My First Skateboard Project

For my first Skateboard build I decided to channel the origin of skateboarding and it’s surf culture to build a custom hardwood cruiser deck.

In order to accomplish this I scoured the internet for resources and found a couple that I think do a great job. First off I came across the book “The Handmade Skateboard” by Matt Berger.

I think that Matt Berger is a great example of the maker movement. Hopefully this project is just the tip of the iceberg and I can find more ways to share my love of art, creating, making and DIY. The best part of the maker movement is when people share their photos, videos and experiences so that others can learn and share as well. I hope that by sharing the experiences in this project I can help someone learn as well.

A couple days ago I stopped over at my local bookstore, grabbed a coffee, and picked up a copy of “The Handmade Skateboard”. As Matt says in the video there are 5 different skateboard deck projects that are laid out in the book. I will be focusing on two of them for this blog. I am however hoping to find alternate sources of similar projects and see if I can’t add to and improve on the design and/or the process. If you want to follow along you can pick up a copy of the book and read the fishtail cruiser section. Like I said before I will be using a couple other resources as well as some of my own ideas to change the design and build slightly but that is where the bones of the project will come from.

For this particular project I also found another great maker movement resource. Bob from I Like to Make Stuff. His youtube channel is full of great videos including one on a very similar longboard project. Check it out below if you’re interested.

There are definitely a couple different techniques Bob uses that Matt doesn’t and vice versa. I like that Bob uses biscuits to strengthen the joints where you glue your separate pieces of hardwood together. Bob also uses a bandsaw which I may try if I can get access to one in time; if not I will use a jigsaw like in Matt’s book. Both Bob and Matt use a hand plane and in fact Matt goes out of his way to mention it in a section of his book called “Real Skatemakers Use Handplanes”. Matt also pays more attention to the detail of how to perfectly place and drill truck holes.

With these two sources as my guide the next step will be designing and building a hardwood cruiser. Since I already own a street deck and a longboard I plan to build a real retro cruiser. Something that harkens back to the days of So-Cal street surfers. My cruiser will be small and agile with big soft wheels for turning. I will base the dimensions loosely on the Penny Skateboard.  A small injection molded skateboard based on the designs of banana boards of the 1970’s. The Penny skateboard has seen a huge resurgence in popularity in the last few years.

Here are the rough dimensions of the Penny Skateboard:



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Here are my design drawings for this project. I plan to a subtle pinstripe in a darker hardwood. Since a hardwood deck is relatively heavy I thought I’d build it on the smaller cruiser design. There is no kicktail because I’m not ready/don’t know how to bend hardwood. I am currently looking at ordering 4″ penny trucks and wheels off the internet to complete the build when it arrives.

Cruiser design

The next step find and purchase wood to start the project. Stay tuned as my next post will be the first hands-on day of skateboard building.

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