Build a Cheap Wooden Kicker - PART 1

Posted on 22/09/2009 by Caleb

Ever since the dawn of this fine sport, crazy people have been chucking themselves at larger and larger jumps, always trying to cheat the pitfalls of pain and land ever increasing acrobatic tom-foolery. If you wish to join this brotherhood of baffoonery then you'll be needing a nice big kicker from which to launch yourself with reckless abandon.

Like any self respecting young chap, you will not want to waste your money on anything other than booze, cheap thrills and the pursuit of the opposite sex. Thus it is imperitave to keep such ventures as building ramps to a financial minimum. Necessity is the mother of invention and this is never truer than when building a mountainboard kicker. Get ghetto, raid skips, see whats in your Dad's shed that you can 'borrow' and just use your imagination with what's lying around.

Build a Wooden Kicker - Tools

When it comes to ramps it's different strokes for different folks, but the people who've riden my ramps with me tend to like them.  This is a real easy one I've built to go into a dirt landing behind my house: 2.15m long, 1m tall and 1m wide, the side is a radius of 12ft and the top sheet is 2.4m long.

Start by shaping the side of the ramp. Stab a screwdriver or stick into the ground, tie some string or garden wire (doesn't stretch like string) around the bottom. Measure out your radius length (here I've used 12ft which will be mellow enough to not take all your speed but still give lots of air from the lip) and tie a pencil at that distance.

Measuring the plywood

Place your first (smaller) sheet of ply on the floor so that the pencil lead is exactly on the corner, walk to the opposite corner and shuffle the ply so that the pencil meets this corner as well. This may take a bit of playing before your happy with it, but this is the most important part of the ramp. Now with an even tension and the keeping the pencil upright, walk from one corner to the other drawing a perfect curve as you go.

Now start cutting her out. I use hand saws rather than jigsaws, they are faster, more precise and if you have to buy just for this project their a hell of alot cheaper. Place your index finger pointing along the saw, this will help the saw go where your looking, saw to the offcut side of the line so if you make a mistake it won't cut to far into the piece your using. Keep both the peice of ply your cutting and the offcut suported or they'll probably snap. Just take your time so as no to ruin it by rushing.

Once cut, use the cut piece as a template on top of the offcut. Ensure both the corner and the side meet up exactly or else your gonna have a wobbly ramp, Possibly screw the two pices together if you need to. Draw a line along the cut template and start cutting.

Cutting the plywood

Cut plywood

Cut plywood

Right, now to cut the studs to hold the two sides together and support the top ply. First measure the width of your top ply (mine is 1m), subtract the thickness of the side pieces you've already cut (mine is 2cm) and subtract another 1cm for luck (so my pieces ended up 97cm long). This is where having different sizes of wood is a bonus. You need a slim piece for the thin pointy end of the ramp, and a chunky piece at the lip end that won't bend as you pop off it.

Use 2 good sized woodscrews at the end of each stud to make it really sturdy. You can use nails, but you will need screws for the top sheet, so you may as well use them here too.  Mine are 5-6cm long. Keep the top of each stud nice and flush with the curved side you cut earlier...
See Part 2

Cut plywood