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.

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

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.

Update: Trucks & Wheels for Alfie

Finally, made the call on the trucks and wheels for the new gripped Alfie (Kaliber Wild Africa Affe deck) and possibly the Zenit AB deck to come. I need to see Sam’s Jungle pintail deck first before I order the trucks and wheels for that.

 

As always, the choice was a combination of riding style and aesthetics; and given my casual riding style, more form, than function.

The trucks are to be red 50° Paris 180cm, the wheels big 80cm Orangatang Kegals. Have gone and my usual bearings of Bones Race Reds, with the built in spacers.

 

Ordered from the ever excellent Skatedeluxe (the best range of gear I have found so far for the UK/Europe and great service).

 

 

 

 

 

Ordered a Zenit AB deck

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Had another moment of weakness (primarily due to a friend going back home to Montreal for a family event and then coming back to London) and ordered a deck I have been admiring for some time, the stunning AB made by Candian company Zenit.

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A few weeks to wait before he gets back, but it should be worth the wait. Time to consider the grip-tape pattern, although I like my initial idea of reflecting the carbon-fibre bottom on the top.

Some black 50° 180cm trucks lined up with big 80cm Orangatang Kegal wheels.

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Update: Grip tape on Alfie

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Finally got around to putting grip-tape (first time I have put grip-tape on) on my Kaliber Wild Afric Affe, affectionbately now known as ‘Alfie”.

I had lots of ideas on fancy cut-out geometric patterns, including the map of the river Thames (I will do this some day), a big African tree, and a zebra; however, in the end, my alignment and cutting skills were the limiting factors and I ended up with a much simpler pattern. I found that although I could draw out patterns on the back of the grip-tape, the knives I had would snag too much and leave rough edges, especially on curves. Cutting from the top, the rough side, was much more effective in getting smooth lines, but difficult as you can not draw on it.

Thankfully I had ordered lots of grip-tape: 60″ for a 40″ board, so I could learn and throw away my bad attempts. In the end, I opted for a simple cover with just some curves cut in the end and then cover for the ends.

Covering and trimming the grip-tape is quite easy (a few videos demonstrate it well), if this was completely covering a skateboard, rather than trying to make intricate precise geometric patterns on a longboard, it would be easy and completed in a few minutes. Next time…

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Ordered: Kaliber Wild Africa Affe

Kaliber wild africa

I had a moment of weakness seeing the discounted Kaliber Wild Africa Affe38″ (96cm) deck at SkateDeluxe (great service and online shop – German retailer, but no issue and shipping for the UK). I have been after another drop-through since my older son appropriated my original Atom 41 Green. Loved the dark wood on it and the distinctive shape. Not sure on the trucks and wheels for it, will get it and see what the flex is like before ordering some.

Kaliber Wild Africa 2