BY MARK FRAUENFELDER
Last year my 13-year-old daughter asked for a skateboard, so
I gave her my 20-year-old board, which wasn’t seeing much
use. She liked to ride it along the bank of the Los Angeles River,
and I would ride with her on a Razor scooter. But after a while,
I started to miss having a skateboard, and I thought it would
be fun to make one.
I put it off for a few months, until I saw a
video of Lloyd Kahn, the well-known maker
and former geodesic dome guru, cruising
down a gently sloped street ( makezine.com/
go/kahn). He’s 75 years old, and his skating
skills are top-notch. This was the inspiration
I needed to get off my butt and make my
I went online to look for plans. There are
many plans and kits available, but they
seemed overly complex for what I was setting
out to do. I simply wanted a 4-foot-long board
that wouldn’t sag too much when I stood in
the middle of it. My solution was to make a
board with a hump in it.
Here’s how I did it.
3. Clamp. Using every clamp I could find
around the house, I pinched the boards
together. I did not disturb the setup for 24
The next day when I removed the boxes
of books, the 2 pieces of wood stayed bent.
I flipped the boards over, stood on the hump
and bounced up and down a bunch of times
to make sure it could support my weight
without breaking. It passed the test.
1. Glue. I squeezed a liberal amount of Gorilla
Wood Glue on one side of two 48"× 8" lengths
of ¼" Baltic birch plywood. Then I used a
paintbrush to spread the glue in an even
layer. I stuck the glued sides of the 2 boards
4. Mark. I drew a template of the end of the
skateboard using Adobe Illustrator, cut it out,
and taped it to one end of my board. Then
I used a pencil to transfer the shape to the
board. I used the same template on both ends.
Photography by Mark Frauenfelder and Linda Nguyen (Figures A and E)
5. Cut. I cut out the rough shape of the
skateboard using a band saw (Figure C).
Then I sanded the edges.
2. Bend. I suspended the board between
2 bricks placed at its far ends. I set a couple
of heavy boxes of books in the middle of the
board so that it sagged in a U shape (Figure B).
6. Add wheels. I bought a set of trucks and
wheels from Amazon for about $35. I installed
them on the board and tested it out in my
driveway. I discovered that when I leaned into
the skateboard, the wheels came in contact
with the wood. The skateboard would come to
a screeching halt, sending me sprawling.
46 Make: makezine.com/26