How to Make Fingerboards Using the Gator Mold

Written by scott knickelbine
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How to Make Fingerboards Using the Gator Mold
Fingerboards are miniature models of actual skateboards like this one. (Ting Hoo/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

A fingerboard is a miniature skateboard. Although it's small, it's made just like a full-size skateboard, from multiple layers of wood, glue-laminated and pressed into a mould. While an actual laminating press exerts hundreds or even thousands of pound of pressure on the wood, you'll get the job done with a finger board mould from Gator and a couple of C-clamps.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Fingerboard template (supplied with Gator mould)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Small scroll saw or hobby knife
  • 3 pieces long-grained maple veneer, 5 1/4 inches by 1 3/4 inches
  • 3 pieces cross-grained maple veneer, 5 1/4 inches by 1 3/4 inches
  • Wood glue
  • Artist's brush
  • Gator fingerboard mould (GM11 or GM12)
  • 2 C-clamps
  • 6 small bulldog clips
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Acrylic spray sealant
  • Drill with 1/8-inch bit
  • 4 fingerboard wheels with mounting hardware

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut out the supplied fingerboard template with scissors. Trace the template shape onto the five pieces of veneer with a pencil. Cut the shapes out using a hobbyist's scroll saw or a hobby knife.

  2. 2

    Apply a thin layer of glue to one side of all 5 pieces of veneer. Stack the 5 up this way: 1 long-grain (i.e., the grain runs the long way on the veneer), 1 cross-grain (the grain runs the short way across the veneer), 1 long-grain, 1 cross-grain, and finally 1 long-grain. Align the pieces so they are flush on all sides.

  3. 3

    Place the glued veneers on top of the bottom half of the Gator mould, so the ends stick out evenly on both sides. Place the top half of the mould over the bottom half. Place the two C-clamps so that they are on either side of the flat portion of the mould. Slowly tighten the clamps, taking a few turns at a time on each clamp, until the mould halves are tight together.

  4. 4

    Clamp the rounded ends of the board together using three bulldog clips on each side. Wipe off any glue that has squeezed out. Allow the glue to set overnight.

  5. 5

    Remove the fingerboard deck from the mould. Place it so that the rounded ends -- the "kicks" -- are bending upward. Place the template on top of the deck and trace the holes for the wheel mounts onto the deck.

  6. 6

    Drill the 8 holes through the deck, using a 1/8-inch bit. Drill through the top of the deck.

  7. 7

    Sand the edges and flat portions of the deck smooth with fine sandpaper. Then seal both sides of the deck with spray acrylic sealer.

  8. 8

    Install the wheels on the board according to manufacturer's instructions.

Tips and warnings

  • To give your board a real laminated wood look, stain the cross-grained pieces of veneer a darker colour -- walnut or cherry, for instance -- before gluing them together. Just make sure the stain has completely dried before you glue the veneer up.
  • You can apply colour graphics to your board by printing them on clear pressure-sensitive stock and sticking them to the top of the deck before you apply the sealer coat. Or print them backwards on iron-on transfer stock and then use the tip of an iron to transfer the graphic to the deck before you seal it.
  • For a completely authentic look, you can stick black abrasive tape or emery paper to the top of the deck, to give it a non-slip surface like that of real skateboards.
  • It is important to apply thin, even coats of glue to the veneer before you clamp it. This ensures that the veneers bond together completely and minimises the amount of glue that squeezes out the sides.

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