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In a new challenge for the Great Present Making Project, Middle Son asked for a skateboard for his birthday. I suggested we make one together but he declined, possibly thinking that one of my making projects would last six months and would look and ride like it was made of a barn door.

His younger brother, being less familiar with my project making timescales and perhaps more optimistic about the results, jumped in and asked if he could make one with me, so off we went to the workshop.


Firstly, we found some Sycamore and walnut that had been gathering dust for years in the wood store. Sycamore is a creamy wood, while Walnut is a dark brown that goes even darker when oiled. We played with it for a bit and when Youngest Son had decided what he wanted we glued it and clamped it, then left it for the weekend.


First thing on Monday morning I ran the lot through the planer to smooth it off.


I then had a slight panic because I thought I’d made it too short. I have made some howlers in the past so I’m paranoid about this.

Fortunately I hadn’t, and once my heart rate had calmed down a bit I went on to the next stage.


This is after I’d cut end off my board and planed the main board down to about 15mm, which I was pretty sure was enough to stand up to being ridden on. I spent much too long faffing about trying to get the stripes all lined up before I glued the tail on. Then I hid for several days before finally getting the courage together to undo the clamps.


I further tested the join by sanding down the block at the back to make a smooth(ish) curve for the tail. I did this when Youngest Son was elsewhere as I was not entirely sure this would work.


When the tail didn’t fall off, I sanded the board so it was vaguely skateboard shaped.


Organised people would have marked the holes for the wheels before making the rounded shape of course, so they could use the straight edge of the board and get it just right. It took a bit of jiggerypokery with a engineers square to do the same from the centre line, but I think I got away with it.

After I drilled the holes I didn’t need the machines at work, so I could take the board to my borrowed workshop space on the other side of the city. People still ask me why I have an Xtracycle…


Now that no more machines were involved, Youngest Son could get a lot more involved in the final sanding and shaping…


…a job he took very seriously, working through to the finest grade of sandpaper we had. Then using the back of the sandpaper for the final bit


We were having so much fun we forgot to take any more pictures, so you’ll have to imagine us oiling and waxing the wood and sticking the grippy tape on the top. Beautiful Wife was around to photograph the wheel fitting…


And the first test ride. Youngest Son is delighted and so far the skateboard hasn’t even fallen apart.

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