Vertically Laminated Longboards
The other way of making a longboard is to laminate the veneers vertically – or “V-Lam.” This creates an “I-Beam” along the length of the deck, allowing us to make much better use of the wood grain to strengthen the board.
Whilst it’s much harder to press complex concaves and profiles into the deck, vertical lamination does have some advantages, namely board feel and versatility of construction.
As you are in essence standing on a much thicker piece of wood, you are able to feel the flex characteristics of the wooden beams as you skate. V-Lam wooden longboards have a very nice “natural” flex compared to horizontally laminated boards, even without the use of composites like fibreglass and carbon fibre. You need to skate one to see what we mean…
The other big advantage of V-Lam longboard construction is that we can pick and choose different materials to do different things. Surfboard, ski and snowboard shapers have been using these techniques for decades.
By using, say, a single hardwood stringer, surrounded by softer, lighter woods, you can create a board that’s very stiff for its weight. Also, it’s easy to use harder woods for impact resistance – eg at the nose, tail and rails – whilst using a lighter softwood as the core, protected by the outer elements.
There’s a lot you can do with V-Lam… it’s a good choice for core construction if you’re using composites, as it’s easy to control the flex, weight and directional stiffeess of the resulting deck.
However, we just love the look of an exposed V-Lam longboard layup… and the natural flex feeling is unparalleled.