Building a Hand Made Snowboard on Vancouver Island – Volume 1

Hey guys and girls,

Welcome back to the next episode of the tales of Tommy Tucker!!

Hopefully everyone is starting to think at least about the upcoming winter. I know I am as its raining and i’m wishing that snow was falling rather than water!

I am going to be writing about building snowboards this week so enjoy knowing a bit more about what is involved with the manufacturing/building of that plank or wood we stand on and slide downhill.

A few friends of mine Evan & Angie recently bought a snowboard press from a private snowboard builder in Vancouver and have been building and playing around with a whole load of things as far as building snowboards. Learning how different woods, different glues and all sorts of thing adapt how we ride our boards. I was lucky enough to be invited to build a snowboard with them so I thought I’d share with you the process involved.

Obviously one thing you have to bear in mind is that these guys are not a massive manufacturing company like Burton, these guys have one press, two people who are passionate about what they do and a wealth of knowledge that you lose when you have an assembly line style manufacturing plant.

First of all we have to decide is what wood to use for our core, generally all snowboards are based around a wood core with differing amounts of fibreglass, epoxy, carbon fibre or kevlar depending on the board. All of which make a difference on how a board rides, feels and performs.

In this board core we chose to use Yew, Red Cedar and Yellow Cedar, wood that is generally associated with the west coast of Canada which is obviously where we are based. So what we need to do is hand pick the bits of wood we want to use and cut then into stringers and cut them into lengths and lay them out on a table.

Here is where we chose in which order we put the wood eg. yew in the middle then 2 stripes of yellow and 1 of red. This is where it gets very technical and I wont go into it a great deal otherwise this blog will turn into an essay. This is where Evans great knowledge of what he is doing comes in and we decided on what we did.

So we lay all the wood out spread glue on every piece and glue together with clamps and leave for 24 hours, I suppose its time to wait (indulge in a few barley pops)! Now what we need to do is add the wood for the sidewalls of the board, first we cut out the shape of the base and then cut and add the sidewall wood and clamp again. Wake up in the morning and here we go again, now is time to plane the board down so it is at the right thickness. When we plane we taper the ends, using a customizable jig, to be thinner at the tip and tail so that the board is more flexible at the ends otherwise it would be unrideable. Once again how much we plain down the thickness depends on what we want the board to ride like… generally the thicker the stiffer. The dimensions and choice of species result in the “feel” of the board. Then we glue the sidewalls to the board and leave it clamped overnight again.

So here is the board out of the clamps and here is what is done up to this point… as you can see all the wood is lined up and the sidewalls are glued on and now on to the next steps.

So that’s it for now, check back in soon to find out the next steps…

For those of you returning to my blog heres my joke…

Why was 7 scared of 8?

Because 7 8 9!!!

Check in soon…

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