Woodworking without Power Tools - Roarockit Skateboard Europe

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Woodworking without Power Tools

Woodworking without power tools

For years, power tools have become the mainstay of the woodworking world. While they certainly have their place, hand tools are also a viable way to work with wood.

Vacuum press technology is not new, however until the Thin Air Press Kit was invented, the process was rather complicated and expensive. Ted Hunter’s invention has simplified the process of vacuum laminating to its essence, making it easy to use and much less expensive. Working with hand tools also avoids insurance and liability issues, which are considerations in some shops and schools.

Some reading this may consider using a vinyl bag, foam mold and a hand vacuum pump a tad simple for doing “serious” woodworking. However old dogs CAN learn new tricks from the thousands of students who have successfully laminated 7 layers of 1/16” maple veneer into a 3-dimensional skateboard deck by hand power!

Points of Learning:


  • preparing veneer sheets with sand paper

  • understanding grain direction of wood veneers

  • why has the skateboard industry standardized on 7 layers in a deck?

  • what is the order of grain direction in a deck?

  • is all maple the same?

  • what other kinds of wood can be used for skateboards?

  • is bamboo a wood?

  • understanding the strength vs. flexibility of maple veneer

  • why do the veneers change length and width on their own?

  • what sorts of glue are used for wood laminating

  • how do they make colored veneer?

  • using colored veneer, internally or as a face sheet

  • using inlay or marquetry as a decorative finish


  • how does a vacuum bag work as a clamp and why use it?

  • what’s the difference between a vacuum cleaner and the Thin Air Press hand pump?

  • why not use an industrial electric vacuum pump?

  • using a hand scraper, hand plane, spoke shave or rasp to finish the edges

  • what grades of sandpaper to use, and in what order to smooth the deck?

  • how to use a wood clamp

  • what other uses would the Thin Air Press be good for?


  • clear coatings, which to use, when and why?

  • stains, water-based or spray (solvent) paints, which to use and why?

  • how to apply stains, paints and coatings successfully

  • sanding between finish coats for exceptional finishes