Watching a group of professional skaters glides through the road with their respective skateboards can make you wonder how these skateboards are produced.
Does it include picking up any old piece of plywood and adding a rolling tire? You could be asking. Skateboards are relatively simple to make. Everything starts with having the proper raw materials and a basic understanding of carpentry.
So, let’s take a quick look at how skateboards are constructed, assuming you’re considering making your own.
Manufacturing Process of Skateboard Decks
Industrial-made skateboard decks are produced in five different stepwise processes. These processes include:
Skateboard Decks are made from hard maple wood, commonly obtained from the Great Lakes area of the U.S. and Canada. Most manufacturers seek wood from this region due to the short growing season, which produces tall maple trees of high density.
After these logs are purchased and sent to the mill, they could be stored for a while, like three months before being treated. Wood treatment means soaking the logs in water for hours until they get to 50% moisture. This way, the logs are softened and can easily be sliced into thin veneers. Once the desired softness is achieved, the logs are spun at high speed against a blade to produce thin veneers. These are further dried and sent to a skateboard manufacturer.
Once the manufacturer gets the veneers, the next step is to coat them in glue. These veneers, usually one-twentieth of an inch, are fed into a glue machine, which coats both sides with water-based glue. By doing this, it enables the veneers to be laid together.
Layering and Molding
This is the third process in manufacturing skateboard decks and probably the most important. The glue-coated veneers are stacked together in an orderly manner inside a specific mold press. Most manufacturers opt to stack 7 veneers, while some can extend to 9 veneers, depending on the manufacturer’s preference.
This mold press would impact the concave shape of the skateboard, along with the nose and tail of the deck. The veneers are arranged in layers in the direction of the grain, with some veneers traveling longitudinally and others perpendicular. Consequently, the board is made stronger.
After this process, the stacked veneers are made to sit in the mold for an extended period. The time it stays in the mold depends on the manufacturer’s preference. However, the longer they remain in the mold, the better they set, inadvertently producing decks with more durability. In some cases, manufacturers use heat to speed up this process, which might damage the natural fibers of the maple wood.
Drilling and Shaping
After the veneers have considerably been set to become a deck, they are removed from the mold press. The fourth stage in skateboard deck manufacturing is drilling and shaping.
Eight holes are drilled into the deck to enable the fixing of the trucks, with four holes at the opposite ends. Afterward, the deck is hand shaped with a band saw. In the process of shaping, a pre-made deck template design is used as a standard. Additionally, the entire edge of the board deck is sanded and finally coated with a sealant before it is sent over for screen printing.
you can watch this video on how skateboards are made industrially
This is the final and last stage of skateboard deck manufacturing. The design stage of the deck is usually determined by the skateboard company that wants to purchase the pre-made decks from the manufacturer. These designs are painted on the deck board using a custom screen-printing machine.
After the deck has been designed to preference, the trucks made from Aluminum ingots and wheels produced using polyurethane components are attached to the board deck. A skateboard has been manufactured and ready to be sold or ridden by connecting the three parts.
How to Make a Skateboard at Home
Making a simple skateboard in the comfort of your home is actually possible. All that you need is to purchase the required materials and tools. The process also pretty much follows the same process as industrial manufacturing.
Because it might be impossible for you to start from scratch by getting maple wood, it’s usually advised to purchase available veneers of about 30 x 10 inches. 6 to 7 pieces are enough. The next step is to apply water-based glue all over the plywood, and you can use a paint roller to ensure the glue is evenly distributed.
The next step is to stack the seven plywoods together. Endeavor to do this slowly to avoid mistakes. If you have a makeshift deck mold press made of Styrofoam, you can fit the stacked wood inside. This way, the wood is compressed to give the concave shape of a professional skateboard.
However, if you don’t have a mold, place the stacked wood between two similarly shaped old skateboard decks. Afterward, place the wood in a vacuum bag for at least 8 hours and suction out any trapped air. The bag must be airtight to ensure the wood is set correctly in the form of the mold, and not doing this correctly would cause mold bumps or cracks.
After the allocated time, carefully remove the set deck and shape it out using an old deck of yours and a jigsaw. If you don’t have an old deck, you can simply trace out your desired deck shape on a large piece of paper and use that to shape the pressed wood. Using a belt sander, sand the edge of your deck; this way, the deck curves downward. Furthermore, use a hand sander and sandpaper to smooth the board edges.
Finally, paint and design the board deck to your preference. You should have purchased the appropriate truck and wheel size for your deck. Remember, the board deck size must complement the truck and wheel size. This ensures you have a comfortable and smooth ride.
And by following the above steps in the right direction, you will have made a simple skateboard you can ride around your home and neighborhood.
What Wood is Used for Skateboard?
What Material Should I Use to Make A Skateboard?
How Much Does It Cost to Make Your Own Skateboard Deck?
Skateboard manufacturing is a rather lengthy but straightforward procedure. You are welcome to try making your own if you choose, and you can accomplish this by carrying out the steps outlined in the article.
But remember that homemade skateboard decks cannot take the place of commercially produced ones. This is due to the possibility that you can make mistakes throughout the creation process. Therefore, you should exercise caution when using a DIY skateboard, and it’s best to limit its use to short rides.