The Timber Veneer Association is always interested to find veneers being used in novel ways. One such interesting use is decorating the tops and bases of skateboards. In 2013 a group of about 30 industrial arts teachers attended courses organised by Steve Delaney at Warrawong High School through the IIATE (Institute of Industrial Arts Technology Education) to construct a skateboard each. The course was taught by Martin Naughton from Murwillumbah High. Martin has been making skateboards with marquetry bases or tops in his classes for years.
The aim of the course was to show teachers how to make skateboards in class with their students. Martin organised kits from Australian Skateboard Kits, a company that specialises in supplying everything needed to construct a board. The kits contain a vacuum bag, pre cut veneers, vacuum pump, glue, roller to apply the glue and a CNC-cut foam mould, cut to the shape of the skateboard. The only thing that isn’t in the kit is the variety of veneers to construct the marquetry pattern on the base of the board – in this case they were sourced from Briggs Veneers in Sydney, but other members of the Timber Veneer Association could supply similar materials. Suppliers’ names can be found on the TVAA website at www.timberveneer.asn.au.
After a general introduction the teachers were given a demo on how to use the vacuum bag. The glue up process was done in three stages, the first stage was to glue three layers of rock maple veneer, put it into the vacuum bag, and pump out the air. This was left for about two hours when two more layers were added, then the last two layers a couple of hours later. Martin said he normally leaves the glue 24 hours to dry between layers but in this case there were time constraints. The glue used was Titebond Ultimate III wood glue which gives you about 7 minutes to assemble and get into the vacuum bag.
The next stage was to tidy up the shape of the board and prepare it to have the marquetry pattern attached. Martin had advised us to edge glue all the veneer pieces together to reduce the chance of pieces moving when in the vacuum bag. This was a slow process that took about three hours, but made the pattern easier to handle.
The pattern was then glued to the board, the edges of the veneer trimmed, and the board was prepared for applying the finish. After lots of fine sanding, a Bondall product, Monocel Gold, was applied. This is a marine grade clear timber varnish, applied with five or six coats to build a good layer, sanding between each.
The students are about to start their boards and reportedly are very keen and enthusiastic. The trucks, wheels, bearings and grip tape were purchased from the “Boardshop” an online suppler based in Australia.
The Timber Veneer Association of Australia (TVAA) acknowledges the assistance of Bruce Powell of Kanahooka High, NSW, in preparing this article. For more inspirational ideas on using timber veneers visit www.uniquelyveneer.com.au.Back to News page