Many skaters choose to build their own skateboard. This has many advantages because you can make it a completely one-of-kind board. Building your own skateboard is not too difficult once you know the process and you can upgrade anytime. This guide is designed to help beginners learn how to build a skateboard by picking out all the parts and assembling them together.
Choose Your Deck Size and Grip Tape
The first step is to choose your deck size. This is based on your height and foot size. Normally, someone under four feet tall will need a deck 29 inches long or shorter. Someone over six feet tall should choose a board 32.5 inches or longer. Everyone in-between should choose the boards ranging from 29 to 32.5 inches long, based on their height.
The width of the board will be determined by your foot size and how you plan to skate but the average size is 8 inches. If you plan to use ramps or skate for transportation, go a little wider and if you plan to do street tricks, go a little narrower.
Grip tape is the sandpaper-like material that sticks to the top of the skateboard deck to help keep you from falling off. Stick the grip tape onto the deck. The main thing to remember is to keep it straight and smooth. You can trim the edges off with a knife and cut out the holes for the trucks.
Choose and Assemble the Trucks
Pick a truck width that is within a quarter inch of your deck size for the best results. You don’t want your trucks to be too small or too big or you’ll have serious balance issues. Most beginners do well with medium trucks.
The bushings look like small donuts made of rubber. They’re soft, medium or stiff and they go inside the trucks. They provide cushion for the trucks when you turn. Stiff bushings are more stable and soft ones make it easier to turn. Beginners should start with stiff bushings and they’ll soften up over time.
Don’t forget the hardware, which are the screws and nuts to hold everything together. Now, you’re ready to install the trucks. Place the trucks over the holes in the deck and use your thumb to push the screws through the deck and into the holes of the trucks.
Place the nuts on the ends of the screws and tighten with your fingers. After all of the nuts are on, go back over them with a skate tool or wrench and tighten until snug and then loosen half a turn for best results.
Choose and Assemble Wheels and Bearings
The next step is to choose and assemble your wheels. Wheels are chosen by diameter and durometer. Diameter is how tall the wheel is in millimeters while durometer is the hardness of the wheel.
The type of skating you do will determine which wheels to use but when you’re first starting out, most skaters find the wheels with a diameter of 52mm to 54mm and a hardness of around 99a works very well. If you choose a larger diameter wheel, make sure you pick up riser pads to keep your wheels from hitting the bottom of the board.
After picking out the wheels, you need to choose your bearings. There is a rating system in place called the “ABEC” but it was not designed for skateboards and does not work very well. If you choose to use this system, pick out bearings with a 3 to 5 rating for the smoothest rides. It’s also best to choose bearings in the medium price range when starting out because they can be damaged easily and you’ll probably be changing them soon.
Place the bearings inside the wheels and press down on the outside of the bearing until they pop into place. Put one on each side of the wheel, eight in all. Now attach the wheels to the axle and tighten.
You have now chosen all the parts needed to build your own skateboard and assembled the parts together to have your very own, one-of-a-kind skateboard that you build yourself.