Making your own snowboard requires a lot of skill and some special tools, but after you learn the basics, you can improvise using different tools and different types of wood cut in different ways to create your own custom board. Computer programs can give your dimensions for nose and tail width, shape and size, but experimenting is a good place to start.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Sheets of plywood (maple, birch or other)
- Press and heat source
- Adhesive or epoxy
- Plane or grinder
Cut a rough shape of your board from sheets of plywood. Leave extra space on the nose and tail. You can use thick sheets up to 1/2 inch or sheets as thin as 1/4 inch. Either way, you will need to cut the sheet and grind it down to the thin width you desire. If you are using multiple kinds of wood, you will need to glue them together. Most snowboards are very thin, 1/4 inch or thinner, so a higher-density hardwood, like maple, is bes.
Place the rough cut of your board into a heat press to shape the nose and tail. If you don't have a professional heat press or wood press, improvise. Set the nose on a form you pre-cut in the shape of the curve you desire or a pipe if precision isn't a big deal, and use a heat gun to heat the wood while you press the body down with breeze blocks.
Press your board until it conforms to the shape you desire. Give the board some uplift, or a slight bow shape in the body.
Analyse your nose and tail curves for precision. Make sure the two curves are identical. For the most precise results, cut two similar forms and use similar weight and heat sources on each end. Study it from all angles and repress if needed.
Cut the board into the final shape. Make markings on your plywood starting from the beginning of the curve on the nose and tail. Measure them several times to be sure you have an even amount of nose and tail on the curve area and that the transition is similar on both ends.
Sand the edges until you have a soft curve and flat bottom, then add your edges. If you are using two or three different types of wood cut vertically, glue them together. If you are using a layer of very thin wood, glue all the sheets together with an adhesive.
Apply a thick, even coat of base wax by melting it and applying it with a scraper to the base.
Tips and warnings
- You also can add edges, but it's a good idea to buy them from a supplier and follow the instructions for attaching them to the base. Edges aren't necessary for homemade boards.
- Using several vertically cut pieces of different types of wood is more complex, but this approach can give your board a different type of flex. Build a board with only one type of wood first so you can learn how to bend the wood and how to fit the whole thing together.
- Be careful when using a heat source and keep it away from epoxies or anything else that is flammable.
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