Vacuum Pressed "Skimboard" Project

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Forum topic by cleanbeachgroup posted 09-28-2011 12:13 AM 2901 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2398 days

09-28-2011 12:13 AM

Similar to a skateboard, skimboards are made up of several layers of pressed wood that are ridden, kicked and spun on thin water around along the edge of the beach as a recreational board sport. Typically skimboards are similar in length to longboards, but can be as wide as a surfboard.

I found this project and think its really similar to what I want to make…

Please Dont recommend Joe I’ve read every page on the site!!

I want to make a professional grade skimboard, not the “Cut and Bend” kind that are all over the net. I break boards that are not pressed in the skateboard like multi ply PROFESSIONAL fashion.

“Pro” skimboard manufacturers charge a CRAZY AMOUNT $165-200+, I just wanna make my own few boards to ride.

—This variation or style of skimboard is called a flatland or inland skimboard due to its Wood Material, BI-directional shape and constant “rocker” (Term Used to describe the curve the board has enabling it to plane the surface of the water) from tip to tail as well as Side to side.

If you are reading this, I could really use your help. I am FULLY committed to making this project happen, even it it takes me YEARS. I’m not kidding. I have been saving and purchasing the tools to do make these for some time now… I am committed to getting this done and would really appreciate any of your help.

the board I will be making will be about 21” wide by 43” tall and 3/8” to 1/2”thick

I hope to press this out of 5 to 7 plys of 1/16” to 3/32” birch, maple or possibly a more affordable hard wood while I’m still “green” at making these boards. I hope what I wrote makes sense. I am unsure of the thickness of the plys I will use therefore the number I will use is still TBD.

I need help with a few aspects of this project::

Wood selection, How to minimize waste and overspending.

  • Making the mold I will use to laminate the layers of wood into shape: its pretty much a spoon shape.
  • Buying Vinyl to make vacuum bag, Buying used Vacuum Pump
    I want to vacuum press multiple layers of solid wood ply over a mold using epoxy resin to hold a curved shape. I want to figure out the best way to obtain the raw hardwood plys to layup this board.

The issues that I am having with wood selection are:

I don’t think that plys 1/16” thick in come in sizes 21 inches wide

Maple Or Birch? Practice with something cheaper? I will have to complete the MOLD or form first so I still have time to decide.

I think it will probably be necessary to cross- band. I think that I could cut 4/4 Birch or Maple 7” wide lumber. into 3/32” plys.
I looked online and saw about using a band saw to cut your own veneer:
I thought this might be a good way for me to get the thin plys I need and save?

Please HELP!!

  • Making the mold
    This will undoubtedly be the most difficult part for me, I have researched and determined I have two options: build a mold out of wood, or foam. I think Ideally I will have the pieces machined. I have a few sketches I made of the mold I am going to make.. I really want to get them machined so I know I have a perfect curve. I might make one myself for the first few tries though.

  • Getting Vinyl
    I’ve read a lot that upholstery shops are a good place to get vinyl. I was wondering how THICK of vinyl do I need for this process? I am only bending a half inch or less of THIN wood on a curve is very wide only about half an inch. I was wondering If I could save and buy a thinner vinyl to make my bag. I know that, the more you pay the longer it lasts….. I’ve seen online people vacuum bagging carbon fiber on parts with VERY thin plastic?


Buying a Pump. I have seen the cheapy harbor freight ones and would like soothing a bit more legit? I am worried about buying used because seems like some sellers are kind of shady and I don’t know much about the pumps and have NO way of testing them. Id need a vac gauge for that, which I will probably need eventually so maybe ill grab one soon. I am hesitant to buy a used pump on like ebay because it might just not work, or break.

WELL, I know its a lot but I am trying to get this going and SOON! Thanks for reading, I’d love your input. Thanks!

1 reply so far

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1590 posts in 3523 days

#1 posted 10-01-2011 05:57 PM

I’ve got a West Systems vacuum bagging kit that uses a venturi nozzle to create a vacuum with a regular compressor. It works great. I already needed a compressor for lots of projects, and a vacuum pump is a uni-tasker. Check it out. I used it to make a carbon fiber remote control catamaran ( You can order them at any West Marine near you or online. It comes with the parting cloth that absorbs the extra epoxy, the vinyl to tape the “bag” down to the table, and a vacuum gauge to make sure you’ve got the right clamping pressure. I was going to post the item number, but their website is currently down for maintenance. If you order it online, use coupon code 5PZU3 for 10% off, or you can call 1-800-BOATING and talk to customer service. If you get one and it doesn’t fit your needs, you can always return it.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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