Hey all, wanted to make a discussion for people who want to get into making deck. I myself would like to make a deck because I love fingerboarding and making things with my hands. Obviously practice makes perfect but the ideas shared here will at least get people started.
Well well, look at what kind of topic we have here…
I’ll pitch in my two cents, and stay on topic instead of rambling like I normally do.
I can give one solid bit of advice to anyone that wants to try making decks: give it a try, but always remember why you wanted to start in the first place. Some people jump into deck making with the idea to build a company, get their name out there, and “make it big”. And it’s good to have goals for yourself, but don’t let it suffocate you and turn something fun into something tiring and dull. It shows in the decks, take time to try things out and learn progressively.
Well said Brandon
All the basics you need for deck making are already out there. FBHQ and Youtube will show you the path you should start on. Everything else you’ll have to experiment with. There’s no harm in sharing the basics here. After all, a quality deck starts with experience and time.
Veneer thickness starts at 1/42 inches. Figure out thinner and thicker sizes as you keep making boards.
Glue type doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s some good quality glue or epoxy and you lay it thin and let it cure correctly, you’ll have rock solid decks.
Remember to cross-ply your decks. You’ll figure out how long you should let your deck sit in the mold before you can demold it as you get more comfortable with your glue.
Shaping and rounding come from experience. Take the time to learn how to shape a deck with just sandpaper. Don’t go straight ahead and use some special routing template. You won’t hone the skills you’ll need. I’ve learned what kind of board shapes I like just by reshaping old decks with sandpaper. Experiment and make new stuff!
Lastly, you’ll need a 1/16th inch drill bit for making the mounting holes. Play around with other bit sizes or even different tools for countersinking. At the minimum, a 1/8th drill bit will serve you fine for countersinks.
I don’t own a company or anything but I’ve played around a lot with making my own stuff. Remember, all the basics are out there already, it’s up to you to figure out how to make your decks stand out amongst the others.
Thanks for the helpful insight! Personally I have looked into all the basic stuff on YouTube. Just thought the thread would be great for people to talk with each other and ask questions. I see making decks as a creative outlet for those who love to make things with their hands. When I got my first skateboard as a kid I dreamed of being able to make it with my hands one day. While its definitely attainable, making fingerboards woul be just as fun.
I feel you man. A deck crafted from your own hands feels so much better to ride. It’s a placebo effect but I think because of all the time you spend perfecting it, you really start to understand what kind of board you’ve made and how it feels. You really iron (more like sand) out the flaws to make it something that you would be proud to not only ride but show to the world. If you need anything else, feel free to ask!
Very awesome man! You said it all. I’m going to try to make some boards some time soon
Thanks for the Post. <3
Patience. Love. Patience. In North America right now we are seeing an extreme rise in the popularity of fingerboarding. With that there also comes a large wave of “companies” that clearly have just bought the cheapest molds/veneers/etc… and immediately have started posting their first few decks for sale on instagram. I think about how much practice and time I invested in refining my own methods and I sort of cringe when I see people posting decks that are uneven, poorly drilled and even warped. Many go so far as to create their website, add ridiculous prices and haven’t even made a single deck yet. To me, this kind of thing hurts fingerboarding more than it helps. Seems the goal is to have whatever kind of product for sale as fast as possible to cash in with no concern about the effects it is having on the big picture. Anyway, regardless of your intentions with deckmaking you should always practice great patience. Nothing good ever comes from rushing out crap. Also, the best creations always come when there is great love behind it. It’s generally simple for people to see when someone is into something just to cash in. Endless discount codes on their sites, sudden clothing lines before “stock1”, “Should I make, will you buy?” insta posts etc… Personally, It is love that drives me to keep creating. Not potential dollar signs. My opinion is that if more shared that feeling we would see even more great ideas and innovation instead of seeing 50 people doing the exact same thing over and over. Patience. Love. Patience. If you just take your time and be yourself it will show in your work. That is what makes it “your work” Of course this is just my opinion and more of an ethos and not deckmaking advice but I’ll gladly contribute what insight and knowledge I can to the forum when it comes to that kind of thing.
i have a deck making question: does everyone really cross ply? I get why it’s done with skateboards, but fingerboards hardly get any serious flex and i always have the feeling the pop is better with the grain all going one direction…
I always cross ply. It adds strength to the deck. It always makes me cringe when I see someone use all lengthwise plys. Ply wood is also made that way, and it isn’t just because they wanted one grain to go this way, and the next ply to have the grain going the other way for looks.
@McFiver Thank you for this! It is definitely apparent when people are just in it for the money and focus on gimmicks instead of quality. Personally I would want to create decks in the most sustainable way. I would be testing out plies other than maple that don’t have as much impact on the environment. I once had a skateboard with a bamboo top-ply. While it is more expensive it would be worth looking into and testing how it could translate to fingerboarding. I hate to be wasteful so every deck I make will be made with a lot of time and love. Making a load of decks and perfecting your craft takes precedent over starting a company.
Hey man! Your boards are very well known and loved so if its working for you just keep rockin’! For what I make I always use cross plies as it gives me the rigidity and pop that I am looking to achieve. I also work in extremely cold temperatures for 6 months out of the year and I definitely get less warpage which is something I can’t stand. I see a lot of decks with cross plies on the top and bottom though. There is simply no strength there. Especially if the middle ply is cross as well. That is what I call a “snapper”. Can’t wait to see your new work dude!
I try to create in as sustainable a manner as possible too but maple is something I rely on in a serious way. I’m sure other hard woods work just as good but I just use my maple wisely and waste very little of what I have. Most of what I use are scraps from a mill I have contacted and reached an agreement with. Therefore I use the small cutoffs of pristine veneers that would normally be destroyed. Waste isn’t good. This is definitely one of the things that bothers me about a certain, popular, plastic mold being widely used right now. The veneer is sliced so big that you could almost make 2 decks out of it in a proper professional mold. That sort of waste is bothersome but I guess not for everyone. You seem to have a great attitude about making boards man, always good to see that!
I know Izilly used to not cross-ply until Bakko started to encourage him to. Cross plying has become the standard for many people and many view it as amateur deck making if you don’t. Then again you’ve made so many amazing decks with your hands so you have your reasoning for not cross plying. I think that having all the grain run in the same direction allows it to flex evenly which translates to a better feeling pop? While I’d love to not have to deal with having to cut my veneer in two different directions, cross plying does make for a stronger deck.
Thanks for your thoughts on this topic!! I used to do cross plys until i realised that i only do it because they do it in skateboarding. I really didnt see why it should be the same for fingerboarding, especially since its 33mm wide and the forces are minimal… i made a few decks from the same veneer, just 5 plys all maple, with both methods. For me i found that the boards with all lengthwise veneers were stronger and had better pop. Maybe its the glue and molding pressure that made them different for me, a lot of factors going into it haha…
So glad you made this topic, I haven’t made decks since the wood/td mold days but I still have a ton of veneer so I’ve been really thinking about getting a proper mold. I don’t care about making a company, I have always made decks for myself and friends or the odd trade here and there. Personally I used to cross ply purely because of skateboard manufacturing.
The best looking moulds i’ve seen around are CNC machined and look to be made out of titanium or alloy type metals. NFB molds seem to be popular judging from instagram but I feel like that dudes moulds are gonna be a bit too similar to one another and $250 for a mould is seems way to expensive.
I saw Peter’s post on instagram the other day about his Taylor R mold - this seems like a good method to get a cheap and relatively easy to customise mould – I think this is probably what I will try as I am getting no replies from CNC machinists about creating a mould.
Hope thats helpful, everyone else is just talking about patience and practice and whatnot… you can’t practice if you don’t have a decent mould so maybe you experienced deck makers could give some insight into that please?
For me the easiest ways to make a good, long lasting homemade mold used to be using a piece of metal bent into the shape you want and using car bondo to copy that shape. The Bondo hardens really well and the mold can withstand a lot of pressure.
There are some decent tutorials out there:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o8b5cT8KGM (plugfoam is a good idea to make a negative)
Lots of different moulds you can choose from for practice or personal use man. It’s when you want to make the switch to selling decks that I always suggest a proper pro mould. If you intend on becoming a company then a machined metal mold is still the only way to go. NFB moulds are insanely good and if you know exactly what you want in a mould it is created to your specs and while all moulds physically look alike your mould has the features, dimensions and any other small details you want to make your decks exactly like it appears in your mind or on paper. I use crazy pressure to press my decks so metal is the only thing that will survive. My quotes from local machinists have always come in around twice as expensive as an NFB and those machinists don’t really understand what the end product will be so I really feel the cost is well worth it. Bondo has always been fun, I still have a couple of mine kicking around. That’s what I used to practice with when I first started using veneers and not just a single piece of wood. This is just my opinion of course. You do you man. If you have fun and learn from it, thats generally the goal.
When I first read this topic, i was a bit fearful to just waste my time, but fortunately i was wrong, cause almost every post here really has something to say. Thanks for that!
If you start making decks, maybe a 3D-Printed mold is a good alternative between very cheap plastic molds and something like nfb (even though i love my nfb & will never touch anything else ) . I have got a lot of decks from a friend who works with a mold from @fingerboardmolds on insta. The decks are very solid & as far as I understood the mold can be cofigured after your wishes. I don’t know the excat price, but its much less than an nfb.
AS I said I have never touched one personally, but maybe others have experiences with 3D-printed molds?