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How to Build a Skateboard

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:

  • Plywood
  • Mounting bolts
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Danish oil
  • Jigsaw
  • Hardwood
  • Skateboard hardware that includes wheels, trucks, grip, bearings, and tape

Tool Table

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.

Blank Paper

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.

Working on Wood

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.

Skateboard in the Air

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.

Black Wheels

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.

Pink Board and Helmet

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.

Sidewalk Skate

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!

Categories
Decks

How To Make A Skateboard Deck

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.

Materials

  • 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

Woodworking

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.

Wood Glue

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.

Young Skater Boy

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.

Drill Holes

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.

Processing Wood

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

Graphics

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.

Final Coat

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.

Different Designs

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.

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News

My Deck Reviews

New site will be live soon.

I’ve decided it’s time .. I’ll be reviewing the boards that are sent to me and posting the written reviews here.

Justin