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How To Build A Complete Skateboard

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SELECTING THE RIGHT PARTS


When making your complete skateboard (setup), you will need the following items:

Deck & Griptape: 1 of each
Trucks: 2 trucks, one at the front of the board, one on the back of the board, We sell trucks in a set of two 
Wheels: 4 total, 2 on each end of the truck, We sell wheels in a set of four 
Bearings: 8 total, one for each side of the 4 wheels, We sell bearings in a set of 8 
Hardware: 8 nuts and bolts total, 4 for each truck, We sell hardware in a set of 8 

DECKS

  

Decks come in different shapes and sizes.  Some are shaped differently, and it all depends on the skating you are looking to do.  The most common is the 'popsicle' deck where it is pretty similar shaped at the nose and the tail.  Skateboard decks do not vary much in total length; they hang somewhere around 31"-33" unless, of course, you are using a short scale (appropriate for little kids) or penny/cruiser boards.  We primarily stock street decks at full size; we will get the more specialty shapes and lengths throughout the seasons.  

The main difference between decks that you will see is the width.  This is again personal preference and depends on what kind of skating you are looking to do.  The main range of deck sizes is 7"-9.5".  There are generally two buckets of skating that require different sizes, street skating, and transitional skating.  Street skating generally consists of popping and flipping your board (tricks).  The idea is the less your board weighs, the easier to flip, so the general range is 7"-8.25".  Transitional skating, which consists of bowls and ramps, usually has a larger board; more board space means more foot room and stability, which is good for carving around, general range being 8.25" and up.

 

Another aspect of decks is concave; this is usually dependent on the brand and is based on personal preference. 

We recommend taking an educated guess for first-timers, but in reality, you will develop your own preference through experience.  Skaters who frequently use their board will go through a deck every couple of months.  For beginners, we recommend noticing the wear and tear of the deck, replace when it starts losing its shape at the tail, the tail wears away over time and use (known as razor tail). Pro tip: don't skate in the rain!  The deck is made of wood and will absorb water, which will, in turn, make it not pop as well and start to feel soggy.  

 

GRIP TAPE

The wooden deck's topside is too slippery to skate on as is; that's why a complete has grip tape.  Griptape has a sandpaper-like texture that allows you to maintain board control and keep your feet on the board.  One sheet of grip covers the whole skateboard deck, but you will need to cut off the excess. Watch the video below to see how to do it.  Grip originally was black and now comes in an array of colors and patterns.  Different brands offer a slightly different amount of grip, but this is usually a personal preference; all brands do about the same thing when you're skating.  And feel free to get creative with the grip; it's usually an expression of style; you can combine different colors, paint on, or layout your grip, however, you think is cool.  But of course, keep it the classic if that's your style too.

 

TRUCKS


 

Trucks are the metal part of the skateboard that connects the wheels to the deck.  This is also the part that you can do grinds on.  Trucks should fit the width of your deck, not any wider or more narrow.  

 

Each truck brand has a different system for numbering the size, but we've created a chart with all brands and deck sizes for your reference.

 

The kingpin attaches the truck's top and bottom- the axel (or hanger) and the baseplate.  Tightening or loosening the kingpin nut dictates how tight or loose the hanger of the trucks are.  Tighter trucks don't turn as much, which can be good for learning, but as you skate more, you should loosen to turn better.  Loose trucks save lives.

Bushings come with the trucks, but there are additional options for you to customize your setup. Bushings go on the kingpin on top and below the hanger of the axel and hold it together.  There are different levels of softness and hardness; the softer, the more flexible, the more your trucks can turn, and vice-versa.   

 

WHEELS

  

Wheels are the part that your skateboard rolls on.  They have a cavity in the center where the bearings go, and once assembled with bearings, the wheels go on the truck's axel.  Wheels are made of urethane and come in different diameters and levels of durometer or softness/hardness.  Standard skate wheels are made for skateparks' smoothness; they are usually smaller and harder (48-56mm and 83B-101A).  Specialty wheels for cruising and rougher terrain are usually softer/gummier and larger in size (56+ mm, 78-95A).  The larger the wheels, the faster they go over rough surfaces; smaller wheels are better for controlled speed and smooth surfaces.  Harder wheels will absorb less impact but can pop better so they're preferred for doing tricks (street skating).  Softer wheels will absorb impact like rocks and cracks but aren't recommended for park or street (trick) skating beyond cruising.  Again this comes down to the skating you are looking to do! 

 

BEARINGS

 

Bearings are a small cylindrical piece of metal hardware that helps the wheel rotate smoothly on the truck's axel.  They consist of small metal balls that spin around the inner and outer race that ultimately roll the wheel at a consistent radius.  Bearings are a standard size and fit perfectly into all wheels; these are standard in areas even outside of the skate world.  Brands offer different bearings; some have larger metal balls, some have different materials, but overall, there's no wrong choice. Bearings can become dirty or rusted if you're out in the rain, so these get replaced the most frequently.  You can clean them; we have bearing cleaner solution if you're looking to save them from lasting longer.

 

Hardware


Hardware means the nuts and bolts on a skateboard, the parts that attach the trucks to the wooden deck. There are 4 holes on each corner of the baseplate of your truck and 4 holes on the deck right before the end of the nose and the tail.  These parts are usually pretty standard but very necessary to your setup! Hardware comes in either Phillips head or Allan.  Depending if you are using riser pads for your trucks, you can purchase hardware based on length as well.  7/8" - 1" is the standard hardware length.  Anything longer than an inch would be used in the case that you have riser pads between the base of your truck and the bottom of your deck.

 

Additional Parts

 

A skateboard tool is perfect when setting up because it has a socket that fits the nuts on the baseplate, the axel nut, and the kingpin nut, and has a key to hold bolts while tightening.  You can use standard home tools to set up your board, but this is most convenient and easy to take with you to your skate spot if you need an adjustment while you're out.  We recommend getting one with your first setup; it makes everything a lot easier.
 

Riser pads are not always necessary but add to the customization of your set up.  They add height to the truck and allow more space for your trucks to turn.  This is ideal for those who are really carving hard and turning a lot or if you have wheels larger than 56mm.

 

ASSEMBLING THE SKATEBOARD


Now that we've explained the components, you need to build your skateboard.  Here, we will show you how to put it all together.   

This page is meant to be a guide to help you get started; it is by no means final. One thing to remember in skateboarding, there are no rules! We encourage you to keep skating and developing your own style and preferences, and of course, we will be here to answer all your questions along the way. 

 

Illustrations by Charlotte Tegen of Housewife Skateboards

Video by Jacob Campbell featuring Ezra F.

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