This is my first post in quite some time, as many things have eaten up my free time – namely fatherhood, increased work responsibilities, and a worldwide viral pandemic that we’ll be telling our grandkids about.
Between all these strange life-changing moments, I decided I needed to get some more exercise, and relive some of my youth at the same time. So I did the rational thing, and made a skateboard.
As I used to skate a decade ago, I thought it would be worth getting back on the old plank, but my busted up old setup needed lots of attention – basically starting from scratch.
My old board had been beaten about and well used previously, but after 10 years in a garage that had seen some very wet winters, it was in poor shape. The only thing of use left were my old fracture trucks, so I went looking for how I could rebuild it on the cheap. The bushings needed replacing as they’d gone brittle, so I picked up some nice green medium bushings for around £4, some green 99A urethane wheels for around £6, and a set of ABEC 7 bearings – again around £6. After stripping and rebuilding, I had a fresh set of trucks ready to break back in.
To add a bit of artistry to my endeavor, I thought I would get a blank deck and make something truly custom. After a bit of shopping around, I found some blank decks available on AliExpress – made from the finest Chinese maple, and a steal at only £12 including shipping.
Now, I’m not expecting this to last as long as a “real” deck from a decent woodshop, made of Canadian maple, but as I’m only relearning I thought this would be good enough for a while. And it’ll save me some cash if I find out I’m just too old to skate! A couple of coats of white paint later, and I’m ready to get artistic!
As I’m a new father, I thought I would get my very young son to assist in my designs, so we made some templates of his hand prints out of cardboard.
After making the deck nice and white, and with plenty of hand-print templates from Category Jr, I started doodling some random multi-colour scribbles with a sharpie. Once I’d made my little doodles, I stuck the hand-print templates on with some blu-tak, ready for the next paint layers.
With “all hands on deck” (ha!), I started spraying the board green, to match my new bushings and wheels.
After leaving that to dry, I took off all the templates and gave the whole thing a good few layers of acrylic clear coat.
With my custom green deck finished, I decided the ultimate finishing touch would be some matching green grip tape to make it really stand out. The green grip tape cost £5, and I did a pretty good job applying it after all these years – only a few little knicks around the edge of the board, and no bubbles at all. I chucked on my new trucks with some black hardware, but two red bolts matching the bearings to show me which end is the front.
And there is my final custom board, ready to ride! Personally, I think it looks awesome, but I’m always more attached to things I’ve created. Do you like it?
My total outlay was:-
- Blank Chinese deck – £12
- Spray paint/clear coat/sharpies – about £10 as I still have plenty left
- Green 99A wheels – £6
- ABEC-7 bearings – £6
- Green medium bushings – £4
- Green grip tape – £5
- Black/red hardware – £2.50
All in, I spent roughly £45 on a new deck – not the cheapest, but less than I’d spend on just a Powell/Blind/Enjoi/Revive deck – and my investment included everything else but the trucks.
Now this board was finished last year, I have just been way too busy to write a blog post. Seriously. But I’ve skated it a few times, and it rides well, but the bushings are still being broken in. Between my new responsibilities as a father, the awful weather this winter, the coronavirus lockdown, and my rolling my ankle pretty bad on my last session, I have not ridden it nearly as much as I would like. But the act of creation is as satisfying as the act of usage in my book.
But I have busted some sweet pop shove-its, not bad for someone in their mid-30s who hasn’t skated in a decade!
In the words of /esg/ :-
“YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO SKATE, SO GO OUT AND SHRED!!! YOU’RE NEVER TOO FAT TO SKATE, SO GO OUT AND SHRED!!!”