Skateboarding has been around since the 1950s when kids in southern California learned they could nail roller skates to a wood plank and ‘surf the sidewalk’ when they couldn’t get on the water. Since those first amateur boards, skateboarding has become a sport and industry by itself with professionally engineered and built skateboards replacing ones built in garages. The modern skateboard is flexible, durable, and much more versatile than old school handmade boards, but how do today’s manufacturer’s make skateboards? Let’s learn the process step-by-step to figure out how skateboards are made and how one special glue holds everything together.
The Skateboard Process
Skateboards consist of three main components – the deck, the trucks, and the wheels. There are a few secondary components like bearings and grip tape depending on the model, but you can’t have a skateboard without a deck, trucks, or wheels.
Building the Deck
First, the wood. Most skateboard decks are manufactured from hardwood like maple or oak though maple is the most popular wood for today’s boards. Hardwoods like maple provide both strength and flexibility opposed to plastic or softwoods which tend to break instead of bend when stressed.
Once the proper wood is selected, manufacturers cut it into several thin sheets known as veneers. Veneers are coated with a specialized adhesive (we’ll get more into the glue later) and layered together, much like plywood.
The layered veneers are placed in a deck-shaped hydraulic mold and pressed to bond the veneers and form the shape of the skateboard’s deck. The mold provides the popular concave shape that helps riders keep their feet planted and control the board. Boards can be molded into several different shapes and sizes from foot and a half penny boards to three-foot longboards for cruising.
The glued layers are pulled from the press and cut into the classic skateboard shapes using a band saw. Most modern skateboards are formed with a nose, tail, and concave deck. The sides of the deck are sanded down and holes are drilled in the top of the board to connect the trucks. Graphics can also be applied to the bottom of the deck. Most skateboard manufacturers use screen-printing for colorful graphics that won’t fade over time. Lastly, the deck is sprayed with a sealant to prevent water damage and warping. Manufacturers may apply asphalt-based grip tape for added traction though grip tape is traditionally applied at the point of purchase like your local skate shop.
After the deck is complete installers use the pre-drilled holes to attach trucks. Skateboard trucks are T-shaped axles constructed from aluminum or other durable metals. They’re designed to hold onto the skateboard wheels and allow riders to turn by leaning. Most skateboard trucks use a simple nut and bolt system so skaters can easily attach or detach them to the deck.
After the trucks are attached, manufacturers attach wheels to their trucks. Most skateboard wheels are manufactured from durable polyurethane and a center bearing both on the inside to help the wheels spin. Like the trucks, wheels are secured with a nut and bolt for easy assembly if you need to change them. You now have a fully functioning skateboard ready to shred city streets or your local skatepark.
Picking the right woods and shape is key to making a great skateboard, but the real trick is in the glue. A skateboard without proper glue will delaminate, fray, and leave you with a broken pile of splinters after a few rides. Most manufacturers use a specialized wood glue known as Franklin Multibond Sk8 Glue for its superior adhesive abilities, waterproofness, and strength over time. Multibond Sk8 Glue holds your board together even if you leave it in the rain or take the board off a steep drop. Modern skateboarding wouldn’t exist without the advent of great glues like Multibond Sk8 Glue.
Other Uses for Multibond Sk8 Glue
Franklin Multibond Sk8 Glue is the key to keeping a skateboard together through heavy use, but this unique adhesive is useful for any job where you need a powerful watertight adhesive. You can use Multibond Sk8 glue for any projects that involve the wood and outdoors like deck building, furniture crafting, or hardscape repairs. If normal wood glue isn’t working for you, try Multibond Sk8 Glue.
Skateboarding has come a long way since scrap pieces of woods with roller skates nailed to them and that’s good news for skateboards. The modern skateboard uses the perfect wood, the perfect tools, and the perfect glue to hold it all together. Whether you need a quick way to get across campus or want to shred the park, grab a board and get rolling.
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