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Branch Out

Build Your Kid Their Own Scooter From A Tree Branch

These step-by-step instructions and images were syndicated from treeofmotion.com.

Branchboarding, which is the proper verb to use when riding one of these remarkable contraptions, is for 3 kinds people: Those who like scooters, those who like skateboards, and the Lorax. Presumably, your kid is one of those, so grab some old skate trucks and wheels, a chisel, and a drill, and make them their very own branchboard. They’re pretty much guaranteed to be the only kid at the playground who has one, and you’ll be the only dad there who can tell people with a straight face, “I’m a lumberjack.”

Step 1: Finding An Appropriate Branch
The branch should be healthy (not snapped or cracked) and wide enough to hold the trucks. Besides this there are no rules for choosing your branch. The shape and size may correspond to the size and character of the person. One can choose a form for riding in the city, on roads, to cruise, for speed, or for use as a daily transportation device.

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Step 2: Trucks And Wheels
Choosing the Skate/Longboard trucks for your purpose.

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Step 3: Positioning The Trucks
The distance between the trucks depends on the length of the branch.

It is very important that the trucks are lined up so that they are completely parallel.

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Step 4: Cutting Out The Truck Plane

  • Put the branch on a workbench and fix it with a vise.
  • Position the trucks on the bare branch and mark the branch along the edges of the trucks.
  • Cut roughly one centimeter deep into the branch at the markings. This way the trucks can be slightly sunk into the wood, so they remain in place and are more stable. It also distributes force throughout the branch during riding, instead of just straining the screws.
  • Cut out the area between the cuts you just made on the markings to form an even plane.
  • After cutting and sanding the truck panes, make sure the trucks are parallel to one another! They must lie on the planes perfectly.

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Step 5: Mounting The Trucks
When the trucks are positioned, and lie evenly on their planes, you can screw them to the branch with normal wood screws. Now you can place the branchboard on the ground. All 4 wheels must touch the surface evenly, and they must be parallel.

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Once this is the case, you can take out the wood screws. The resulting holes from the wood screws must now be drilled completely through the branch. I recommend using carriage bolts instead of wood screws, as these can be fastened with nuts on the other side.(Wood screws tend to come loose over time due to vibrations while riding.) The only difference between this and mounting trucks on a skateboard is the need for longer bolts.

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To tighten the trucks I recommend washers and 2 nuts on each bolt. First pull all 4 nuts tightly on each truck, then put another nut on each bolt. The second nuts act as additional support for the bolts, which must be able to withstand a lot of pressure while riding.

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One can put layers of rubber (i.e. cutouts from bicycle inner tubings) between the branch, screws, and trucks, in order to eliminate vibrations while riding. It also reduces wear and tear on the wood, increasing the life expectancy and improving the sound while riding (quieter).

Step 6: Fine Tuning
Once the trucks and wheels are mounted, its time for the first test ride! One should keep in mind not to set the tension of the trucks too tight or too loose. This sensitivity setting can be manipulated with the nut between the wheels. (Extra elements like Griptape, Brakes, Lights are also options to consider.)

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From this point on, a new perspective of movement will open up before you.

Stay safe! Branchboard at your own risk!

Nico Rayf is the founder of Branch Boarding. To see more, visit treeofmotion.com.

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