Shaping your own dream board…on a smaller scale

I need more practice before I take up board shaping, but that doesn’t stop me from imagining about making a board. With a scroll saw, craft wood, and some acrylic paint, I can have a bit of fun and make an inspiration, whether I’m near the ocean or far inland.
Before Starting: Like my hero Norm Abrams says: please read all safety precautions on your equipment prior to use, exercise care, and wear safety goggles!
For this project, I used 1/4″ craft basswood that I picked up at my local hardware store. If you really want to go crazy real, get some thicker wood, steam it over some large diameter PVC tubing to set a rocker, and get ready to sand like mad. For this, I had an old school plank in mind. I don’t recommend craft Balsa, since is doesn’t take full on painting very well without warping, but plywood would work OK.
First, I made a template by taking a piece of paper and folding it in half. I drew out a simple shape for half a longboard, envisioning the fold as the stringer line. This is where you can have fun with whatever shape you’d like to try. Cut out the shape while the paper’s still folded, open the shape up, and see what you think. If you need to make tweaks, refold the paper and trim so the shape keeps symmetrical. Once you are happy with the shape, use the paper shape to trace onto the basswood. This one’s around 10 inches in length:

Tracing the shape onto the basswood

Next, I cut out the shape on the scroll saw using a fine toothed blade and went slow to minimize rough cuts since the shape’s so small. I also tried to keep a bit outside the marked trace line so if I wobbled while cutting, I could redeem myself with the side sander without losing too much size.
I cut out a couple of pieces on the scroll saw, a fish shape in 1/8″ plywood (meant to be displayed flat) and the plank in basswood:

After rough sanding on the side wheel sander, I hand sanded the basswood with a medium grit sanding block like you’d find in the painting section of a hardware store. I sanded the edges to get rid of the harsh angle and give the rails a nice soft edge. I even sanded under the nose and tail a bit to thin out those areas just slightly since the basswood had some thickness to work with. I used finer grit- you can use 250 to 300- to make the final finish. Don’t go nuts, it’s going to be painted anyway.
I painted the entire plank with a basic artist’s acrylic in a reddish brown to simulate redwood. I used a dry brush since it gave it a pseudo-grain effect. I didn’t put a stringer in since it’s a plank board.

I had to add a little flair the the deck, so I painted a design on the deck with acrylic paints. I was thinking plumerias would be quite Hawaiian.

Painting in progress using paint pens, acrylic paints, sharpies, etc.

Finished painting

After completing the painting, I put a coat of clear satin varnish on it to seal the paint on and keep it from getting scratched up too much. I like to use those cheap sponge craft brushes to put the varnish on. If you put more than one coat on, let the coats dry 15 minutes between.
Since I wasn’t going to hang the board directly on the wall, I wanted to have fun and add a little skeg, so I went back to the scroll saw and cut a piece freehand from the 1/8″ plywood.

Little skeg unpainted and unmounted

I gave the skeg a base coat of color before attaching it to the board. I used my favorite glue- E6000 industrial glue- to glue the skeg onto the board. After letting the glue dry, I gave the skeg another paint coat, then I painted a small coat of satin varnish on the skeg and base with a small paintbrush to seal it.

And now, here’s Wilbur to model the finished board…..

Deck side
Bottom side
Don’t even think about it man!!

Stay tuned….if I can get the board back from Wilbur, I’ve got a neat way to display your board art coming up!
In the meantime, go hug and thank your local shaper and glasser- they work hard!

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