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Building a Complete Board

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How To Build A Complete Skateboard

Building your own skateboard is a great way to affect a comfortable, maneuverable ride. It's really not difficult if you use the right tools and technique. Use the instructions below to guide you in assembling your perfect board.

Contents:

Tools

Building a skateboard requires very few tools, many of which you may already have around the house. You will need:

  • Metal file, any kind
  • Razor knife, or other straight blade
  • Phillips head screw driver or Alan wrench
  • 3/8 inch wrench or skate key

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Preparing the Board

It is very important to start by determining the nose from the tail. Once the griptape is on, it's hard to tell if you're riding the board backwards or not.

  • Most skate decks have a small logo towards the rear of the board.
  • If the bottom of the deck is blank, measure the nose and tail from the pre-drilled holes. The nose will be the longer of the two.
  • Mark the nose and tail in a subtle way so that you can tell them apart as you assemble the board.

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Applying Griptape

Your griptape will be larger than your board with an adhesive that becomes permanent with pressure. This means that you should have plenty of tape with which to work, and that you should be able to adjust the placement before pressing the adhesive into the board. These instructions tell you how to place and trim the tape, and what to do with the excess.

Placement

  • Peel away about 2 inches of the adhesive backing from the short end of the griptape sheet.
  • Lay the long edge of the sheet along the long edge of the board to find a square alignment.
  • Start at the nose and work towards the tail. Slowly lay the sheet on the board, gradually peeling away backing and smoothing the surface with your hand as you go.
  • If you need to adjust the placement of the griptape, peel it off before pressing it and realign.
  • Press out large air bubbles by chasing them to the edge and out. Smaller bubbles will work themselves out with riding.
  • Roll a wheel back and forth across the tape to work out the remaining bubbles and achieve a firm, even finish.

Trimming Excess

  • Gently run the file around the deck edge until you can see the board's silhouette. You do not want to file through the griptape, as this will compromise the adhesive at the edges.
  • Buff around the perimeter with the file to remove grit so it will be easy to trim.
  • Slice off the excess with your razor knife by following the outline you made with the file.
  • If you're having difficulty cutting smoothly, buff it with the file again.
  • As a finishing technique, use the scrap pieces to sand and smooth the edges of the board.

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Hardware

Now you're ready to move on to more mechanical components of your board. Because bearing shields are so delicate, assembling the wheels can be one of the trickiest steps. Proceed carefully, and you won't be sorry.

Wheels

  • Remove the nut and washer(s) on the end of one truck axle.
  • Slide a bearing onto the truck axle and drop a wheel on top.
  • Gently press the bearing into the wheel using the truck as leverage for your hand pressure.
  • Do not place your hand over the center wheel opening causing the axle to poke through into your hand.
  • Once the wheel and bearing are firmly assembled, remove them from that axle, repeat the process for the remaining three wheels.

Trucks

  • Remove the nuts and washers from each axle and place a complete wheel on each.
  • For trucks with 2 washers per axle: Place each washer on the outside of the bearing before the axle nut.
  • For trucks with 4 washers per axle: Place the components in this order from the inside out: washer, wheel with bearing, washer, axle nut.
  • Spin the wheel to make sure it rolls freely before tighening it with the 3/8 inch wrench.
  • Find your desired tension and move to the next wheel.

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Final Assembly

Some skaters prefer loose back trucks to allow flexibility or facilitate tricks. It is a matter of personal preference, but all skaters should regularly maintain and check the tightness of the trucks for safety.

  • Use one of the mounting bolts to poke holes from the bottom of the deck through the griptape.
  • Next, turn the deck upside down and slide the mounting bolts up through the holes in the top of the deck.
  • If you have risers or shock pads slide these onto the bolts on the bottom of the deck now.
  • Take both trucks and set them on the bolts, with the kingpin bolts toward the middle of the board facing each other. It's very important that the trucks go on in this manner or the board will not turn correctly.
  • Screw the nuts on the bolts and tighten accordingly. Your board is now finished.