Skateboard Decks

by Ketchingup

It started out as just a plain board with wheels bolted to it. Now the skateboard deck is an engineered flexible combination of wood layers formed into a platform of great strengh

That wonderful example of a skateboarding deck in the photo is a prime example of a 1950's skateboard.

To say that there have been a few advances in skateboard design since then would be an understatement. That skateboard in the photo now is considered nothing more than firewood.

Today's skateboard deck is an engineered, sculpted work of art.

How Are Skateboard Decks Made?

What goes in a skateboard deck.
Skaetboard Deck Veneers

Currently the majority of skateboard decks are made out of wood veneers. Wood veneers are sheets of thinly sliced wood about 1/16" thick.

The process takes 7 sheets of veneer and glues them together to create the board.

As you can see in the diagram above there are 2 sections marked "crossband". The grain of the veneer in the "crossband" goes from side to side, while the grain in the other bands goes from end to end. By doing this the skateboard gains a great deal of strength. This is the same method used to manufacture the typical plywood used as a building material. However, don't think that normal plywood can be used for a skateboard as it can't. The actual quality of the wood used in plywood is inferior to that used in skateboards.

As noted in the photo above the best wood to use in a skateboard is the northern sugar maple. Currently most of this wood comes from Canada.

Molding Skateboard Decks

How the skateboard shape is formed
Skateboard Deck Mold

Right after being glued, with the glue still wet, the entire packet of glued veneer sheets are put in a mold to form the shape of the skateboard.

The photo above illustrates what a typical mold looks like

The glued up the laminated veneer sheets are left in the mold until dry. The drying time varies with the type glue used.

The Skateboard Deck is Born

Creating the final skateboard shape.
Skateboard Deck

Once the glue has dried the laminated veneers are taken out of the press and the final shape of the skateboard is drawn on the veneer.

The skateboard shape is then cut out to its final shape using a saw, as in the above photo.

The exact size of the skateboard deck is not fixed. Decks can vary in width form 7 to 10.5 inches. The wider the board, the more stable. Lengthwise the boards are normally 28 to 33 inches. The one exception to this is the longboard which is used for downhill free-styling so these may be longer still.

Once cut out the skateboard deck can be sanded and finished. It is here where most boards get their graphics on the bottom.

The top of skateboard decks are covered with grip tape which is a sandpaper like tape that is used to help the rider grip the skateboard.

Applying Grip Tape

Grip Tape

Skateboard Graphics on Bottom

Skateboard Graphics

Available on Amazon

Blank Decks Warning Skateboard Deck (Natural)

Blank skateboard decks. Great for replacement decks or skaters on a budget.

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Moose Blank Skateboard Decks (Set of 5, 7.75", Assorted Colors, Grip)

Blank Deck refers to absence of a graphic on the bottom.

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Blank 8" Skateboard Deck (Black) Plus griptape

1. Deck Size: 31" x 8" 2. Includes ONE Sheet of Black Grip Tape 3. Great Quality and Shape 4. Free shipping when order over 2 pcs 5. Please check our stores to see other colors ...

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Updated: 06/29/2013, Ketchingup
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Ketchingup on 06/01/2013

I agree there is a culture, and the equipment is amazing.

EliasZanetti on 06/01/2013

Interesting info and article. I remember as a kid I had one but I was never very fond of skateboarding. Nowadays, of course, it is a whole culture on its own.

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