whenever we decide we need a forum, (that is me and a friend of mine I do all my web'ing w/) we use Yaab boards. I like them because of the extensive list of features available, (assigning moderator status and etc. all the major functions of a larger scale mess. board) and while at times they may seem excessively flashy, they get the job done. But then again, you have to like that KIND of message board to like Yaab soo... to each his own I suppose :p
and I know that wasn't exactly what you were asking for, but that's my recommendation, to use a freeware board as such, (unless you're set on making your own then more power to you).
"Your Pro-mop anti-horse agenda has been apparant for some time!"