vary and could be smaller or longer.
The cost of materials and hardware vary depending on your location and the specific hardware and materials you choose. Expect to spend anything from $75 to $100 on materials and hardware.
Build a template
It’s important to get the template right to build a good skateboard.
- Cut the plywood a size larger than the expected size of the finished skateboard.
- Mark a line down the center of the plywood to show the middle of your skateboard. Next, draw or transfer the shape of your final skateboard to the plywood.
- Visualize your finished skateboard and draw both halves of the board. However, you only need a single side of your skateboard. Mark specific places where you’ll fix the trucks.
- Cut off waste using a bandsaw or jigsaw like those at https://www.bestcabinettablesaw.com/. Cut as close to the line as you can to reduce your hand work later on. If you go over the line, don’t worry. However, make sure you make clean cuts.
- Work the edges with your file, rasp and sandpaper until they become smooth and curves clean. It’ll give a good feel of how your skateboard will eventually look upon completion. The three refines the shape of your skateboard. Run your fingers along the edges to ensure that the job is well done. Otherwise, work on any lows and highs you find that your eyes can’t see.
- Use the 13/64 bit to drill holes on the plywood for the trucks. Use a square plywood scrap and one of the trucks to make yourself a little jig to guide the process (this is optional). It makes drilling and positioning of the truck holes a breeze.
Build the Skateboard
Begin making the skateboard once your template is ready.
- Work on your hardwood to prepare it for use. Make it square or cut it to your desired length and width measurements.
- Put the template on the hardwood you’ve already cut to shape and size to get a glimpse of the look of your finished cruiser.
- Use a countersink bit to drill out holes for the trucks in the right positions; you’ll use the holes to align the template for a solid reference point when creating a cutting line on the hardwood. Make sure the holes will comfortably fit the truck bolts with top of the cruiser.
- Align the hardwood and the template with pins in two of the truck holes. Mark a single edge of the cruiser as you trace along the template. Turn the template upside down and trace the shape again.
- Roughly cut out the board close to the line you marked without going overboard.
- Align the hardwood and the template again, with pins in two of the truck holes. Create a more solid connection between the hardwood and the template using double-sided tape.
- Follow the edges of the template using a router with a flush trim bit or a template. You can also use a compact handheld router like the one at https://www.bestcabinettablesaw.com/palm-compact-handheld-router-review/. You’ll be working against the hardwood’s grains, meaning you can easily crack the wood.
Therefore, be careful and cautious. Position the template on the hardwood in a way that allows you to work consistently with the grain. Work ¼ of your hardwood’s shape at a time for effective results.
- Swap router bits for a 3/8” or 1/4“ round-over to enable you give your skateboard a clean and nice edge.
- Stabilize any knots in the hardwood with some epoxy for a fine finish. Sand it down to flatness once the epoxy is cured.
- Sand down the hardwood to 220 grit. Use a shop vacuum or a tac cloth to remove the saw dust.
- Apply a few coats of Danish oil on the hardwood then two coats of polyurethane, and you’re almost done. The coatings will protect the hardwood from harsh weather elements such as rain and UV rays.
- Some skateboards such as the Haint Skateboards, feature a couple of grip tape strips. It’s a good way to show off your hardwood’s grains and natural look. Consider a full-width orange grip piece if you like. But, make sure you poke holes on it where you drilled the truck holes.
Finally, mount your DIY skateboard on the trucks to slide on the wheels. Voila! It’s ready to ride to your preferred destination. Building your own skateboard is cost-effective and gives you something that’s unique. However, only opt for a DIY solution if you’re hands-on and enjoy making things using your own hands.
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