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Coke Bottle Grip: Smashing Glass for Fun and Profit

This is less of a tutorial and more of my experience in trying something new. I’ll eventually write a better tutorial with more pics, but i know you clowns want to see this kind of thing and i love sharing, so here it is. This includes things i did wrong and what i would do next time.

New Year’s morning found me in the driveway just in front of my garage using what i affectionately call my Glass Churner. Its a steel pipe cemented into a cinderblock, a steel plate that it sits on, and a solid steel rod about the size of a broom handle. I found all of this stuff at a surplus/scrap store in Orlando. I probably could have found it elsewhere, but i didn’t spend a lot of time looking because they had exactly what i wanted. Here’s the Glass Churner, a few bottles, and a small pile of product.

You can pretty clearly see how i made it. I think i spent about $30 total on this rig because plate steel isn’t cheap, even when its rusty.

Don’t do this directly on your concrete driveway, you will destroy it. That’s why you need the steel plate underneath the tube. The cement block just keeps the tube vertical and anchored while you use the rod to smash, smash, smash some more, then keep smashing.

After all the smashing, i tilted the churner over, releasing the pile of crushed glass. Any large peices go directly back into the tube for more churning, and the remainder gets sifted through using two food strainers from the grocery store. These strainers are the wire screen type and come in multiple screen sizes. I have two sized screens to get the grit size that i want. One to let everything through but the bigger pieces, and one to let the dust fall out of the grit that i want to keep.

So then i sprayed clear coat all over my deck and poured on the grit. As you can see in the following pic, the whole thing is white with grit.

This was a mistake. i won’t be using spray-clear for this again, and at the time i took this pic, i hadn’t yet thought of separating the dust out from the larger grit i need. Basically i made mud on the deck and had to wait for it to dry, then you no less than 6 orbital sander pads to strip that stuff off along with the paint underneath it and start over completely. Lesson learned.

So when i started over, i went back to the grocery store and got a finer sifter screen for seperating the dust. after repainting and re-logo-ing the board, i was ready to try again. I was still using the spray coat at this point because i hadn’t decided yet that a slowing drying urethane would be ideal for this. It would be, so in the future that’s what i’m doing.

After spraying the new deck with a thick layer of topcoat, i started sprinkling on the rougher grit i sifted and after a few touch up applications it turned out rather well. After that was dried, i went back over the grit (not the edges, i like the satin finish on the trim) with spar urethane (uv resistant, slower drying, thicker heavier quality) to lock it all in. This was the result:

Black Metal Scarlet topped with chunks of coke bottle glass that were smashed with rage by a guy with long hair and too much hate. It really doesn’t get much more metal than this deck.

So moving forward, here are the steps i will follow:

1 Drink lots of bottled coke from Mexico and write it all off at the end of the year as a business expense while saving the empty bottles

2 place the plate steel down on the ground with a peice of cardboard or posterboard next to it, then place the churner on top of the steel plate.

3 place one bottle on its side onto the posterboard, and cover completely with an old folded towel

4 use a small hammer to pop the bottle into a billion razor sharp peices. It should only take one strike to shatter the bottle. If it takes more than one, you are not a man. The bottle will shatter completely, you won’t have to keep smashing.

5 with gloved hands, pick up the peices and toss them into the steel tube of the churner. Use a small 3 or 4 inch brush to sweep everything up and get all the chuncks into a pile, then pick up the posterboard, gently fold up the edges and funnel the rest of the pile into the tube. The whole bottle should be in the tube now. Feel free to repeat this step and add one more bottle. For my set-up, two bottles is probably ideal.

6 put a mask over your face to keep the glass dust out of your lungs and grab that steel rod. Now place the rid into the tube and start smashing. Churn that glass like butter form the 1800’s.If it helps you to get into the spirit by wearing a bonnet and apron, go for it. I’m all about role play.

7 After a while, and i mean like 5 or ten minutes of continuous smashing, tilt the churner over and use your brush to sweep the pile of glass off of the steel plate and onto the posterboard. Make a neat little pile that you can grab at with your fingers. By this point, all of the glass is basically river rock with no sharp edges, but you might want to use gloves anyway. I didn’t, and i’m fine.

8 use a pair of metal screen strainers like you buy at the grocery store to first sift out the too-big chunks and place them in a seperate container for more smashing later, then use a finer screen strainer to let all of the too-small tiny dust particles fall into a garbage can or other container and just throw it away. Its dust and makes mud, so its useless.

9 tape off your deck to make a border or design of your choosing, then brush on a tin coat of urethane. SPRINKLE on the grit we kept as evenly as possible. You have plenty of time, urethane doesn’t dry in 15 minutes like spray topcoat does. Let it dry for a while until its at least touchable.

10 carefully brush on a top layer of urethane to seal in the grit and make that glas mostly clear again. Let it dry over night. You might even want to bring it inside to cure if you live in a hot wet jungle environment like Florida. Enjoy your new coke bottle gripped deck.

Cheers and beers.


have you ever tried a sugar deck? its when you paint down some epoxy or polyester resin and then sprinkle some thick sugar on to the deck, once its dried just tape off the sides and rinse with hot water and the sugar desolves and leave behind little creators. i did a board a while back using the technique after a while it does become a little less grippy but overall its pretty cheap and affective. a recent material I’ve been experimenting with is a cork top sheet laminated with bio epoxy has a really nice grip to it especially while bare foot.

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I have not tried that, but it sounds like something worth experimenting with. I’ll have to find some of that chunky sugar and do some science!

Next build I thing I may try a metallic finish like this but with polyaspartic resin and 100 to 240 grit white aluminum oxide (nearly translucent when fully embedded in clear resin) in the top coat for grit. Your crushed glass just gives me a painful memory of when I dropped a glass in my kitchen then spent the next 45 minutes trying to get it out of my foot. @longhairedboy Great idea and respect all your efforts (you probably had a lot of fun too) but there are sources for glass that is washed, tumbled (and like you did) screened reducing the short sharp chards to mildly sharp edges that would not risk personal ingury. (Hope you shop vac’d the driveway afterward) Additionally aluminum oxide is much harder than glass (9 on mohs hardness scale vs 6 for glass, diamonds are a 10) from a wear resistance point and would last a lot longer while staying grippy longer. I you want some to try I have plenty. Just email me your address.


Just shot you a PM with my address. I’d love to try a sample of that stuff.

To the touch, it’s actually pretty good. When i finished up i was able to run my hand over it without removing skin like regular grip seems to do. The grit i ended up with is chunkier than regular grip tape, but not as painful to grab. i suppose that has a lot to do with the top coat of urethane.

There’s a little more to my usage of coke bottles though. I’m a coke fanatic and drink enough to disolve any normal person’s intestines. I’m also just a fan of it in general and have some collectable bottles, a few t-shirts, and other silly stuff like that. Since i have about 3 dozen empty bottles in my garage waiting on a craft project, i thought this might be a way to simultaneously do something very interesting while being somewhat socially/environmentally responsible (recycling, reusing), and also providing a unique bullet point on my builds.

Possibly in the future i will provide multiple grip options, including just plain old tape, traditional spray clear grip, and stuff like what you’re hopefully sending me a sample of soon.

Ha! Great post @longhairedboy. Are there any performance benefits to the 'glassed grip? How does it feel when riding? Is it different\better than normal grip tape? +5 for a rockstar DIY effort!

i have not yet put trucks and wheels on it and taken it out on the street, but standing on just the deck on the carpet and doing silly stances and tail spins and stuff seems pretty good. I’m going to mount the trucks and wheels back on it tonight and street it, and also give it the barefoot test.

Based on what my hands tell me though it should be just about prefect.

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@longhairedboy You will be sad to know that I had a working antique Coke dispenser with about 300 bottles that I used to save and refill with seltzer and syrup. Got cleaning one day and sold the whole collection for $550- because back then the bottles were getting impossible to find. (and I was moving) Sucks because now they are making them again and it was so pristine I could probably gotten $5-6k for it today.

That really does make me sad. That kind of thing would have made me much like a 3 year old in a Skittles factory: Irrationally manic with joy.

I just added some more pics and a tutorial/how-to to my site about this.

Here are some pics of what i did last night. More are on my blog.


Looks like they are turning out pretty good. Gj

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it’s actually pretty sweet that you can see the inlaid wires.

I might have to try this with my board, but I also might be using it in the first complete I’m selling…

Apparently the guy who I’m making a board for absolutely loved your retro/angular deck, and wanted me to build an eboard on it! I kinda feel bad letting it go though :grin:

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i’m thinking about getting some quality clear resin and making that part of the hook for these boards. Nice wiring with shiny connections and all filled in with clear resin, maybe even do something with the floor and walls of the channel like paint it black or a cool pattern or fabric or something.

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A deck i pressed up a few months back with a cork top sheet with my brand burned in to the cork, Surprising the cork is really grippy even with and with out shoes. for my new eboard board build i am planning on putting cork on 3 quarters and the other quarter grip tape at the back to add a bit more grip a bit like the bb dual+. i love the recycling part and how clear the grip is, sweet job man!


Thanks for the kind words!

Is the cork kind of cushy? I imagine it to have a more cushy luxury feel somehow, which would be amazing.

Start saving your corks to make cool patterns lol

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yes there cork composite has a really nice feel, it kind of mounds to your feet when you stand on it and absorbs a lot of shock. its amazing!

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oooooh that does sound like luxury!

If you want, I have four 12 inch by 12 inch sheets of cork that are 3/8 of an inch thick if you want to experiment with that idea.

i wonder how i would seal it against the elements.