A skateboard is a four-wheeled, wooden device that people use for recreational purposes. However, it can also be used as a mode of transport in many urban cities around the world. Modern versions were first used in California in the late 1950s, and within a few years they became popular and are sold throughout the US.
How does a person use it? It's quite simple and all about balancing the weight of the body on the skateboard. You have to firmly put one foot on the board, while propelling it by the other foot. Alternately, it can be used on a slope by simply standing on its deck and letting gravity do its work.
There is no governing body that deals with regulations regarding the configurations or dimensions of the skateboard. Hence, it's up to you to make one the way you want it to be. It primarily consists of three parts; deck or board, wheels, and trucks. Making a well-balanced vehicle with these things requires a great deal of patience and creativity.
The Art Of Making a Skateboard
The very first step is to make a deck, the platform where you stand. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that the deck should be strong. It is advisable to make it out of hardwood or by laminating a number of maple sheets. Laminating the sheets provides more strength. The deck needs to be strong, because you'll be performing a number of tricks on your board, and it takes quite a lot of beating. It should ideally be of 28 to 33 inches long, and 7 to 10.5 inches wide. Take a good resin and glue the layers, holding them tight with clamps for 24 hours. You can vary the length of the deck, but remember, the longer the deck length, the more susceptible it will be to breaking from the middle.
Next, work on the shape of the deck. Generally, the boards are long rectangles having curved and rounded edges. You can draw an outline with a free hand, but, a better option is to borrow someone's skateboard and mark an outline. Once the outlines are drawn, you can cut your deck along the outline.
Now comes the part of customizing your deck. Buy a sheet of grip tape - 9" by 33", it usually works best. Put it on the whole deck top, or you can put some color or graphic on the deck. Paint the deck with whatever color you like, but, remember to paint the wood with primer coat first. If you want to put graphics, you can try a freehand if you are a good artist.
Once your deck is ready, it's time for the trucks. Trucks are actually a metal axle for the wheels. They fit on the underside of the deck, and there are two in numbers - one each at the end of the deck. They should ideally be within ¼" of the deck width. Flip the deck over and make sure that the truck is at the center of the board. Draw a center line and make sure that trucks saddle the center line. Take a marker and mark where you need to have screw holes. With lot of care, drill the holes all the way through the deck, coming out from the other side.
The best option is to buy trucks with wheels attached. Or, buy wheels that could be added to the truck. Push those wheels onto the end of the truck's axle. There are two wheels per truck, one at each side of the truck. Trucks usually have a kingpin that is a partially threaded bolt attached to the axle. It holds the wheel in place, and can be tightened or loosened, hence, they control the wheel's spin accordingly. Wheels come in various sizes. Some come with ball bearings while some do not. Remember that all wheels should be of the same size as well as the same company.
Once you are done with all the above, you are ready to hit the streets with your skateboard. The more you practice, the more you will enjoy and the more number of tricks you'll learn. But always wear your helmet and other protective gear, while also encouraging others to do the same.