How To Assemble A Skateboard

How To Build A Skateboard

When I first started skateboarding, the only thing I knew was that I knew nothing about it — It just looked like fun. So, I bought my first complete board in pieces, brought it home, took everything out of the bag, and stared at the pile of components. Now what?

I eventually got it together, but I made a few costly mistakes that I didn’t need to make. While it seems simple on its face, the truth is there are some easy-to-make mistakes that you need to avoid.

The purpose of this tutorial is to teach you how to build a skateboard, without the drama of setup-wrecking mistakes that can send you back to the board shop. We’ll assume you have all the pieces of a modern, professional skateboard, purchased from a reputable skate shop.

Right now, you are ready to build the best skateboard ever!

Before we start threading bolts, though, there are a few things you need to make sure you have on hand.

What you’ll need to build a skateboard:

  • One complete skateboard — disassembled
  • An old towel or T-shirt
  • Petroleum-based lubricant (optional)
  • Tools (Phillips-head screwdriver; 3/8-inch, ½-inch, and 9/16-inch wrenches, utility knife)

Before you begin to assemble your skateboard, take a few minutes to gather all its parts into one space. Make sure it is a comfortable place to work, and that you will not do any permanent damage to the space. The floor is fine, but lay down an old towel and work on that to keep from scuffing or staining the floor.

Steps To Make A Skateboard:

Step 1 – Affix the Griptape

Affixing the griptape is the trickiest part of the entire process. If you get through this part without any major issues, the rest of the assembly should be a snap. Just remember to take your time. You only get one shot at this per sheet.

Lay the deck down on the towel, bottom down, and hold the sheet of grip tape vertically above it. Separate the bottom part of the grip tape backing from the tape and stick that onto the top of the tail. Lay it across the board to make sure it lines up perfectly.

Pull the backing off and keep the tape off the board. Press down on the tape with your free hand, a little at a time, working your way up the board. Don’t allow air bubbles to form as you attach the griptape, as they will remain for the life of the deck.

This video explains the process

Step 2 — Mark the Griptape

From here on out, things get easier. You’ll want to be very careful for this stage, though, as we’ll be slicing the grip tape with a (razor) utility knife.

You’ll notice excess grip tape is now hanging over the edges of your new deck. This obviously must be removed, but before you start cutting, take the time to mark out the spot you’ll cut. To do this, scrape a screwdriver (or any round metal surface) around the perimeter of the rough side of the griptape, pressing firmly.

You’ll hear the telltale noise of metal on sandpaper as you go around the board. When you’ve made it completely around, you should see a white line (when viewed from the top) that outlines your deck. This is where you will trim the griptape.

Step 3 — Trim the Griptape

This is the one part of the process where things can go awry, so be extremely careful. You will need to hold the board, bottom down, for the entire time you do this. Make sure you are in a comfortable position, and that you hold the board is a such a way that it cannot move.

Using your utility knife, make a small incision directed toward you through the bottom of the exposed grip tape, and begin slicing the tape. Follow the white line you marked. Angling the blade in toward the board will keep grip tape from hanging over the edge when you’re finished.

Go all the way around until you can remove the excess freely.

You should now have a clean-looking and recognizable deck, and you should have a tingly feeling when you look at it. This is normal and is no reason for concern.

This video explains the process​

Step 4 — Mount the Trucks

Use the point of your Phillips screwdriver to poke holes through the griptape that covers the bolt holes. Then, place one bolt in each hole from the top, on only one truck (front or back truck.) If you are using riser pads, insert them now. Place a truck over the bolts, with the kingpin facing the inside the way you see it in the picture.

To attach the truck, run a 3/8-inch nut onto each bolt and, using your Phillips screwdriver or Allen wrench and a 3/8-inch wrench or socket, tighten each one down. Tighten the nuts gradually, in a circular pattern, until each one is secure. The heads on the bolts are cone-shaped, and it is easy to overtighten them and pull them through the wood. Do not do this. Tighten until the top of the bolts are flush with the griptape. Repeat the process for the other truck.

Photo courtesy of Howcast

Step 5 — Insert the Bearings

Lubricate the bearings (if necessary) with petroleum-based lubricant. You won’t get a better chance to lube them. Turn your board on its side and remove the wheel nut from one truck axle. Place one bearing, then one spacer, then another bearing on the axle, and place a wheel on top of it. Then, using the palm of your hand, press down firmly on the wheel to seat the outermost bearing. Flip the wheel and press in the other bearing on the opposite side.

Be sure to use washers outside the bearings. Place the wheel, then a nut on the axle and, using a ½-inch wrench, tighten the axle nut until it contacts the bearing. If the wheel shakes, tighten further. If you spin the wheel and it stops suddenly, loosen the nut slightly and try again. The wheel should come to a gradual. Repeat this process for all the wheels.

This video explains the process​

Step 6 — Make Adjustments

You should now have a fully functioning skateboard, and that tingly feeling should be back. It will return from time to time, which is normal. Either bring your tools outside with you, or do this process in your work area. It is best to do this where you can skate your new board.

Place the board on the ground and stand on it. Apply heel pressure, then toe pressure, feeling for how much the trucks give way. There should be some resistance, but they should move. Using a 9/16-inch wrench or socket, turn the kingpin nut to adjust the trucks’ tightness.

Loosening will make the board easier to turn, and tightening will make it more stable. You should work to find your preferred truck tightness over time. Skate your board as you normally would for a few minutes, then check and re-adjust all nuts on the setup.

This video explains the process​​


I hope this was an informative set of instructions for you, and that you now feel comfortable assembling a skateboard yourself. If you are still confused with the question “What size skateboard should I get?”, the answer is also available in our website. Feel free to tell us what you think about this article, or skating in general, in the comments section. If you got some help from this article, please share it with your friends. Don’t let them struggle. We all have to learn some time.

Your skateboard should be ready to rip, now. Enjoy it and thrash it in any way possible. It takes time to progress in skateboarding, so keep at it. Seek out other skaters and stick together for comradery and safety. It’s a brotherhood. Keep in mind that your board will require periodic maintenance. Check the operation of the bearings often and clean and re-oil them when necessary. And check all bolts and nuts for tightness regularly.

A few key points to remember:

• Never over tighten your truck bolts. Once they are pulled through the wood, they will always have a tendency to loosen. If you leave them flush, you can tighten them gradually over time as they get sucked into the bolt holes.

• Never over tighten your axle nuts. Doing so may damage your bearings. Also, be sure to use the bearing spacer and adjust the axle nut often. Otherwise, you are not using your bearings to their potential — They’re just spinning on the axles.

• Riding your trucks too loose will damage the pivot bushing on the baseplate. Ride them tight enough to where the hanger doesn’t wobble. On the flip side, overtightened trucks become difficult to land tricks with because there is no room for error. Find your happy place.

Each of those key points is something I learned through trial and error. The trial part is okay, but the error part gets expensive. Ruined equipment is a bad enough thing when it happens through skating. It’s far worse when you did it with tools. Please don’t make the mistakes I made that caused me to sit out skate sessions.

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