On Friday, May 14, at 1:10 p.m., Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffery T. Smith will meet with 16 Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School 8th grade students, their technology teachers Kreig Heroth and Ted Arndt, and school officials at Wiles Park as the students road-test their handcrafted, custom-designed longboard skateboards.
The students know they are showing their longboards to the Sheriff and receiving stickers, but Sheriff Smith also has a special presentation to make to them. A rain date of May 18 has been set for the event, but the forecast looks positive.
About the skateboard project, Mr. Arndt and Mr. Heroth said:
“Early this year, we decided it would be exciting for the 16 students of our 8th grade co-taught technology class to build special skateboards called longboards. Unlike typical street boards, longboards are used for gracefully cruising around town, on the bike path, etc. They are very long (38 to 45 inches) with a correspondingly long wheelbase.
“We made the boards using two layers of 1/4-inch marine-grade plywood. Students first designed their board by making a mock-up out of tag board. They then transferred their individual design to the plywood blank and rough cut the shape with a bandsaw or jigsaw. The students then applied glue and laminated the boards using a special custom press. They helped us, their teachers, build a double board press that uses hydraulic jacks to compress the board blanks as they are laminated. With the press, we could make the bends and shapes we needed to create super strong, custom decks.
“Once pressing was completed (24 hours per board), we then needed to prepare the boards for finishing. This was done first by cutting the final shape using the bandsaw or reciprocating (scroll) saw. We then used a variety of power and hand sanding techniques to complete the process.
“Finishing was done using a variety of techniques. Some students masked and spray painted their boards, then coated them with polyurethane. Others used contact paper to cut out custom graphics for painting. Still others finished their ride by printing graphics and applying them with adhesive.
“The final step before installing trucks and wheels was to apply grip tape or otherwise create a non-slip surface for the top of the deck. One student even used two-part epoxy gel-coat and sandblasting beads for an original finish. School counselor Kayla Mahoney helped some students print adhesive stickers using a Cricket sticker maker.
“There were no donations for the boards. Fort Plain Schools supported the class and paid for all materials.”
Here’s what some of the students had to say as they neared the end of the months-long skateboard project:
- “I didn’t like it at the beginning, but I did in the end. I made my board into something I could relate to.” – Jorge Medina
- “I liked the project because we could make our own details. My board is a classic but with anime stickers!” – Emily Rood
- “I learned that patience, perseverance and determination are all you need to make an awesome longboard!” – Yunus Demir
- “The boards are coming out really good!” – Tristen Morey