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How to build a skateboard: a beginners guide
Learn how to set up your own skateboard from the ground up.
Skateboarding is an expressive sport where you can show your personality in the way you ride. This chance to show your style starts before you even step out the door with the board you choose to ride. If you're new to skating, finding the right board for you is key to letting your personal style shine the next time you skate.
There's something special about your first custom skateboard. When you build your board from the ground up, you can ensure that every element is just right to suit your riding and aesthetic styles.
What you need to build your own skateboard
- Grip tape
- 1 Razorblade or crafting knife
- 1 Skateboard hardware kit (8 nuts and bolts)
- 1 Skate Tool
- 1 Skateboard deck
- 2 Trucks (includes required hardware)
- 4 Wheels
- 4 Bearing spacers
- 8 Bearings
How to assemble your skateboard
- Attach grip tape to the top of your deck. Press the tape so that it lays flat along the entire deck, and then trim off excess tape using the razor.
- Punch holes in your tape. Turn your board over and use the bolts from the hardware kit to punch holes in the tape.
- Secure the trucks. Position your trucks on the board with their kingpins facing toward each other, and secure them in place with the bolts, using the skate tool to tighten the nuts.
- Install your bearings. Each wheel needs two bearings to spin properly. Press a bearing into one side of your wheel until you feel it pop into place. Insert a bearing spacer into the wheel from the side that does not have a bearing, and then press a bearing onto the open side. Repeat for all four wheels.
- Mount your wheels. Using the hardware that comes with your trucks, place a washer on an axle, then a wheel, then a second washer. Secure in place using a nut. Repeat for all four wheels.
5 tips to customize a skateboard
- Set a budget
Anytime you're making a custom build, there's always the potential to get a bit carried away and find that your eyes are bigger than your wallet. A low-end board can be assembled for about $60, while premium parts can cost between $150 and $300.
- Find the right size
The important measure when sizing your board is its width, more than its length, and there are two key considerations. If you have large feet, size 12 or larger, you will want a wider deck that is over 8 inches; otherwise, a board at or just under 8 inches is ideal. You should also consider how you will be skating. If you will be doing street skating, use a narrower deck, about 7-3/4 inches for large feet down to 7-1/4 inches for smaller feet.
- Consider where you're skating
One consideration that is easy for a beginner to overlook is the type of terrain you'll be riding on. For example, street skating calls for a narrower board with hard wheels, while a broader base is more effective if you'll be looking to ride in bowls once you get some experience.
- Get some help
The best way to ensure you get a board that's well-suited for you is to have someone with more experience, such as a friend or skate shop pro, help you out.
Every part of your skateboard plays a key role in how it rides. It's important to make an informed decision about each piece of your skateboard when choosing your parts.
If building your own board seems like a tall task as a beginner, many skateboard brands have excellent options for beginners, like Powell Golden Dragon Flying Dragon 2. The second generation of an already popular beginner skateboard, the Flying Dragon 2 has a stunning dragon design and is sized to fit both adult and child riders. It's built to last a long time, making it a perfect starter board that will stand up to the rigors of new rider mistakes.