Deck: Carbon @hummieee core with Ziricote wood veneer.
Enclosure: @bigben single stack with top grain calf leather wrap.
Trucks: flush mount DKP. Total width with cloud wheels 13"/330mm Front. 13.35"/336mm Rear.
Bushings: Riptide pivot cups and Krank combination.
Wheels: 120mm 78a high rebound urethane with foam core crossover wheels. +608RS Bearings.
Battery: 10s4p Samsung 30q
ESC: HobbyWing max current 30A
Motor: 72kv Direct-Drive 1600watt x 2
Protection: Bell SUPER 3R MIPS. Forcefield Sport Jacket 1. Bodyprox Knee Pads. Burton Wrist Guards.
Board total weight with battery: 27lbs / 12.25 kilos
Rider stats: 6’1" 175lbs.
The Acoustic . This build was inspired by my attraction to beautiful ziricote acoustic guitars. Signature ziricote has a grain pattern that resembles stacked rolling hills. It is simply calming to just look at it. I started day dreaming of building an esk8 that looked like those gorgeous acoustic guitars. I was inspired to customize a deck in a way I have never seen before. For the drive train, 2019 was a hot direct-drive motor year for many of us. I knew I was going to build something with DD axial motors for their simplicity in assembly while allowing a wide range of wheel choices. My goal was to build a custom board under a thousand dollars that carved really well, handled standard road vibration well, and was strong enough to tackle any of the hills in my local neighborhoods. Regarding performance, I was NOT looking to build a speed machine, or a torque monster. 99.9% the paths that I ride, the speeds I usually cruise and carve at, and the small hills I encounter do not require a top end beast build. I wanted the build complete with minimal components, keeping assembly simple, and presenting cleeeeaaann. I think defining my Actual use/needs really helped me keep the build at a proper budget. After all, the inspiration was an acoustic guitar…and to me that’s mellow, easy going, and relaxing.
To kick things off, I searched for sources to purchase ziricote wood veneer and found my raw material at https://www.veneersupplies.com. There were so many unique pieces to choose from, it was very difficult to narrow down the choices! But ultimately, I landed on this dual bookmatched set. Each piece is 80 inches long by 6 inches wide.
Signature ziricote has a grain pattern that resembles stacked rolling hills.
Just to be clear, I am NOT a professional wood worker or highly experienced in dealing with these materials. This was the very first time I attempted anything like this. I spent hours scouring the internet, reading and gathering information, until I felt that I had enough information to dive in head first. I definitely made mistakes along the way. I will point those out and share the tips on how i’d do it differently next time. The information I’m sharing here is what worked for me and allowed me to arrive at a finished piece that I ride comfortably and am quite fond of staring at haha!
This is my 6th board but first build thread, and it will be long. I will try to explain the steps I took as clearly and with as much detail as possible. Obviously there is a very wide range of experience on this site and there will be lots of redundant info for many of you. As is the goal for many other threads, this one is written with love to inspire confidence in new builders to tackle their own first time projects! For me personally, I LOVE seeing photos when I read everyone’s build threads. So in an effort to provide a detailed visual experience, this thread will also be photo heavy. I hope you all enjoy!
Before I really knew what deck I was going to veneer, I created some concepts in photoshop to previsualize how my bookmatched raw stock could potentially be used.
You can see over the course of my exploration, carbon fiber was introduced to the equation. (The shape of the deck seen in my mock ups come from the Zenit AB 2.0) Ultimately, the beautifully established @hummieee deck and the perfectly mated @bigben enclosure was the winning choice. Thank you to both of you for spearheading such a great product! We all know that rare unicorn combo is hard to find on call these days…biiiiig shout out to @topcloud for coming through with a “spare” set for sale -Thank you brother!
I needed to widen the battery cutout underneath by about 6mm to fit my samsung 30q battery pack. I routed out the cavity using a simple handheld trim router with a flush bit and TOP side bearing. I created a “fence” for the bearing to run up against by simply taping square dowel to the base of the deck. This allowed the guide to have maximum flexibility working with a concave deck. (The stock edge guide for the router would require a much larger fence to be clamped separate off of the board… which i don’t have.)
***Things to watch out for: I set the bearing and bit too low at first contact… gouged out some sloppy holes haha!
If I were to do this again, I would do the cut out in 4-5 passes…only lowering the router bit slightly each new pass. This way, the router bit doesn’t have to tear at sooo much wood at once. It will be much easier to slide the router bearing down the makeshift guide.
Masked off the walls of the battery cavity and leveled out my mistakes with a touch of resin and painted the bare wood over to help seal any raw wood fibers from collecting moisture over time.
The Veneer Process… I’ll try to be as thorough as possible so that any inspired folks can give it a go! Here’s the full raw piece bookmatched. I referenced this video on properly trimming and bookmatching veneer for curved/convexed guitar bodies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuHFc3BNJYM
I laid the hummie deck on the veneer and ran a pencil line about +1 inch around the deck’s outline. For trimming out the rough outline, I tested utility blades, box cutters, xacto blades, EMT scissors, and Fiskars micro tip pruning snips.
All of the free blades were terribly inefficient and took way too many passes to make a cut all the way through. Both scissors were superior to any of the free blades. At first i went just cutting the bare wood, and would get reallly clean cuts sometimes, and bad tear out other times. I discovered that using clear light packaging tape on BOTH back and front of the veneer allowed me to scissor cut the veneer with very complex curves and prevent all splintering and tear out. Wayyyyy faster and cleaner than doing multiple passes with a box cutter blade or mini saw. The blades also did not work well making curved cuts…Scissors for the win!!
***Things to look out for : The clear packing tape allows you to see through to your pencil outline as you cut. Tape both sides of the veneer where your cut line is. It will keep everything tight and intact as you scissor trim. Do not fully close the scissors tips as you snip. Open them wide and only cut until the scissor is a little past halfway closed, open them and reposition further down your pencil outline and repeat. If you scissor cut alllll the way to the tips of the blades, it will pinch and tear the wood!
I folded my bookmatched veneer at the seam to trim out the center light colored sapwood in one symmetrical mirror cut… Creating a “window” to view the carbon fiber deck underneath, while still keeping a nice trim of the sapwood for light against dark contrast.
I also like the organic “live edge” curves against the industrial geometric carbon weave… Contrast !!! …
Once I had the rough cut, it was time to make sure the veneer and “window” cut out was perfectly centered. Using blue painters tape, I anchored the veneer down temporarily through the middle window to prepare for the precision cut of the final outline.
Working the veneer from the center out toward the nose with hand pressure, I taped and used a white pencil to mark up to the contour with about +2mm give/take to account for veneer shrinkage after the epoxy cured. Rolled up a towel to hold in the veneer at the big concave in the deck as I drew the outline.
… some extra temp chalk lines on the carbon center to help me re-center the veneer quickly again…
***Things to look out for: Make sure you cut slowly as you come around curves, clear tape over the new precise white outline … precut some relief snips perpendicular up to the chalk line to prevent stress and tearing from the hanging cut aways.
When I got to the drop-through end of the deck, the fiskar micro pruning tips were suuuuper helpful for complex curved clean cuts. Just Angled and X’d my way with relief cuts up to the chalk lines. Remember to not close the scissors snips fully.
Veneer all trimmed 1:1 to the final shape.
Masked off the edges to prep the carbon fiber surface for epoxy coat.
Sanding with 320 grit on that perfect carbon surface huuuurt hahaha!
***Things to look out for: Masking the edges of the board, be sure to be really precise on making clean contact up to the edge. Press the tape down well with your fingers or a roller. A good clean seal here will reduce any epoxy drips that will be nuisance to sand off later. Take your time and be anal about laying the tape down. Sanding the smooth surface of the carbon fiber deck will allow the new epoxy layer to bond better. Don’t press toooo hard and gouge at the surface. Just light hand pressure and enough to let the sand paper create a dusty surface over time. No need to go overkill on this step.
Epoxy mixed. I used Maker Supreme Crystal Clear Epoxy and Reusable Silicone mixing sticks and mixing containers.
I mixed about 20 ml but probably only used about 10ml or less. I laid a paper thin epoxy coat on the sanded carbon deck, brushed on with a 3 inch wide fine bristle synthetic brush, then placed the veneer on using my temporary centering chalk lines… Taped the veneer’s edges down all around the body of the deck to prevent it from sliding off center. I then laid “peel-ply” over the wood surface and lightly taped that down around the perimeter as well.
The peel ply should help keep the inside of my vacuum bag clean, and also sop up any light bleed through resin… and finally, I slid the deck into the vacuum bag being careful to not bump the veneer off center.
***Things to look out for : Always do the recommended 5 minutes of hand stirring the resin and hardener together before applying via paintbrush, or foam brush, or roller. They all could work, just focus on thin even coating. It does not need much to bond! It’s always safer to over estimate and mix a little extra epoxy. You can use isopropyl to clean out the silicone containers and mixing sticks, and wipe away with paper towels.
The vacuum lamination procedure was completed using the “Thin Air Press” Roarockit. They sell kits that are specifically sized and shaped for skateboard decks! The hand pump, sealing tape, and breather net is included too! Roarockit
Before the bag is sealed, I laid a black strip of “breather net” that ran across the length of the deck, intersecting the vacuum port… This allows the air to evacuate from all parts of the bag evenly without pockets of space pre-collapsing unevenly. It definitely worked as intended. I was surprised to see that the hand pump cleared the bag to full seal in less than 1 minute of pumping. MUCH faster than i anticipated! I was dreading the idea of continuous pumping for like 15 minutes haha - not the case!
Here you can see how perfectly tight the veneer is being held to the deck. You can also see the 1mm +/- over overhang I left.
*** tips and tricks : Poured epoxy resin from the master mixing pot into this beer bottle cap to check the cure level over time… this way, I can have a reference point to know for sure that the resin is cured, and that it’s ready to pull out of the bag.
I ended up leaving it over night while getting caught up with baby duty. This project was rolling in tandem with my newborn daughter when she was around 3 months old. Needless to say, the time for fun projects are much slimmer these days! Say hello to Adelyn
***Things to look out for: Make sure the baby is fed and has a clean diaper before getting back into the zone with the projects. Feed the wife/spouse too while you’re at. It’s always best to pop in and support your spouse if the baby begins crying. Do not ignore the situation as if the spouse can simply handle it on their own, even if they truly can. This will make future project time easier to get away to because the spouse trusts you’re still paying attention to the baby. Be ready to sacrifice any resin that is mixed and ready to apply, but ultimately not used because of “duties” … ;p
The next morning i pulled it out to see everything had lined up nice around the contours and center lines and cured perfectly solid. There was very very minimal bleed through seen on the top face of the veneer! All the bleed through spots disappeared with 2 minutes of verrrryyyy liiiiiight hand sanding using 100 grit sandpaper.
I used a curved file to tackle any small resin drips around the drop-through truck slots. This tool made it a total breeze to do so!
The next step is to finish it with a top coat. Using the same 2 part epoxy, I mixed another 12ml of resin to do a “soak” pass. It really was not necessary to sand off any of the bleed through spots from my initial vacuum bagging pass, as the next “grain fill” layer of epoxy resin would cover all that up even anyway.
This first top coat eventually soaks into the porous veneer and “plasticizes” it. After it cured overnight, I took 120 grit to it to rough it up for another top coat pass. I poured the resin into the carbon center channel to help build up and level the surface to veneer’s light sapwood edge. This took about 3 thin pour-on and brush passes.
*Things to look out for : When trying to achieve a build up thickness, it is easier to manage and predict the evenness of the layers by going in multiple thin passes. If pouring thick all at once, you end up moving a lot of goop around and the brush strokes become uneven across the surface. The resin will pool in the concaves quicker too, so you’ll have to fight a lot of “running” resin. Be patient and pour thin coats, brush them out evenly with light weight strokes… letting the weight of the big brush do the work… Then once the coat begins to gel a bit, you can mix>pour>brush the next layer.
Spritizing the surface of the epoxy resin with isopropyl alcohol temporarily thins it’s viscosity and helps level out some of the brush strokes. *Things to watch out for : If your resin layer is TOO thin, spritzing the surface of it with isopropyl cause little “dry pools” and “craters” to form.
Once the epoxy top coat was left to cure, it inevitably collected dust, micro bubbles, slight orange peel from temperature fluctuations, and the random tiny flying insect or two (3 in my case)… It is OKAY! The wet sanding with 1000 grit sandpaper will smooth out allllll those surface imperfections.
The final step for completing the veneer is surface finishing pass. I used 2000 grit sandpaper and wet sanded to arrive at a clean level surface. This is then followed up with compound and polish passes for the intended matte or gloss finish.
I was going for the acoustic guitar look. Hence the matte/satin finish i stopped at. I used a 6 inch foam wheel drill attachment with a 12v cordless drill and applied the compound.
For the polish solution, I simply used a micro fiber towel and hand polished the deck in little sections of 6 inch circles, doing a small area at a time across the deck until got from one side to the other. This was a very meditative relaxing process for me haha!
***Things to look out for. When sanding or polishing, be careful not to spend too much effort around the outside edges! The epoxy does not “build up” as thick at the contours. You can very easily sand through your clear coat into the raw wood. When wet sanding or polishing, there is a very obvious white milky solution that forms … as it pools up wipe it away with a different cloth. You’ll know if you burned through your clear coat if that milky white solution begins to look yellowish - that’s wood dust mixing in with the wet epoxy. Here is a very clear workflow to follow (The guitar maker uses Deft clear coat instead of 2 part epoxy but the hand polishing workflow is pretty much what I followed to achieve my finish) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYMYEVShYO0
One major step complete!
ROUTING FOR FLUSH DROP THROUGH BASEPLATES.
The DKP trucks in drop through configuration look beautiful as is… But at a glance, it seems possible to have motor-bite with very deep carving. Routing out the deck to drop the baseplate flush will help create some space between the bottom of the deck and the spinning motor-housing. The top of the deck will present much nicer this way too! Shout out to @Pedrodemio for introducing me to the look!
To begin this task, I temporarily ran 2 bolts through the baseplate and deck to secure it properly. Using the same rectangular dowels from my previous makeshift router guide, I trimmed down 4 pieces to create a “frame” around the exact outline of the baseplate. These dowels were fixed together with a couple blobs of superglue.
With the baseplate still properly anchored in place using 2 bolts through the deck, I laid the frame over it and secured it to the deck temporarily with a liberal amount of painters tape. I now have a “raised fence” for my router bearing to slide against the frame’s inner walls.
***Thing to look out for: Once again, I set my router depth too deep for the first pass and tore away some of the edge as the router tip snagged a big chunk of wood all at once.
It will be much easier to handhold the router in multiple shallower passes without “snagging.” Use good C-clamps to hold the deck to your workbench.
THE ENCLOSURE & LEATHER WRAP.
Nothing like a the fine aged leather shoulder strap on an acoustic guitar! Most the time, you see black nylon straps…But sometimes you see that perfectly weathered, hand oiled, wide leather shoulder strap! I thought I would emulate the accessory by customizing my enclosure with it’s own “leather jacket.” Also something I had never seen before. A big shout out to @bigben for creating this super sleek perfectly mated enclosure! It really completes the Hummie deck so well.
I acquired the leather from an Etsy shop based in Romania.
I used Loctite spray adhesive on both surfaces that were be mated. The spray pattern comes out of the nozzle very much like thick spider webbing. It surprised me at first, as was expecting the typical mist of a spray can haha! In about 10 minutes, the glue gelled up a bit and became semi-dry to the touch.
Now the leather and enclosure was ready to be pressed together.
On contact, both surfaces will bond pretty firmly without the ability to slide and adjust. You can fully peel/lift it and re-lay it, but it is best to be slow and tactical when first aligning the leather.
I started on one edge of the enclosure and rolled it on a few inches at a time.
I used my hands to massage the leather into the contours of the enclosure, making sure to not over-stretch the leather. The popoca was a handy rolling device as well
Once the enclosure leather reached the other end, I used my trusty EMT trauma shears to trim the excess skin, leaving about 1.5 inches (38mm) of material to fold over the lip. For the corners and curved contours of the enclosure, I cut relief triangles to allow the leather to properly lap.
The same adhesive spray was used to bond the lap edges underneath.
Once this step was complete, I laid foam weather stripping around the full contour to cleanly hide the leather lap, and to provide a soft gasket between the deck and enclosure. The material is a dense neoprene rubber that measures 1/8" thick by 2" wide x 3mm thick. (3.17mm thick x 50.8mm wide). It came with a 3M sticky side and laid down simply like tape.
The surface of the leather was hand coated with mink oil. This completely water proofed the leather and water simply rolls off it in beads. I’m looking forward to see it “age” with road debris kick-up. The general self-healing nature of leather when it is conditioned is attractive to me. This is first time i’ve seen anything like so we will see how it fairs over time, It could be a fun thing to give the enclosure a new jacket every year or two haha.
****Things to look out for: Lay out some trash bags or newspaper on your workspace before spraying the contact adhesive. The spider web-like glue is realllllyyyy sticky and will be difficult to clean off of any precious work surfaces. Wear a mask and try not to inhale any of those fumes. I also used gloves to keep my hands from collecting any residue that might contaminate other clean surfaces. Try not to stretch the leather too much as you’re wrapping, It will adhere nice and even, and it will hug contours better if you avoid introducing extreme lateral stress.