How to assemble your skateboard.
Ready to shred but your board is in pieces? Skateboarding legend Ron Whaley is here to walk you through putting your skateboard together.
Before You Start
First, make sure you have all the necessary skateboard parts:
- Skateboard Deck
- Grip tape
You will also need some tools:
- Razor blade
- Skate Key
If you don’t have a skate key, you can use an adjustable/crescent wrench or wrenches in the following sizes:
- 3/8 wrench - for the for the mounting hardware.
- 1/2 wrench - for the nuts that hold the wheels on the truck
- 9/16 wrench - to tighten or loosen the trucks
You will also need a phillips head screwdriver for the mounting hardware.
Unless your mounting hardware uses an allen head. Usually allen head hardware comes with an allen key.
Got all the stuff? Excellent. Let’s put it together.
Step 1: Grip the deck.
Peel the paper backing off the grip tape. Be careful not to let the grip fold and stick to itself.
Holding the griptape by the ends, lengthwise, lower the sticky side of the grip tape on to the deck.
While doing this, let the grip bend in a U shape. That way the grip touches the middle of the deck first.
Very lightly, lay the grip tape down making sure it covers the entire deck. That way if it’s not on perfectly you can just lift it back off the deck.
If there are no major bubbles or wrinkles and the grip tape covers the deck you can start to push griptape down on to the deck. Little bubbles are ok, you can just poke them with the razor blade.
Push the grip down from the middle of the deck and moving outward towards the edges.
Put the deck on the ground and step on the grip tape. Walk all around making sure the griptape is especially stuck to the top of the deck near the edges.
The grip tape should be well stuck on the deck.
Using the screwdriver or the skate key, scrape the gripe tape on the top edge of the deck.
Scrape all around the edge of the deck to where you can see the outline of the deck shape.
This will make the grip tape easier to cut and will prevent the grip tape from peeling up on the edges while skating.
Take the razor blade and cut from the under side (sticky side) of the grip tape. Cutting all along the edge of the board at a slight angle. Cutting in line with where the grip tape was scraped.
Cut all of the excess griptape and save the scraps. Use them to sand the edges of the deck and grip. This will also help the grip tape from ever peeling up.
All gripped? Nice.
Time to poke the holes through the grip for the mounting hardware. You can use the phillips head screwdriver to find the the covered truck mounting holes and push through the griptape into the holes. You can also use something sharp, like a nail, to get the holes started.
Step 2: Mount the trucks on the deck
Once you have the holes poked, insert the hardware bolts into the deck from the griptape side.
Mount the trucks on to the deck with the kingpins facing the middle of the deck and each other.
Screw the nuts on to the bolts and use the skate key or 3/8 wrench to tighten the nuts.
Holding the bolts in place with the screwdriver from the top.
Tighten the bolts enough to where the tops sink just enough into the deck/grip to where the bolt head is flat.
Don’t over tighten and sink the bolts too deeply into the deck.
Trucks mounted on the board? Time to put the wheels on the trucks.
Step 3: Put your wheels on
First you’ll need to put the bearings in the wheels. Take the nuts and washers off of the trucks. Place the board on its side.
Each wheel will have 2 bearings in it. Put the side of the bearing you want facing out on the wheel face down on to the truck axle first.
One side of the bearing will be on the inside of the wheel, one will face the outside of the wheel and the elements.
Some bearings have a side that supposed to be facing outward. Some bearings are the same on both sides and then it doesn’t matter.
Push the wheel down on to the axle, pressing the bearing into the wheel. This may be easy or it might take a little effort.
Lean over the board while push down with your palms on the wheel. Then you can put a bit of your body weight to push the wheel down instead of just your hands.
Push the wheel as deep as you can on to the bearing. Remove the wheel with the one bearing in from the truck axle.
Put the other bearing on the axle. If you have bearing spacers you should use them.
They make your bearings last longer and prevent any damage to the bearing while tightening.
Put the spacer on the axle, on top of the bearing.
Then when you push the wheel on to the bearing, the spacer will be in between the 2 bearings.
Take the wheel off. It should have both the bearings in it now.
Put one washer on the axle. Place the wheel back on the truck and add the other washer, then add the nut.
Finger tighten it first, then use the skate key or ½ wrench to tighten the nut.
(!) Be careful not to over tighten, especially without spacers. You can damage the bearing and it won’t last as long as it should.
You might have to tighten it up to push the bearings in completely. Just go easy. You don’t want to hear any crunching or cracking while tightening the wheel.
If the nut is so tight the wheel doesn’t spin fast, back off and loosen a tad.
Put the bearings in the other 3 wheels and put them on the trucks.
Guess what? Your skateboard is ready to roll. Yay!
Step 4: Fine tuning
You can tighten or loosen the trucks with the 9/16 kingpin nut on the truck. Loose trucks are easier to turn. Tight trucks offer a bit more stability but don’t turn as quick.