Every now and then I do something a little different, mostly because my interest has been piqued and also because it challenges me to see if I can do it. I see it as one of the bonuses of what I do, being able to set aside a little time to try out different things using the mix of skills I have. Sometimes someone asks me to make something for them or to help them make something.
A friend of mine would really like to make a Californian Longboard Deck (its a type of skateboard that is built more for cruising than for doing tricks and stunts, the ‘deck’ is the board part that you stand on) and he asked if I would help him to make it. I know very little about skateboards, and I have never been able to stand upright on one, well I couldn’t the last time I tried which was when I was about 10 I think! Having looked at a couple of videos on how to make them I agreed, we’re just waiting now for him to buy the metal bits i.e. wheels and stuff (technical term that) as you need those before you start making the deck.
Anyway long story short his birthday was coming up and we still hadn’t made his skateboard, so I decided that I would make him a mini Californian Longboard as a gift. I hoped that he would like it and also see the funny side at the same time.
I didn’t even realise that there was such a thing before I decided to try to make one. Once I did a little research I discovered that there are quite a few out there, you can even buy ramps for doing tricks on and they are known as ‘Finger Boards’ as they are designed to be ridden by fingers. I couldn’t find any longboards though.
The great thing about those available out there is you can remove the wheels and supports from the deck, this lets you change the wheels as you like and also change the deck as you want to, very handy in my case. In the end I bought a Tech Deck Finger Board just to get hold of the wheels etc.
Rather than make the deck out of one single piece of wood I got together some strips of different woods and cut them to various widths and a constant thickness. Then I played around putting different colours of wood next to each other to get different patterns, I got a little carried away at this point and made up 10 sets big enough to take the shape I had drawn out. The one that I made up into a deck is mahogany-maple-walnut-maple-mahogany and I think it works well.
The whole board is 12cm long and you can see that it fits quite nicely onto my hand, it also moves well. I was really pleased with the result.
So now you’re wondering what he thought of it? When I gave him the board he was really pleased with it and it was totally unexpected.
If at some point we get around to making the full size Californian Longboard deck I will let you know how we get on.
Jutta M Stiller is a wood carver and sculptor specialising in Netsuke and Couture frames click here to subscribe to her newsletter ‘Tales From the Woodcarving Bench’ .