Making A skimboard!

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Making a wood board is a far easier endeavor than making a foam board.  Since I have never made a wood board and don't really know that much about it, I cant tell you very much.

-  Obviously you are going to need a piece of wood.  What kind of wood you ask?  I don't know.  But I have been told that mahogany plywood is best if you are not going to coat it with fiberglass and birch is pretty good for boards that are going to be covered.  3/8 & 1/2  inch thicknesses are common.

-  After you find your piece of wood, you are going to want to shape it.  First you are going to need to figure out what shape you want.  I recommend making a trace of another board that you like onto the plywood.  After you do this you can just cut it out if you want to make a "replica" of the other board or you can make slight adjustments to the shape as you see fit.  Once you are *sure* you have traced out the shape you want, cut it out.  Assuming you were able to cut it out smoothly, you can now begin shaping.  Shaping consists of rounding off the rails and making sure all the edges make nice smooth curves.  There are many different types of rails and picking which kind is best for you can only be accomplished through trial and error.

-  Next you want to put some rocker into it.  Rocker is the 'skim' name for the curvature in the nose (if you don't know this, please just buy one :)  ).  The first step is to soak the board in water for one or two days in water.  This softens the board up so that it is flexible.  The best way to actually add the curvature is to use clamps.  Lay the board on a table of some sort.  Place a piece of wood (or other hard object) about 1 inches thick under the nose.  Then clamp the board to the table.  It would be best to use another piece of wood on top of the board to get the rocker to be even all the way across.  Don't clamp too hard cause it will crack the wood!  Leave the board for 2 days or so to dry.  An alternative method is to put suspend the board by putting blocks under the nose and "tail".  Then put a heavy weight in the "middle" of the board to bend it a little.  The amount of rocker can be adjusted by adjusting the height of the blocks.  Leave it overnight or longer. 

-  Finally your going to want to coat it with something to keep the water out.  Waterlogged boards suck.  Even wood ones.  I've heard of people using all sorts of stuff to do this.  You can glass it with a layer of 6 ounce cloth or just coat it.  I would use some type of resin for a coat only approach.  Preferably a polyester based resin (not epoxy).  You can generally find resin at a marine or aircraft supply store.  Once you have the resin just brush it on in a thin coat and cover everything.  If you are using fiberglass you may want to put a sealer on top of the fiberglass as well.  You may also consider doing this only on the bottom.  When its done, sand out the imperfections in the coat and presto, a wood skimboard.

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