The first skateboards were made between the 1940s and ’50s using wooden boxes and boards in California when there were flat waves. Initially, skateboarding was known as sidewalk surfing. Skating was a common sport among children in the streets.
Companies continued improving various parts of skateboards to make them durable and convenient to use.
One of the essential elements of the skateboard and which we will delve into at length is the deck. The design of the deck determines the stability of the skateboard. The width of the deck has a great deal to do with the stability of the skateboard. All skateboard decks will almost follow the same making process, and the following materials will make the process easy.
- Half-inch plywood and three quarter inch hardboard
- Grip tape, wheels, bearings, mounting bolts, and trucks
- A band saw or jigsaw
- Straight edge
- Sandpaper or steel wool
- Drill with drill bits
- Router with a round-over bit
A skateboard is a wooden vessel that looks like a surfboard and is a conventional means of transport for shorter distances while also used for stunting errands. The feet usually coordinate the movement of the skateboard. The vessel allows one person at a time. A skateboard usually has three parts: the deck or the real board, wheels, and trucks.
Our primary focus is on making the deck and the materials to use. A typical skateboard deck has a length of about 80bcentimeters, a width of approximately 23 centimeters, and a thickness of 1.3 centimeters. Making a skateboard deck is not as complicated as many people think, it requires basic carpentry skills.
You can build your skateboard deck in less than two days or contract a professional if you need a more professional looking deck. Let us look at the steps you can follow to make a skateboard deck.
Form and Press the Wood Veneers
The most important part of this is to note that skateboard decks require pressing between six and nine layers of plywood together. Plywood veneers can fall into three categories: sanded or un-sanded center plywood, cross-band plywood, and face plywood. The most standard deck uses seven plywood pieces, but there is no harm using up to nine pieces.
The reason for using many veneer and plywood is to enable the deck to withstand damage and stress. There is no particular order to arrange your veneers. Alternating the cup while layering your veneers helps prevent the board from warping. Altering the number of plywood pieces or sheets thickness has a direct impact on flexibility, riding, and flexibility of the skateboard.
Mahogany or maple wood pieces are perfect selections for the top or bottom face of the deck. Bamboo or birch wood is suitable for the core because of its stability compared to plywood.
Attach the Boards with Evenly-Spread Glue
Using paint or short-napped roller, spread a thin coat of wood glue evenly on top of your core sheet of plywood and the bottom of the face wood. A paint roller less than four inches wide is excellent because it can access all corners while spreading glue. The sanded face of the veneer should face down while you spread glue on the un-sanded side facing upwards.
An even coat of glue helps eliminate bubbles, and the drying will also be even. Applying more glue on between the veneers than can make them swell and too little glue between veneers results in weak points. It would be best if you also were keen when using a new roller because it can absorb a lot of glue while spreading.
It is advisable to dampen your roller with adhesive on a scrap material until it has a full coat of adhesive. Delamination is a significant challenge while gluing due to lack of sufficient glue and hastening the process is the best solution.
Delamination occurs when some layers of the veneer do not get sufficient glue to hold them intact. As a result, the veneers drift away from each other creating gaps between them. To correct delamination, you need to add more glue between the veneer layers and clamp them until they are tightly intact.
Press the Board
After spreading the glue, take the pieces of wood and push them lightly to each other and repeat the process for all the seven sheets of plywood. Make sure you have at least two cardboard pieces about three inches longer and wider than the deck.
The next thing is placing the deck in between the cardboard frames. You can use nuts and washer to hold the press in place and keep checking until it is tight, probably a day will be sufficient. When pressing the plywood pieces together, make sure you evenly coat both sides of the plywood with the glue.
Using the proper glue will make your press intact within two hours. Your press can take up to 24 hours if the adhesive does not have the right qualities.
Place Your Deck on the Mold and Tape Them Together
The mold comes in handy while creating the shape that you desire. A wide range of molds that you can choose from are; concrete, aluminum, and wood mold. The type of mold you choose relies on the kind of press to use, your budget restriction, the number of decks that you plan to make, and the space that you have. You can either opt to use masking tape for adhering the board to Styrofoam mold or use a professional press to lay the board in the mold.
Make sure that all veneers are well aligned and that no edges shifted while applying glue. You can use two tape pieces to wrap the board so that it does not curve. It is not a crime to tap the veneers to prevent them from moving. Do not worry if you do not have Styrofoam mold because you can place the board between two decks that are of the same shape as yours.
The other bit is drilling perpendicular holes on the surface of the deck. You will require a standard drill press to drill holes accurately. Before you start drilling, you either have to use a measuring tape to determine the wheelbase and center of the deck or use an old deck as a sample.
The purpose of drilling holes on the deck is to provide an attachment between the deck and the truck. A countersink bit is ideal for drilling truck bolt holes 13/64 bit is perfect for the job.
Round and Sand the Skateboard Deck
Sanding removes all the round edges on the skateboard deck. You can also use a mini palm or mini router, which is less cumbersome in clearing tiny spaces with ease. After sanding the edges to an elegant feel, you can now sand the deck’s surface starting with 80 grit sandpaper, switching to 100 grit up to 200 grit for the smoothest surface. The board should curve slightly not more than four to five millimeters towards the wheels.
Shape the Deck
The next process is shaping the deck as required. Get an old deck or a new one to use as a template for our shape. Place the template deck on your blank one and trace it out. You can use a band saw or jigsaw to cut out the deck as traced from the sample. You can also decide to use design cards or even draw out your shape on a paper.
Seal the Deck
Making sure the cut outline and the entire deck is smooth, use a tack cloth with a wax coating to get rid of sawdust on the surface of the deck. After ensuring that the deck has no remaining debris and other particles you can now seal the deck
You are free to proceed to the graphic stage after sealing the deck. Depending on the general appearance of the deck that you want, you can either apply spray paint, screenprint, freehand or stencil whichever rhymes with your sealer.
You would have to apply a solvent-based paint if you used a solvent-based sealer and likewise a water-based paint if you used a water-based sealer.
Many people forget the last step, which is as crucial as any other process. The final process is air-drying the deck. A tack cloth can be essential for cleaning the deck.
The cost of making your deck will significantly depend on the quality of materials you use. A professional deck will be more expensive than a do-it-yourself deck that you can create using locally available and cheap materials.
The duration your skateboard lasts before changing the deck depends on how often you go out skating. Replacing your deck within a period of two to three months will keep your deck in its proper form. Skating is an essential activity in modern society, and therefore it is good to note these ideas if you want to know how to make your own skateboard deck.
This recreational sport has necessitated the creation of shops that sell skateboards and decks separately.
For a beginner, the guide will help you make a better choice right from the selection of materials if you plan to make your own deck. The above tips will also help experts who may want to change or vary the elements for their decks, to make them more presentable or add to their stability. Deck entrepreneurs can have a good share of the ideas to boost their businesses.