Skateboarding Wonders And Wizards And Design Decor
Skateboarding is a sport in which many compete and some make a career; it’s a means of transportation, and a way of life. Sure, you’ve seen it in operation, but how’s a skateboard manufactured? The basic material is maple, selected for its tight, close grain; from straight stock. Cut and stripped, the maple is cut and prepared for laminating. Maple wood is a sustainable resource, and offers a stable wood that is not prone to warping in the presence of moisture.
Sliced thin, seven layers of veneer are fed through a machine that applies just the right amount of glue; then the layers of veneer are placed in a hydraulic press that forms the nose, tail, and concave of the skateboard under pressure. Some manufacturers specialize in ‘slick’ boards, which means that a layer of slippery plastic has been bonded to the bottom. When the veneers emerge from the press—shaped like a stretched ‘U’—they’re ready to be drilled and cut. These blanks are mounted in a drill press, and drilled out to mount the desired wheelbase. Skateboards are further shaped on the band saw.
Once they’re cut, boards are sanded and routed out by hand; it’s a skilled operation. With the decks completely sanded, they are ready to be sprayed with a sealant. Decks are screen-printed by hand, one color at a time, starting with the darkest color first. Now printed, the decks are stacked in a rack to dry. The paint can take three to five days to cure, depending on its formulation. Boxed and crated, the skateboards are ready to ship to your local shop.
How much should you expect to pay for a skateboard? In the US, you’ll pay about $100 for a locally-manufactured board. Keep an eye on advertisements in industry magazines Big Brother, Slap, Thrasher, and Transworld Skateboarding (all US-only titles). Of course, here we’re talking about ‘new school’ boards that are skinny, short-ish, and almost symmetrical, with small, hard wheels.
Older boards, used during the 1980s, were characterized by wide, longish, asymmetrical decks and large wheels. The advantage the new boards offer over old ones is that they use less wood (that’s an advantage for the manufacturers), and get up to speed more quickly (which is an advantage for the skateboarder).
Are you choosing a skateboard as a gift? Have a long conversation with the person you’re buying the skateboard for, so that you get what they’ll use, neither more nor less. You might want to look into the preassembled complete boards that some shops offer around the holidays, if only because you’ll pay less than if you put the board together piece-by-piece.