There is nothing cooler than cruising around town on your skateboard. Skateboards are fun to use as they save you walking time, and you can use them to perform cool tricks. If you want to own a skateboard, you can either buy or build one from scratch. If you go with the latter option, you will need to know how to make a skateboard.
We will go through the process of building your skateboard and what materials you will need. Creating your skateboard could be a nice and creative project to undertake. Can you imagine how cool it will be to ride a skateboard you created?
If you are starting from scratch, here are the primary tools you need to create your skateboard:
- Mounting bolts
- Danish oil
- Skateboard hardware that includes wheels, trucks, grip, bearings, and tape
All your four wheels should be the same, avoid using different types of wheels. Your ride might not be all smooth when you mix and match wheels.
Each wheel is fit using two bearings, bringing the total number of bearings you need to eight for the four wheels.
A single truck uses four screws and nuts. You fit the nuts and screws through the base plate to make the deck secure. Each truck also comes with two lock nuts and four-axle washers. Therefore, the total equipment you need are eight screws and nuts – these two go hand-in-hand, four lock nuts, and eight axle washers.
Ensure you have all these parts before you begin assembling your skateboard. If even one nut is missing, it could compromise your entire skateboard.
Before you begin creating your skateboard, you need to decide its size. Standard skateboards measure 8″ W, and their length is between 26″ to 48″. Shorter boards are suitable for cruising around the streets in the city.
The amount you will spend when building your skateboard could range from $75 to $100. The cost will depend on the material and hardware you choose.
1. Create a template
Now that you know how much money you would spend and the materials you need, it is time to make a template. A template is very crucial as it acts as your guide when building your board. You need a sketchbook to create your template.
Draw what you want your board to look like. Once you put to paper how you visualize your board, measure your plywood slighter larger than the final product. Draw a line in the middle of the plywood to mark the board’s centerline.
With the primary part of the deck complete on paper, it is time to cut the plywood according to your measurements. Once you cut the plywood, transfer your sketch to the wood or draw the shape of your board on the wood. Mark the position where you will insert the trucks.
Use a jigsaw to cut out the unwanted parts of the plywood. Ensure you cut the wood closer to the line to reduce the work you will need to do by hand. Now that your plywood is cut, it is time to get those smooth curves and edges. You will need sandpaper, file, and rasp to get those clean edges. Run your fingers along the edges to feel the highs and lows you might not see.
2. Align the template to the hardwood
With your template ready, it’s time to drill the truck holes. Place the template on top of your hardwood and drill the holes. These holes will come in handy when aligning the template. You can insert pins in some of the truck holes to align the template and the hardwood.
To get a more solid connection, use double-sided tape to connect the hardwood and the template.
To shape your hardwood so that it resembles your template, use a router or flush-trim bit. Cut the hardwood while following the template’s edges. Be careful while trimming the hardwood as you are moving against its grain.
Trimming against the hardwood makes it easy to crack the hardwood, and no one wants a skateboard whose deck has cracks. Cracks on the deck will compromise the entire board,
To avoid trimming the template against the hardwood grain, you can position it on the hardwood so that the router moves with the grain. Aim to cut ¼ of the hardwood at a time. To get clean and smooth edges, exchange router bits for ¼” or 3/8″.
Use a bit of epoxy to stabilize any knots on the wood. Sand down the epoxy once it dries.
With your template and hardwood joined, your deck is almost complete. Sand the whole surface to make it smooth. Use tac cloth or shop vac to remove any dust remaining on the hardwood. With your skateboard soft, it is time to apply some coating to protect it from weather elements.
Apply some coats of Danish oil and protect these coats with polyurethane. Let the oil and polyurethane dry. Once they are dry, you can relax since you are halfway to making your own skateboard.
3. Mount the trucks
Now that your deck is all set, the next step is mounting the trucks. Use a screwdriver to insert all the eight screws into the truck holes then flip the board over so that the bottom side faces up.
Mount the trucks onto the screws. Position the trucks so that the bushings and kingpins are facing inwards. Once the trucks are in place, fix the nuts onto the screws to loosely hold the trucks in place. Proceed to securely fasten the nuts to prevent your trucks from falling out.
Fasten the screws using a crisscross pattern. This pattern means that if you begin tightening the southeast screw, the next screw you fasten should be the northwest, then the northeast one and finally southwest screw. The crisscross pattern ensures an even distribution of the hold over the baseplate.
4. Insert the bearings into the wheels
Now that your trucks are in place, it is time to add your bearings and wheels. First, you need to get the bearings into the wheel sockets. You are probably wondering, what is the toughest part of the assembly process? Well, inserting the bearings into the wheels might be.
What makes the fixing of bearings tough is that you require to use some manpower. If you do not want to use your hands to press the bearings, you can get a bearing press to make the work easier.
Flip your skateboard on one side then proceed to slide a bearing onto one of the axles. Be careful when handling bearings as they are sensitive and can easily become comprised when not handled properly. Once your bearing is in place, you can add a spacer before finally fixing your wheel.
Apply overhead pressure to drive the bearing through the wheel’s socket. As you press the bearing, you will feel it fall into place. It is crucial you note that the harder the wheels, the tougher it will be to fix the bearings.
With your bearing in place, extract the wheel then slide another bearing and a spacer (a spacer is optional). Once you insert the second bearing, use a wheel to push it into place. That is it; you have one wheel in place with its bearings. Now, you have three wheels to go.
5. Attach the wheels onto the trucks
Once you are done fitting all your wheels with their bearings, it is time to fix them to the trucks. Begin by placing your board on its side. Most trucks feature two-axle washers in every wheel, making a total of eight washers. The washers help in the smooth spinning of the wheels. Washers are normally placed on the wheels either side.
To fix the wheels, start by inserting the first washer, then slide in the wheel with its bearings and finally, insert the second washer. The last piece you need to fix while inserting the wheel is the lock nut. This nut secures the entire wheel keeping it from falling off.
Once you fixed the wheels on one side of the board, flip it, and repeat a similar process. Once all your wheels are in place, your skateboard is ready to ride. However, before you get all excited and jump on the board, go through the board to ensure all the parts are in place. You do not want to mount the board only for it to break down before you even start cruising.
Make sure everything is tightened properly, and there are no loose nuts. Once you are satisfied, it is time to take your skateboard for a ride.
Building a skateboard is a simple process, but understanding it takes a while. The time you take to understand the process is, however, worthwhile as the final product will be perfect. Learning how to build a skateboard is interesting, right? Now, go ahead and make that board and get moving!