For many years, making a snowboard was the preserve of factories with high tech equipment, but more recently home built boards have been taking the powder-surfing world by stor. Hobbyists in Japan have been crafting their own shred sticks for years now (see the latest issue of WL) and since Corey Smith put up the edit below in 2011 and subsequently started Spring Break Snowboards the Western snowboard world has been tuned in to the whole phenomenon.
And no surprises either, imagine blasting through powder on a board you've made yourself, hard to beat right? But now with the release of the first Spring Break production models hitting shelves next autumn a lot of people may be missing out on the homemade aspect; it's the journey not the destination right?
Never wanting anyone to miss out, here's the handy Whitelines guide to creating your own powder slayer; remember, this is only a snap shot of what is possible so don't take this as a bible on the topic by any means. This is merely to get you started in the right direction.
Happy building and happy shredding!
Choose your shape
This is where your imagination should run wild. Get a pen and paper and get sketching, draw out every crazy shape you can think of and refine it, then refine again. Whilst a production board's shape is largely dictated by the need for a sidecut in order to get some semblance of control on piste, like a surfboard as long as it's longer than its wide your only limitation is yourself.
Will you be traditional and go long and thin? Or instead opt for the short and fat approach, a la the YES 420. To swallow tail or to taper? Pointy or blunt nose? If you can imagine shredding the deep stuff on it, it'll probably work.
Once you know what you're doing with the shape, it's time to draw it up and get it in the press. Unless you want to get fancy and layer up your own base, your best bet is to use a single sheet of plywood, between 5-10mm depending on your board shape. Lighter is better obviously, but if your board is going to be massive you'll want something a bit more substantial.
Then simply measure up and draw out your design on the ply before cutting it out, preferably with a jigsaw for accuracy. Then you'll need to get it in a press to get that rockered shape else you'll be frontfliping your way down the mountain.
Again it's up to you exactly where it'll go; do you want a flat base between the bindings and a spooned nose or more of a banana shape? As Bud Keane would say, it's up to you man...
Your best bet here is to use either a bench or pallet and nail/screw some sort of ply-bending device together; it doesn't have to be pretty, it just needs to hold together for a couple of days. Wood bends better when wet so you can wrap it up in damp towels, or even better steam it if you have access to a sauna/hot tub. Don't soak it as it'll deaden, just keep it damp. And keep it in place for at least 48hrs so the shape will hold.
As anyone who's ridden in properly deep powder will tell you, edges are not that important, but doing something to yours will be better than just leaving them rough, at least aesthetically anyway.
You can just sand them down, or for a little more grip you could route them; curving the top side but leaving a bit of edge on the bottom to help with grip. It's more trial and error than anything.
Grip It and Rip It
Now, unless you're planning to go all Wolle Nyvelt and snurf it, you'll need to get your bindings fixed on. Probably the easiest way is by using inserts that fit your screws, try here for some places where you can order them online. If you're clever you can create inlays on the base for them to sit in and then drill through from the top. Make sure you drill through the baseplate of the binding you're gonna use as a guide.
After that all that's left is to get the base riding as fast as possible. Once again there are many ways, but from what we've heard the simplest method is by varnishing it; just make sure you paint it on from nose to tail to get it running in the right direction.
You can also coat the base with glass fibers - messy and potentially hazardous - or do a proper job and P-Tex it. Nope, no idea how.
OK, there's actually one more step, arguably one of the most important: the paintjob. Go wild!
Want a board inspired by a classic graphic? Or your own? Ultra-detailed or plain and simple like 2012's Happy Hour? It's up to you man...
Admit it, it's the part out of this that you already do best, go score some freshies!
Again, we'd love to hear from you about any boards that you've made, there may even be a cheeky prize for any really good ones! Send us pics of yours to to email@example.com