Learning how to make a skateboard is something that anyone can learn how to do. It makes no difference whether you are an expert when it comes to boarding or have not even started yet, since it is just a few steps and a little bit of hard work. Keep reading for all the information you need to get started building your first skateboard, in the privacy of your own home.
Before starting any project, it’s a good idea to plan out what you are going to do. In this case, you can draw out a sketch and make calculations, based on how long you want the board to be, where you want the wheels placed, and any other minor things you want. This is important because there are cuts to make and holes to drill. You don’t want to make a costly mistake.
If you don’t know anything about shapes and measurements, you can search online for help with possible sketches to follow and that type of thing.
The entire project should only take 1 or 2 days, depending on the materials you choose to use, so it can essentially be done in a weekend.
You will need a few supplies before you get started. It’s a good idea to have a special area in the garage or workshop to do this project, so you have enough space and are able to do everything in an efficient manner, where you can measure and cut safely. You also need to make sure that you have a large flat surface to use, since you will need it when it comes to the delicate steps.
Here are the materials you will need
- Hardware for the board, including fasteners
- Grip tape
When considering what type of wood to purchase, it is a matter of how you want to design your skateboard. There is more than one way to approach the situation, and here is a look at the two most common.
Some people opt for hardwood whenever they are making their board. You will need ¾” hardwood and the length depends a lot on how long you want the board to be. The width of the wood is also something that should be based on your preferences.
When you purchase hardwood, there is no need to purchase more than one plank, unless you want something to practice your design with first, in which case you may want to consider getting a cheaper plank to practice with before you start cutting for real. Plywood should work just fine in this instance.
On the other hand, there are people that prefer to get thinner sheets of wood, or veneers, to make the deck of their skateboards. To do this, you will need 7 pieces of plywood that are as thin as possible. You can buy plywood that is all the same type of wood, or purchase various types. The key to remember is that the wood has to be strong, and all the pieces must have the same measurements.
These thin wooden planks will have to be glued together, so it’s important to know the different types required. There are 3 types of veneers to get acquainted with, and each has a different purpose.
- These should be the hardest of the boards and look the most finished. You need to place one on the top and the bottom of the pile because it will end up being the top and bottom of the board itself. It is recommended that you opt for maple for the face boards.
- These are the middle boards that make the structure stable. For this, you can purchase normal plywood planks without any issue. They don’t have to be fancy or be sanded.
- This is the most important type of plank, since they are designed to break up the grain in the board, so not every layer is facing the same way. This will give the board more integrity and make it stronger. A great type to purchase is crossband plywood.
Keep in mind that there are kits you can purchase online that have all these types of veneers sold together, for the purpose of making a skateboard at home. This may be something you want to check out to see if it is an economical solution for you.
Once you have your boards, you will need to line them up a certain way before gluing. You should layer them with a face board on the bottom, then crossband, core, crossband, core, and finally the other face on the top.
Put glue between each layer. It will work best if you use wood glue, and it doesn’t really matter what kind.
After you have glued all the boards, you will need to press them together, so that they turn into one strong sheet. You can do this with a vacuum press if you have it, or a regular press, whatever you have available. It will likely need to be pressed overnight or for at least 12 hours so it can dry fully.
Cutting it Out
The next step is cutting it out. Since you have already planned the size and measurement of your board, the easiest way to know how to cut it the way you want is to either use an older skateboard deck, a spare piece of wood, or a piece of paper as a template.
Use this template to help you trace the final shape on your new piece of wood or the pieces you have glued together, so you will be able to see exactly where to cut. Do this using a marker or pencil.
Be sure to trace on the top and bottom of the wood, making sure you can see it from either side when you are cutting.
Cut out the shape using a jigsaw and going as slow as you can. You need to get all the angles just right, so take your time and make sure to get all the edges as precise as possible. Don’t worry about minor differences, since you will be sanding the finer parts next.
After you are satisfied with the deck you have cut out, it’s time to do the finer sanding. Depending on if you need to sand a little or a lot, you may need more than one type of sandpaper. In most cases, it is better to use the finer grit types to sand the edges of the board down.
The idea is that you want to be able to run your hand on your board and not get any splinters or cuts, so be sure that the top, bottom, and the edges are smooth. This may take a while to get just right.
Sealing or Painting
Depending on which wood you used and what you want your finished product to look like, you may want to seal or paint the board at this point. You can either seal it with polyurethane to keep the wood looking good, or paint it with the design of your choice.
Many only paint the bottom of the deck however, since the top is usually covered with grip tape.
The first thing you need to do in the assembly process is add the grip tape to the top of the deck. You can cover it in grip tape or add strips in a special design. It’s up to you and your efficiency when it comes to skateboarding.
This tape comes in sheets or rolls, so you’ll need to cut it to match the shape of your board. It is best if you use a craft knife to cut this. You’ll also need to be sure that you take your time laying the tape down, to lessen the appearance of bubbles or air pockets.
This is the point where you need to drill holes for the hardware. To do this, you can use the sketch that you made or an older board to make sure you have the holes in the proper place. You need 4 holes for the trucks at the front of the board and 4 at the back of the board.
Make markings on the top and bottom of the deck, so you will know exactly where to drill. Then use the drill to make holes in the proper places.
The only thing left to do now is add the hardware. You should have trucks and wheels, as well as all the fasteners that go with them. Use a screwdriver to fasten the trucks and wheels together. You may also need a socket wrench to secure the bolts.
After you complete all these steps, you’ll have a new skateboard to ride. You should also have the knowhow to make another board at any time. Furthermore, you can make any improvements or finer design touches that you want to when you try again. The sky is the limit.