Blog & Interesting Gear

Wood Burning Pattern

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So I decided to try my hand at wood burning patterns, using an electric wood burner/engraver and am really pleased with how it, the tree, turned out – the “HD” was already there, I added the tree,
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I used a basic stencil for the outline of the tree, matching the starting trunk width with the HD logo, and one of the leaf-shaped wood burner bits to do the leafs.
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The deck was then covered with clear grip-tape; which, although sold as ‘clear’ is really just opaque and lessens the impact of the burnt wood design. Less than ideal, but the small board needs grip, especially when it is wet out. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for practicality.
Not particularly hard, but worth taking the time over as there is no erasing option. Now to do a different design, probably a bumble bee, on the underside.

BoardUp – folding longboard

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Got to play on a good friend’s new board, an interesting folding longboard from BoardUp.

I was initially quite sceptical about how good it would be, but was happily surprised – the folding mechanism was great and worked really well, but more importantly the board was fun and stable. There was a lot of flex in the board, but nothing that spoiled the ride or control. Not a board I would want to downhill race on, but this is for urban cruising and worked just fine.

I was puzzled as to why it comes with traditional kingpin trucks (TKP) and not reverse kingpins, plus the ABEC9 bearings felt cheap and were not as free running, under stress, as they should be IMO; but that is easy to fix.

Overall I was impressed and would happily own and use one. Well done BoardUp pulling the idea off.

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Hecs Decks Fish Arrives

My Hecs Decks Fish, well that’s my name for it until Hector comes up with a real name.

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Beautifully made with a bubinga topping and bottoming, with two walnut layers (yes, I am watching great British Bake Off right now). Lovely balance of stiff over flex.

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Walnut in the beautiful layering

I put on some spare 180 Paris V2s and my Hawg Mini Monsters. The 180s are a little too wide and will get some 165s for it long term. Will also Lucid spray-grip it.

Very pleased; thanks, Hector.

Ordered New Deck: Hecs Decks

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Sometimes the stars align and you have to seize the day (to mix as many metaphors as I can) – I contacted a few makers over the last few days looking for a new deck with a single or double kicktail, including the small UK maker (are we supposed to call small makers “boutique makers”?) Hecs Decks, who shared that they have just started making an evolution of their short cruiser; yet to be named, but with a kicktail. So, hey, seize the day and ordered one with a gloss Bubinga finish. 🙂

hecs decks hector

Details from the very helpful Hector (hey, just got it: Hec’tor):

  • 835mm length (33″) with a wheelbase of 505mm.
  • Big round tail with a mellow angle.
  • Mellow concave which curves towards a peak just forward from the centre of the board.
  • 12 ply with thin layers (“so that it’s stiffer”)

Photos of his stunning walnut first cut (and what convinced me).

Have a spare set of Paris 180cm V2s and some 4President wheels to try on it when it arrives, but may drop down to some slightly narrower trucks. Will see what it is like before deciding on what to do with the face/top; which is probably just leave it and only ride it easy and dry, like the Hackbrett, although I do have some ideas on fancy grip patterns after gripping the Kaliber.

So that’s a Zenit AB, a Jungle Board pintail and now a Hecs Decks all to come and join the growing family collection… wupps 🙂

 

Decks with a kicktail

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Time to find the next deck… it struck me a while back, while negotiating up a small pavement, that none of the longboards we have currently in the family have a nice big kick tail; hence, time to search for one. Classic skateboards excluded, it is interesting that most longboards rarely have them, especially when you consider how many longboards are used for simple urban cruising.

Some of the big US makes, like Arbour, Landyachtz, and Mindless, make models with good sized kicktails.

landyachtz peacemaker

My main interest, however,  is in the rarer European boards, and preferably something that does not look like a stretched-out skateboard. A few that I have found, and that have caught my eye, are a King Lui Native, Skate Timber’s Shred Sled and the Hecs Decks Cruiser.

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Hecs DecksCruiser

 

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King Lui The Native

 

 

 

 

 

Changed the Bushings

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The Paris trucks for the Kaliber deck came with Paris’s own black 90a bushings which, for my 85kg (187lb) weight, is too soft for my liking with the board tipping too easily and feeling overall less stable.

My understanding is that Paris use the following bushings on their trucks:

  • Blue – 81a
  • Orange – 85a
  • Black – 90a (which mine came with)
  • Red – 93a

I am not sure for certain, but it seems to be a bit of lottery what bushing you get with Paris trucks – my last set came with the red 93a and this set, an identical specification 50° V2, with the softer black 90a.

With a view to trying out some new bushings, I put in 94a Mindless JuJu Race barrel+cones bushings (wanted to try a new make), which firmed up the board significantly – a night and day difference from the default softer Paris ones; although it does not feel as perfect (which could be down to the deck as well) as my Hackbrett-Paris set up with white Venom94a SHR barrels combined with Red 91a SHR cones.

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Try some out…

If you are unhappy with your board or never tried different bushings, I highly recommend having some fun trying ones with different durometer ratings and see how your board responds.

Buying replacement bushings also highlighted how much some people charge for them online. I initially looked on Ebay, and Amazon, and some sellers were selling the same ones, you can get from skate shops, for more than x5 the cost. The biggest rip-off was £13, and £2.95 postage, for just a cylinder and cone; which I can buy at my local skate shop for £4. Beware folks, there are unscrupulous people out there ready to rip off the unsuspecting.

A good post on silverfish on bushings: bushings-different-types-how-set-them-up

Durometer Guides

Below are the charts I use for guidance on weight and riding style.

longboard-bushing-durometer-guideVENOM BUSHINGS CHART

Grip Tape Shapes

I have had lots of comments and questions regarding Alfie and the grip-tape patterns and cutting.

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The first thing is that this was not done first time in one go – I had many many tries and had help from a Loaded replacement grip kit for some of the shapes.

There are 5 Loaded grip-tape kits I know of, which give you some nice individual shapes to play with.

In addition to these are a few pre-cut (laser-cut) patterns from the likes Lokton, however, the longer 40×11″ versions, as opposed to the smaller square 11×11″ ones, seem harder to find.

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If you have access to a laser cutter then life is much much easier and they are usually available at community maker/engineering facilities, if not these pre-cut patterns can save a lot of time and heart ache. Although the pre-cut sheets are relatively expensive, I would dread having to do these kinds of patterns with just a ruler and razor-blade.

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Example of intricate laser-cut grip tape

My relatively inexperienced pattern cutting to date has been much more basic, using only steel rulers and kitchen pots: saucepans and frying pans – sadly there is no community engineering workshop near me, otherwise, I would use a laser cutter every time.

My cutting with a razor-blade, or carpet knife, has had mixed success. Patterns drawn on the paper backing, even with new blades I have found often snags and produces poor ragged edges. Cutting on the top, direct into the grip, has produced much better clean edges, but obviously, it is not easy to draw on the top. The clean curved edges on Alfie were achieved by marking on the back paper of the tape the start and end point of the curve, making a small cut with scissors and then placing the saucepan or frying pan on the start and end points/cuts and cutting around the curve of the pan with the razor-blade.

Finally, grip-tape does not need to be black or gray, there are many other colours that can be used or mixed.

Blood Orange Grip tape

My next challenge is to grip with Zenit AB on order and arriving in a months time.

Alfie finally built

Finally got to complete Alfie, top and bottom.

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Added the stunning red 50° Paris 180cm trucks and big Orangatang Kegel wheels (with Bones Race Red bearings); although I am not sure of the wheels, they aesthetically dominate too much for my liking. I may replace with slightly smaller and darker wheels like the Hawg Mini Monsters on my Hackbrett.

The grip tape work is my own with a bit of help from some pre-cut shapes (the black pieces) which were meant for a Loaded Dervish.

Now let’s see how Alfie rides; it will be nice to have some grip with the wet weather after the ‘too beautiful to grip’ Hackbrett.