Intro: How to Put Together a Skateboard
The following instructions and information will help you properly put together a skateboard. Whether you are putting together your first board, looking for suggestions or a refresher, you will find that these instructions will help accomplish the task.
Step 1: Skateboard Parts
You will first have to pick out equipment. If you don't know what sizes and/or brands to purchase, you can ask a skateboard technician at your local shop for help and suggestions. After gathering and/or purchasing parts you may use these instructions to properly assemble the skateboard.
Below you will see a list of parts that make up a skateboard:
1- 1 set of wheels. A set of wheels is 4.
2- 1 set of bearings. A set of bearings is 8 (2 per wheel).
3- 1 set of bearing spacers. A set of bearing spacers is 4 (1 per wheel).
4- 1 set of trucks. A set would be 2 trucks.
5- 1 set of hardware. A set of hardware includes 8 bolts and 8 nuts.
Step 2: Tools Needed for Assembly
Please note that there are a variety of tools capable of completing assembly. The basics include a phillips screw driver, razor blade, and a wrench. These tools would get the job done, but I recommend using the following:
1- Drill with a phillips bit
2- Phillips screwdriver
3- Unit Skate Tool
- This tool works best as it has all 3 socket sizes needed to assemble, tighten, and loosen parts to a skateboard.
4- Razor blade
- This tool can be anything that is skinny enough to fit through the holes in your deck.
Step 3: Space and Location
You will want to use a flat surface to complete the steps (desk, bench, table, etc.). Make sure that it is a space clear of clutter as you will need to be able to rotate the board freely and also have room for parts and tools.
Once you have gathered the parts and tools and found the proper area, you may use the following steps to put together the skateboard.
Step 4: Gripping the Deck Pt. 1
Peel the griptape off and gently lay it down on the top of the deck
Note: The top of the deck is the side without the graphic.
Step 5: Gripping the Deck Pt. 2
Lay the peeled paper on top of the griptape. Make a fist and push outward from the center repeatedly. This step's purpose is to make sure the griptape is laid flat across the top of the deck.
Note: Make sure you are thorough in this step as failure can lead to air bubbles.
Step 6: Gripping the Deck Pt. 3
Take the screwdriver and rub it along the edge of the deck so that it creates an outline.
Step 7: Gripping the Deck Pt. 4
Use the razor blade to cut along the outline.
Step 8: Gripping the Deck Pt. 5
Take the poker and poke through the griptape going from the bottom and out through the top. You will do this 8 times as there are 8 holes.
Step 9: Attaching the Trucks Pt. 1
Let's first break down the components of a truck: There is a base, hangar, kingpin, 2 bushings, 2 washers on the kingpin, 2 washers on each side of the axle,and an axle nut on both sides as well. Capping off the kingpin is the nut that is used to tighten the truck.
Insert each of the 8 bolts though the holes in the deck. Insert them so that the head of the bolt is on top of the deck.
Step 10: Attaching the Trucks Pt. 2
1- With one hand hold the board sideways and put a truck on with the kingpin facing inward.
2- Hand screw each of the 4 nuts as tight as you are able.
Repeat the 2 steps above for the other truck.
Step 11: Attaching the Trucks Pt. 3
Use the drill and Unit Skate Tool to tighten the hardware so that the bolts are flush with the top of the deck. You will do this eight times as there are 8 screws/bolts to tighten.
Caution: Make sure not to tighten the hardware too much. This can lead to the screw sinking into the top of the deck. If this happens, the strength of the deck can be compromised.
Step 12: Inserting Bearings and Bearing Spacers Pt. 1
1- Place skateboard on its side.
2- Place 2 bearings on truck.
3- Take a wheel and put it on the truck.
4- Press down on the wheel making the bearing enter the wheel.
Note: This step may be difficult and will require some strength. Expect to have to apply a lot of force when pressing down.
Step 13: Inserting Bearings and Bearing Spacers Pt. 2
1- Take wheel off and place bearing spacer on truck so that it is on top of the second bearing.
2- Place the wheel back on the truck with the empty slot facing down.
3- Press down once again so that both the bearing and the bearing spacer enter the wheel.
Repeat the steps on Inserting Bearings and Bearing Spacers Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 three more times so that all 4 wheels contain 2 bearings and 1 bearing spacer.
Step 14: Putting the Wheels On
1- Place skateboard on its side.
2- Put an axle washer on.
3- Place your wheel on the truck axle.
4- Place the second axle washer on the truck.
5- Begin tightening the axle nut with the Unit Skate Tool.
Repeat the Steps above three more times so that a wheel is on each end of a truck.
Caution: Make sure not to tighten the axle nut too much as this can lead to denting the bearings. It can also restrict how smoothly the wheels roll. It is recommended that they be tightened to the point where there is still a bit of give.
Step 15: Tightening/Loosening Trucks
Now that the skateboard is put together, you're just one small step away from completion. Before going out and skating the streets or the skatepark you're going to want to make sure you are comfortable with the tightness of the trucks. The looser the truck, the easier it is to turn. The tighter the truck, the harder it is to turn. There are pluses and negatives to both. Skateboarding is full of personal preferences so there is no right or wrong decision here.
Loose trucks make turning easier, but this can lead to wheel bite. Wheel bite is when the bottom of your deck rubs on your wheel and can make you come to a sudden stop when leaning too far to one side.
Tight trucks will allow you to be more stable, but it makes it difficult to adjust your feet for doing tricks and also turning. There are a few different ways to turn on a skateboard and the two main ways are done by leaning one way or by lift up your front truck and pivoting off your back truck. If you have tight trucks the leaning method of turning becomes more difficult.
You may want to experiment with different truck settings to determine your desired tightness.
All you need to do to tighten or loosen the trucks is use the Unit Skate Tool- Righty-Tighty and Leftty-Loosey.
Step 16: Your Skateboard Is Now Fully Assembled!
Have fun skateboarding and always remember to wear the proper safety equipment!