Unconventional Longboard Built From Single Slice Of Tree

Typically, skateboards and longboards are made out of many laminated layers of wood. This gives them a pleasing flex that produces a comfortable ride. However, it’s not the only way to do things. [DesignCo] went for an unconventional design, using a large slice out of a tree instead.

The benefit of using a section of tree trunk for a board is that it has a very attractive look with all the rings visible. To turn it into a board, it was first roughly cut to shape, before being planed down to a uniform thickness. Further shaping was then achieved with the use of a flap wheel on an angle grinder. The wood was finished with several coats of tung oil before being given a final seal with matte lacquer. A solid steel tail was then prepared to match, shaped with an nice curve and with two bolts screwed in. These bolts were then epoxied into the board, joining the two, and trucks installed underneath.

The final build looks stunning, and is ride-able too. It’s likely a little slipperier than a board with grip tape, and it probably wouldn’t handle bumps as well as a traditional design. Long boards are rarely about performance anyway, though, and this board looks like great fun to get around on.

We’ve seen non-traditional longboards before, too. Video after the break.

21 thoughts on “Unconventional Longboard Built From Single Slice Of Tree

  1. While it looks beautiful and exhibits superb craftsmanship, this thing is going to break at the most inconvenient time. Vibration alone is going to find the weaknesses of that grain and at that point, it’s over. That’s one of the reasons that multi-angle laminate was given to this application, to reinforce the weaknesses in wood grain.

    I feel the design would have been better served with a decorative laminate layer… for safety. Constructing a custom laminate layer from raw wood would have been equally challenging and educational on a technical level, as well. Wear your padding equipment, rider.

      1. Until the late 70’s, grip tape wasn’t really a thing… banana boards and other decks were given what effectively was knurling to increase traction. It was horrible, but it worked, after a fashion.

        Of course that wasn’t attempted in this build.

    1. Furthermore, I think this design lacks in “flex” of the board.
      Conventional longboards use laminated wood and fiberglass to exactly dial in the stiffness. Using a big chunk of wood makes it inflexible and stiff.

    2. And even if you’re adamant about making a solid board rather than laminating, that’s the most fragile orientation you could choose. That’s why you’ll never see a solid bookshelf with that orientation either.

      But it does look pretty.

    3. > the weaknesses of that grain

      It doesn’t actually look all that bad, since the wood is cut across the grain at an angle, so the rings go around the board. It’s got grain going lengthwise and sideways, but also circling around the perimeter so there’s no obvious point where it could crack on the outer edge and propagate all the way through.

      1. Being one monoblock layer, any one of those grain lines could fail; any crack would propagate without the mechanical advantage laminates provide. ALL wood has weaknesses, particularly along grain lines. It’s an innate property of the material. The grain itself isn’t just a color disparity, but delineates differences in density and structure. This creates a problem in applications where vibration is an issue, as shock propagation will create mechanical stress in the non-uniform material boundaries leading to cracks. It happens with wood, steel, anything that isn’t uniform. Some species fare better than others, but it always remains – thus self-reinforcing mechanical innovations such as laminate plywood was invented.

  2. This looks like yet another example of “aesthetics” over “functionality” given that the choice of orientation of the wood grain is the weakest possible given the nature of the loads but was instead chosen because it displays the beauty of the wood rings.

    Interestingly enough, wood on end-grain as shown has dimensional stability near to that of cast iron (any swelling will be in the horizontal plane for that board) but it’s literally “laminated” in the vertical plane which means all bending forces are going to peel the layers apart.

      1. short grain. wood fibers hold together well in the direction of the tree trunk, but pull apart more easily in a radial direction. up close, they look a bit like a bundle of sticks, and behave a little like that too. tug along the sticks, the bundle holds. tug across, the sticks pull apart.

        =========== vs ////////////////////

    1. > (any swelling will be in the horizontal plane for that board)

      Notice that it’s not cut 90 degrees across the grain, but at a very shallow angle to get that grain pattern. The fibers are actually close to being horizontal.

    1. There’s not a single straight reference edge on that slab to work against. That’s as good as you’ll get it, then you just have to sand the rest or fill the gap with wood dust and glue.

  3. This piece of timber looks more like a branch from the main tree. Notice how the “growth rings” are not even width within a ring, i.e close at the nose of the board and wide at the tail. The width within each ring is usually fairly consistent, affected by environmental factors in that growth cycle. The “rings” will most likely go through at shallow angle to the deck , not perpendicular , giving some strength.

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