Craft your own custom snowboard shape with the Lib Tech Blank
In a typical winter season, bamboo sticks line the sides of Washington's Highway 542 going east from Glacier to Mt. Baker Ski Area. They stand straight up, 10 feet tall, keeping plows in line as they pile massive snow dumps from the road high onto the embankments, which can tower as tall as the trucks themselves. In March of this year, the lonely sticks wobbled in dry roadside gravel without a trace of snow. A few young guys from evo's Seattle shop cruised this gloomy, green highway in a maroon Jeep Cherokee sketching quasi snowboard shapes in a notebook. Some looked like fish, others like elf hats, and a few resembled diagrams on the back of a condom box.
Eight of evo's most stoked employees piled into a 1,600-square-foot cabin belonging to Mervin's Northwest rep, Ryan Davis, for a two-day board-building workshop with Lib Tech's new Blank board--an edgeless, reverse-camber rectangle that's ready to cut into your own custom shape. Power tools buzzed into the night as everyone took turns rotating through the tiny woodshop out back in the damp Pacific Northwest fog. At 350 dollars a Blank, the evo guys made sure to measure twice and cut once, learning from each other's mistakes and compiling a few useful tips along the way.
If this sort of thing is your bag, begin by assembling some basic shaping tools. You'll need a jigsaw with blades made for ceramic or fiberglass (wood blades are no match) and a ruler or tape measure to hold your centerline and keep the cuts even. Ideally you'll have a few other boards nearby whose sidecut radii and shapes you can mimic and trace on with painter's tape or a Sharpie.
Clamp the Blank securely to a table with the tip or tail overhanging. Carefully cut out your shape with the jigsaw, staying just outside the lines drawn on your topsheet. Now you're ready to sand. Bigger bumps can be taken down with a surform, but you'll want to smooth out the edges with sandpaper. Davis recommends starting with 80 to 100 grit and finishing with 220.
"Depending on what level of craftsman you are," Davis says, "you can go from a simple jigsaw and palm sander all the way to using serious equipment with knowledge of router tables and an industrial sidesander." The evo crew used a heavy-duty oscillating sander with a variety of discs that helped correct uneven cuts.
Not everyone donned a respirator or rubber gloves, but the less covered you are, the more fiberglass will get in your skin and have you fiercely itching yourself like a crackhead. Cold showers help with that. Sweating makes it worse.
Once you have your shape and the edges are sanded down smooth, you'll want to seal them with a few coats of water-based polyurethane. Temple Cummins opts for super glue, which can work just fine as long as you keep the base clean by outlining it with tape.
-Ceramic or fiberglass blades
-Ruler and tape measure
-Orbital or oscillating sander -Sand paper: 80 – 100 grit, 220 grit
-Sharpies, pencils, and paint pens
-Painter's or masking tape
-Acrylic clear coat spray
When crafting a truly custom board, there's nothing like a custom graphic to make it your own. Sharpies and acrylic paint pens worked well for most amateur doodlers, but things really got special when Jamie Lynn paid a surprise visit; smoked a bunch of fat joints; shot some guns; threw some knives; and painted cats, mountains, and waterfalls all over our topsheets, drying them quickly with a spray-paint-and-lighter blowtorch.
What started as a standard rep clinic became a weekend-long project in the woods with a bunch of passionate riders looking for another way to get stoked on snowboarding without any snow on the ground. Cutting your own lines is all about expressing creative freedom in a way that best suits you--whether it's on the hill or on the woodshop table.