How to Build a Wooden Spine Ramp

Written by kay miranda
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How to Build a Wooden Spine Ramp
Make your own spine ramp to practice tricks on. (Close up of a ramp at a skate park image by Jgz from

Spine ramps for skate or bike tricks can be made with scrap lumber. If you don't have any lumber around the house, go to a local home improvement store, lumber yards or construction site to see what you can obtain for the least amount of money. A small spine board is relatively simple to build. The larger the board, the more difficult it becomes to put components together seamlessly. While many tricks themselves involve risk, you want the integrity of the spine ramp to be as sound as possible, decreasing the chance of failure and injury.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • (3) 4- by 8-foot, 3/4-inch plywood
  • (7) 8-foot, 2- by 4-inch studs
  • (3) 4- by 8-foot, 3/8-inch plywood
  • Screws
  • Jigsaw
  • String
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Measure and cut 2-by-4s. Start with 13 3-foot, 10 1/2-inch pieces.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut an 8-foot long 2- by 4-inch board for the transition length. An 8-foot length creates a moderate incline.

  3. 3

    Square the 2-by-4 to the 3/4-inch plywood. Tie a pencil to the end of the transition length 2-by-4 on a 6-foot string and draw the transition frame by using the 2-by-4 as a compass point. The pencil extends from the end of the board onto the plywood and creates a rounded pattern along the plywood as you pull it across.

  4. 4

    Cut the transition frame on the plywood with the jigsaw. Trace and cut out the frame's other side (one for the right side and one for the left).

  5. 5

    Screw the 2-by-4s onto the transition frame to build the spine. Start with the first board at the crescent of the transition between the two frame sides. Screw this plank from the outside of the frame into the plank so the plank remains parallel to the ground. The rest of the 2x4s will be screwed in perpendicular to the ground for additional support up and down the ramp every 8 inches.

  6. 6

    Apply the ramp surface by laying the 3/8" plywood over the spine of the transition created in Step 5. The thicker this plywood, the more difficult it is to bend it along the spine. For ramps carrying lighter loads, you can use a 1/4" plywood. Secure the plywood in place with screws along the edges directly into the 2-by-4 spine planks. Make sure the screws are sunken into the plank slightly. You want the surface to be as smooth as possible.

Tips and warnings

  • To increase the steepness of your ramp, shorten the length of your transition.
  • If your spine ramp needs to bear the weight of several adults or is taller than a few feet, use thicker plywood to withstand the force of landing tricks. Otherwise you may be going through the ramp instead of rolling down it.

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