skateboard ramp build

Hi all,
A frequent lurker an occasioanl poster here to pick the brains of this very knowledgeable group...
As the title suggests, I'm going to build a "small" half-pipe skate ramp for he kids in my back garden...I've located some excellent plans on the internet for a ramp about 3 1/2' high on each side and about 16' foot across the length and 8' wide/deep. Wood frame and wood skating surface.
I'm pretty much OK with building the frame and screwing the ply to the curved frame. My only concern is the "covering" to apply to the surface. As the ramp will be in the garden, it needs to be waterproof to protect the wood, yet need to have a certain amount of grip to prevetn the wheels sliding arounf the place...kind of the texture of concrete. Any ideas? Or is it going to be a matter of covering it during rain with a BIG sheet of tarp...All the plans takl about generic skate ramp paint, but this is all US-based, and expensive...
If anyone's interested the plans are here:
http://www.rickdahlen.com/hpplans/plans.html
Go on, build your kids a ramp!
Mark
ps: I'll be using the ramp myself to as I used to skate until about 5 years ago...I'm still better than all my kids, which is emabarassing for them when I take them to the local skate park ;-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mark wrote:

This is an area where I have a certain amount of expertise... I skate, and have built a few different structures in my time.
Firstly, I suggest that you also ask this question on alt.skate-board so as to get more feedback to make a fully informed decision.
Secondly, you could go for a surface material called "Skatelite" (http://www.skatelite.com/home.html ), but admittedly it is quite expensive. As the plans suggest, 3/4" ply is good for the surface layers. Marine Ply or WBP ply (WBP = Water and Boil Proof, IIRC) is what I have used. Some people recommend Birch ply for the surface layer, but again, this adds to the cost, and you [probably can't get it treated. You won't need to wet the ply to get it to curve. The 7'6" transition radius is good - I used 8' for a 4' high mini ramp - and 3/8" will bend just fine on its own.
I prefer to skate on un-painted / finished wood surfaces, so I'd go for the "cover with a tarp" option. The traction to slide ratio is pretty good (sliding is important when doing rotational tricks). And ply is pretty cheap, so you can replace the top layer quite easily and cheaply (might even be able to simply turn them over if there's not too much damage). Make sure you don't strip the screw head when screwing down! (All too easy if you use a power screwdriver, which you will most likely be using here - who wants to screw in 200+ screws by hand!?!?!)
I realise that if you are building in your garden then space is at a premium... 8 feet wide is really quite narrow. My miniramp was 12' which was just about OK, I wouldn't build less than 16' wide now. Also, don't get PVC coping - go for proper scaffold pipe (Please, someone, where can this be obtained for a decent price? Second hand is probably OK so long as it's straight...)
I'm actually in the process of trying to get an indoor skatepark built in Watford, UK. Quite a big adventure, but it is good fun too! I have a business plan and am now seeking funding - it's more of a youth project that will run as not-for-profit rather than a "make you rich" business...!
If you're close enough to Watford, I'd love to help (& skate it!)... The plans are pretty good - well done in your search.
AlexL
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for the replies Alex and BigWallop...I'll look into marine paint thing...but have a feeling it may be too splippy....I'm probably going to go for the bare wood with tarp cover....I'be priced the wood up and I'm looking at about 400 so far, which is a bit more than I wanted to spend...anybody know of some cheap cheap cheap timber merchants...
As for the width...I also thought 8' was a bit narrow...but I'm having enough trouble convincing the boss that this is a good idea...so 16' is probably a no no..I may get away with 12' though....but then it get more expensive...
Cheers guys...I'm off to alt.skateboard...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.