A Guide to Skateboard Construction: Understanding Your Board's Anatomy

A Guide to Skateboard Construction: Understanding Your Board's Anatomy

Skateboard construction is an art that combines various materials and engineering to create a durable, responsive ride. Whether you're a seasoned skater or new to the sport, understanding how your skateboard is built can help you make informed choices about your gear and how to maintain it. This guide will walk you through the essential components of skateboard construction and what you need to know about each.

Deck Construction

  1. Materials: Most skateboard decks are made from seven to nine layers of maple plywood, pressed together with strong adhesives. Maple is preferred for its optimal blend of strength, weight, and flexibility.

  2. Pressing: The layers of wood are pressed together in molds that give the deck its shape, including the concave and the nose/tail curves. This process ensures the deck is sturdy and maintains its form under stress.

  3. Shapes and Sizes: Decks vary in width and length, typically ranging from 7.5 to 8.5 inches wide for standard skateboards. The shape of the deck affects its functionality, with wider decks providing more stability and narrower ones offering better maneuverability.

  4. Graphics and Coatings: Once the deck shape is set, graphics are applied, and a protective coating is added. These elements are both aesthetic and functional, as the coating helps protect the wood from moisture and wear.

Truck Construction

  1. Baseplate: The flat, rectangular part that bolts onto the deck, providing the foundation for the other truck components.

  2. Hanger: The T-shaped part that houses the axle, on which the wheels are mounted. The hanger supports the majority of the skater's weight and endures the brunt of impact and stress.

  3. Bushings: Soft urethane pieces fitted around the kingpin within the truck. They allow the board to turn and pivot smoothly and can be adjusted for different levels of responsiveness.

  4. Kingpin: The large bolt that holds the truck parts together, passing through the baseplate and hanger. Adjusting the kingpin's tightness affects the board's turning radius and stability.

Wheel Construction

  1. Material: Skateboard wheels are typically made from polyurethane, a versatile material that can be produced in varying degrees of hardness.

  2. Hardness: Wheel hardness is measured on the Durometer A scale. Softer wheels (lower numbers) provide better grip and absorb more road vibration, while harder wheels (higher numbers) are faster and more suitable for smooth surfaces.

  3. Shape: The edge or "lip" of the wheel can impact its grip and slide capabilities. Rounded edges are more forgiving for slides, while sharper edges offer more grip.

Bearing Construction

  1. Materials: Bearings are usually made from steel or ceramic. Steel bearings are more common and affordable, while ceramic bearings are lighter, less prone to corrosion, and generally more durable.

  2. Components: Each bearing contains an inner and outer race, balls that allow for rotation, and a shield to protect against dirt and debris.

  3. Ratings: Bearings are rated by the ABEC scale, which measures precision and efficiency. However, in skateboarding, factors like impact resistance and lubrication quality are also crucial for performance.

Understanding the intricacies of skateboard construction empowers you to choose the best components for your style and maintain your board for longevity. Each part, from the deck to the bearings, plays a crucial role in how your skateboard performs and responds to your commands. Whether you're customizing your setup or simply aiming to get the most out of your current board, a solid grasp of skateboard construction is invaluable.

Elevate your skateboarding experience by diving deeper into the world of skateboard construction. Visit our shop for expert advice, quality components, and all the resources you need to build or enhance your perfect skateboard. Whether you're tweaking a single component or assembling a new setup from scratch, we're here to help you get the most out of your skateboarding journey.

Legit since 1987.

Sk8 Skates is more than just a skate and snowboard shop, it is a family of individuals committed to strengthening the Winnipeg skateboard and snowboard scene.