Friday, 25 April 2008

Easter Board Project - DIY Longboard and MountainBoard

I spent the holidays working on a couple of new boards. The original longboard has had a years abuse and is starting to look pretty ragged especially after a few sessions trying kick flips. The new board was meant to be a progression from the first and a new toy to play with for the summer. The other board is a mountainboard designed specifically for kiting i.e. short, light and 'poppey' Here are some details of the construction process if you are interested.

The original board was 3 sheets of 4mm birch pressed with concave and camber. I wanted something smaller lighter and with much more spring and flex this time round. The blank was produced using the same press but only two sheets of the birch and cut out using the same template albeit with less tail. The press I use is made from 2 sets of MDF formers clamped together with a multitude of clamps, the plys are glued together using Cascamite spread evenly on all joining faces, this was left in the press overnight to go off. The blank comes out holding its shape however the 2 ply blank does flatten out a bit and has come out with slightly less camber and concave than the 3 ply did.

This time round the board was glassed to ensure it didnt snap and give it more spring and pop. I got help from an industrial fibreglass company which was a huge help as the process can get out of hand the first time attempting it. Using 2oz woven roving and polyester resin (Ideally Epoxy would be used as it bonds better to wood) 2 layers were applied to the top and 4 to the bottom. The board is layed down and resin applied with a roller. The first layer of glass is applied on top and another layer of resin is rolled on. Using another 'spiral' roller (dont know the technical name for it) the resin is worked into the glass the idea being to eliminate any air trapped under the glass. This process is repeated for each layer of glass. Graphics were hand drawn previously on the board in pencil but I also had some "Rickman Board" logos printed on to rice paper to put under the last 2 layers of glass. The rice paper becomes invisible leaving a very crisp professional looking graphic. We ended up rushing the process due to time constraints and used a heat gun to get the resin to go off quickly. This lead to air bubbles forming under the outer glass layers. which leaves the board weaker and with much greater risk of delamination. Once the resin had gone off sufficiently the excess glass was cut off using a circular grinder and the board was flipped over and the process was repeated on the other side. If I was to repeat this I would let the resin go off naturally and would tape the rails so that excess resin running on to the other face didnt have to be ground off as this has left a clear difference in surface finish. I would also try to cut off the excess glass with a sharp stanley knife once the resin had gelled to avoid any need of a grinder. The rails were sealed using polyurethane varnish however this could have been done equally well with the resin.

Longboard Mk1 - The original

The resulting board is lush, bouncing on the middle of it and the deck fairly easily hits the floor, it has great spring response making it pump really easily generating loads of speed. The extra flex also gives an extra dimension to turning making even tighter carves possible when needed.

The second board was a new kiteboard designed for use with Revo 'P centre' trucks. The process was the same as with the other board but using 3 sheets of the birch ply to give more strength and pop required for this board. The overall result is quite a stiff positive flex making it very easy to jump, without feeling floppy and giving a very direct input to the trucks. The Revo trucks ride incredibly I personally find them a huge improvement over channel trucks and they look amazing, they arent made in huge numbers which is nice as it feels like you are get something bespoke especially as Dave is able to have your own design engraved on to the face of them (seeing as the soul and energy of this board is coming from Wales I went for a pair of dragons which look mint), considering this they are relatively good value.

Watch this space to see the boards in action . . . . . .

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