How to Build Your Own Skateboard From Scratch
Making a skateboard from scratch can be a fun project and a great way to express your individuality as a skateboarder. If you want to hand craft every aspect of your own board, you will first need to obtain plans and materials for building a skateboard mold and press. Building a mold and a press are big projects in themselves and may not be practical for everyone. If you want to move a little quicker and still make a skateboard from scratch, you can purchase a blank uncut deck and begin with Step 4 of the instructions given here. A deck is the “board” part of a skateboard, the surface on which you stand when you ride. A wide variety of grip tape, trucks and wheels are available to complete a skateboard that suits your unique specifications.
Glue layers of veneer together, one on top of the other. Apply an even layer of wood glue between each sheet of veneer. The sheets of veneer should be approximately the size of the deck you would like to end up with, 8 inches by 32 inches, for example.
Place the glued together veneer into a skateboard mold. The mold will determine such characteristics of the finished deck as concave, wheels wells, and kick tail. You can obtain plans for building your own skateboard mold from materials such as wood or concrete.
Press the mold together. Use a “cold press” method, such as a hydraulic press or a bottle jack press, to apply pressure to the mold. Like the skateboard mold, a press can be made at home by first obtaining a specific set of plans and materials. Your press will need to exert at least 5 tons of pressure for up to 24 hours.
Remove the board from the mold. Measure carefully to determine the center of your board, and use trucks or a template to accurately mark the placement of the holes into which the trucks will be mounted. Trucks are the apparatus that hold the axles and wheels to the skateboard deck. The trucks must be lined up perfectly in the center of the deck. Use a drill press, or handheld power drill, with a 3/16-inch bit to drill the holes.
Shape and sand the deck. Cut the deck into the desired shape with a jigsaw, or a band saw. Sand the edges of the deck, by hand with a sanding block or with a power sander. Sand the entire deck to make it smooth.
Coat the deck with wood sealer. More than one layer of sealant may be required to protect the deck.
Apply grip tape. Grip tape is basically a strip of sandpaper with an adhesive backing that helps hold your feet to the skateboard. Sand the top of the deck prior to applying grip tape to help it adhere.
Mount your trucks and wheels to the deck using the mounting hardware of nuts and bolts that come with the trucks. Attach your wheels to the ends of the truck axles, securing them with the nuts. Place the bolts down through the holes in the deck and through the holes in the baseplate of the trucks. Hold the nuts in place with pliers and tighten the mounting hardware with either a Phillips head screwdriver or an Allen wrench, depending on the type of bolts you have.
If you want to paint graphics on your deck, use paint that has the same base as the wood sealer you used; otherwise, the paint won’t stick. Add graphics before mounting the trucks and wheels. If you use a handheld power drill instead of drill press to drill the holes in the deck, use great care to drill the holes straight.
Do not rush any step in the process of making a skateboard. Making a mistake at any point may render the board useless in the end. Power tools require caution and concentration to be used properly and safely. Apply sealant in a well-ventilated area.
- If you want to paint graphics on your deck, use paint that has the same base as the wood sealer you used; otherwise, the paint won't stick.
- Add graphics before mounting the trucks and wheels.
- If you use a handheld power drill instead of drill press to drill the holes in the deck, use great care to drill the holes straight.
- Do not rush any step in the process of making a skateboard. Making a mistake at any point may render the board useless in the end.
- Power tools require caution and concentration to be used properly and safely.
- Apply sealant in a well-ventilated area.
- the underside of a red coloured skateboard on a blue background image by Stephen Gibson from Fotolia.com