Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to Make a your own Skim board

This tutorial will teach you how to make a skim board, it can be a wood or a foamie. For those that doesn't know the difference about a wood skim board and a foamie skim board, well wood is best for flat land and foamie is best at wave but you can also use it in flat land . Wood is more heavier while foam, well its much more lighter and more buoyant in water. In making skim board, wood is cheaper in its materials and easier to make. For a beginner and want's to build a skim board I suggest for a wood. Also wood is good if your a beginner and wants to learn how to skim board.

For starter you will need all of this materials:

For Wooden Skimboard
  • 2'x4'x3/8" sheet of plywood (see full specs below) - for wooden skimboard

For Foam Skimboard
  • 3/4" EPS sheets (that are sold for insulation)
  • 1/4" solid hardwood for your stringer
  • Epoxy, tacky glue, Elmer's glue, Gorilla glue - anything that won't melt your foam
  • 6oz fibreglass
And for both
  • a Jigsaw ( or hand saw if you want to work a lot harder)
  • Card / Paper for the size template
  • 1 pencil
  • 1 Belt Sander
  • Paint / Airbrush of your choice if you want a design on it
Now that you got the materials needed. Let's get to work

With the wood the hardest part is usually getting a clean line and finding a good shape. With foam it's basically find some, glue in a stringer, cut out the shape and turn down the rails all the way around and glass (which is the hard part). On the wood boards, you can get away with varnish if you take good care of it, just do enough coats so you don't see wood texture on most of the board (usually three coats).

Ok, onto the actual making. Go to your local hardware store , somewhere that will sell you a 2'x4'x3/8" sheet of plywood. The higher quality it is the longer your skimboard will last - don't be tight - put your hand in your pocket! Choose a piece that has the grain running the long way of the board, no big knots, smooth grain, and no chunks taken out of it.

Tracing and Cutting the Shape

It is very important to get this stage of the skimboard construction right or your skimboard will not perform well. When measuring it is a good idea to double check everything - before cutting! The process is pretty similar for both a wooden and a foam skimboard.

For Wood - Create your shape and make a template out of card based on your desired board shape. Trace the template onto the wood and then with a jigsaw cut out half. Take that cut half and trace it over the other side to make sure both sides are symmetrical, then cut out that side with the jigsaw.
For Foam - It's basically the same thing as the wood but you want to find a 1/4" solid hardwood for your stringer. Get some 3/4" EPS sheets and glue it on either side of your stringer with about 1" nose rocker for the generic board, and if you really wave ride well thin out the nose a 1/4" adding rocker and add another 3/16" to the tail.

Use glue that won't melt your foam, and wait until it dries before going any further. I find if you cut the stringer out, glue it to one half of the board and tape it to that, you can wait until that's mostly dry and then tape on the other half and it comes out ok.

Your stringer should probably just be a 3/4" wide rockered strip of wood, unless you're really a stick and tiny, you might want to thin it out some, but 3/4" is generally ok.

Your shape is now complete. Now it's time to work on the foil, edges and rails.

Creating the Rocker, Foil and Edges

For Wood - Once it's all cut out, look down the rail and see where the natural rocker is going, sometimes I'll do it opposite if they're going to get lots of use, but to keep it simple use the natural rocker in the board (there should be some). If it has less than say 1/8" rocker in the nose, you want to do a high displacement foil, if it has more you can go with less and don't have to do the displacement thing.

To do the nose foil, get a belt sander and for a high displacement foil take off maybe 1/4" three or four inches from the nose on each rail (this is on the bottom side) and maybe only 3/16" at the very tip. Foil this getting less and less towards the tail, and only go maybe a foot, foot and a half at the most down the rail or almost to the wide point. At the wide point you can either tuck your rails, round them out, or if you have lots of experience then keep them hard.

To do a tucked rail, run the belt sander along the rail until you've taken off about 1/16" from the bottom, but keep the entire width of the board about 1/4" from the bottom. Kinda hard to understand but it's almost done.

If you didn't round them out or tuck them, just leave them how they are and if you want to sharpen them, round out the upper side of the rail all the way around the board (except for where you foiled the bottom) and round them down to the bottom edge and you have maybe a 60-65 degree angle on them if you drew a straight line but the curve pretty much follows it. Bottom tail, for more release you can round out the very back of that, like the interior of a swallow tail on the bottom side or just the very middle on the back of a round tail or squash tail board. Smooth the whole thing down with 100 grit and then 150, sign it, and it's ready to paint!

For Foam - Round out the rails in the front foot or so for most people, if you're experienced you might want to keep your edge all the way to the nose but just turn down your rails all the way around and start thinning from about six inches in.

Your skimboard is now looking pretty tidy if you do say so yourself (unless you have made a stuff up somewhere!). It's time to complete the beast.

Painting and Finishing 

The shape of the skimboard is done, the edges are smooth and you are starting to get all excited! Now lets crack on and finish the board. Make sure you pay attention and create a great finish.

For Wood - If you want to paint your board now is the time. You can just use spray paint, airbrush it, or use something else waterproof. To varnish your board, use a marine spar urethane, and make sure the rails get varnished well. Very important, if not they'll start sucking up water because of the ply and then your board will suck because it's waterlogged. Again, about three coats per side and you're done.

For Foam - You can airbrush, but can't use spray paint because it'll melt the foam, so you might just want to leave it white. Glass the bottom with a 6" wide strip of 6oz glass down the stringer, and over that another layer of 6oz lapped three inches to the deck. Glass with epoxy so your board won't melt when you try and glass it.

On the deck, lay down another strip down the stringer of 6, and put a layer cut at about an inch from the rail over that, and on top of that get all your scraps and pile them where your feet are going to be on the board. This really helps with the pressure dings, just lay all the pieces out where your feet go, the edges will disappear so it doesn't matter if they look funny but it really does help.

After your laminate, (do this before you glass the deck too), you really want to get a good new sharp sureform and take down any lumps or anything and then sand everything even ( the smaller bumps) and then hotcoat by adding just another coat of epoxy to fill in the little holes made by the cloth. When that's done, you can sand it, or leave it how it is and that's done too.

So there you have it. You just made your very first own skim board. I got two skim board, a woodie and  a foamie. Here are the two finished product. Love a design with a ray, look's like a Japanese theme.



I also have tutorials for skim boarding. Click here to view.


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