Putting a skateboard together is fairly simple, but it does take a liitle time and understanding. The best thing about putting your gear together on your own is the hands-on experience and that sense of satisfaction and achievement you get from it. It's also a good chance to learn about all of the parts that make up a skateboard.
If you think you're ready to give it a try, here is a step-by-step manual to help you along.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you have already gripped your deck and to keep it simple, we’ll lay down the basics in 3 easy steps. Follow along or jump to one of the steps below:
Mount The Trucks
Insert The Bearings Into The Wheels
Attach The Wheels
Now, if you have a skate tool with a screw driver and an allen key, that’s pretty much all the tool you’re going to need and I strongly recommend getting yourself one of these Silver Skate Tools, because it’s got a ratchet function that will save you a ton of energy. Your skate tool will have an allen key and a Philips head screwdriver and it will also have a:
- 14mm wrench to adjust to tightness of your trucks
- 13mm wrench for axle nuts
- 10mm wrench for hardware
Now if you don’t have a skate tool, here are some of the things you could use
- A 1/8" Allen key
- A Philips head screwdriver
- A Monkey Wrench or a Vise Grip
Also, FYI, a power drill screwdriver will make the process a whole lot faster, so if you have one, use it!
Step 1: Mount The Trucks
Let’s start by putting the hardware through the holes. First, take the nuts off the bolts, then put all four bolts through the holes in the board. Now, I like to use my palm to hold them in place while I put the trucks on and then attach the nuts onto the bolts. When you’re putting the trucks on, remember to always put the pivot cup to the outside and the kingpin, which is the one in the centre, to the inside.
Now take your screwdriver, or your allen key, depending on what kind of hardware you’re using, and your skate tool and start tightening them up. This is where that ratchet function I mentioned earlier comes in really handy. Tighten the bolts until they are flush with the top of the deck, you don’t want them sticking out. At the same time, though, don’t over tighten them or they will start to dig into the top side and can cause pressure cracks to form along the underside of the deck. Now do the same thing for the other truck, it should be easier this time because the board can stand on its side thanks to the support from the first truck you’ve already put in.
Step 2: Insert the Bearings into the Wheels
Most bearings will come with a set of four Bearing Spacers. These actually go in between the two bearings to give a stronger support. Assuming you’ve already taken off one of the axle nuts with your 13mm wrench and taken the little speed washers off the axle and set them to one side, put one of the bearings onto the axle with the outside facing down. Set the wheel on top of the bearing and then press down with equal pressure on both sides of the wheel until you feel the bearing slide fully into the slot on the wheel. Now, take the wheel off and put another bearing onto the axle, followed by one of those spacers I mentioned earlier. Flip the wheel over so that the side without a bearing is facing down, slide it onto the axle and again, press down with equal pressure on both sides of the wheel until you feel the bearing slide fully into the slot on the wheel.
Step 3: Attach the Wheels
Remember the speed washers you took off earlier? Put one on the axle, then put the wheel with the bearings on, followed by the second speed washer. These washers are there to provide a buffer between the hanger and the axle nut so that the bearing can spin freely without getting pinched on the sides.
Now put on the axle nut and tighten it down with your 13mm wrench. If you’re using a skate tool to tighten the axle nuts, try to keep it level while you’re tightening it, because if it angles too far from one side to the other it could potentially crush the shields on the sides of your bearings which will make it a lot slower. Now you want to tighten up the wheels so that there isn’t any jiggle but you also don’t want it too tight because that will slow you down. If the wheel shifts up and down a lot, the nut is too loose. If the wheel doesn’t spin well, it’s too tight. Try to find that sweet spot, it’s not too hard. Now repeat another three times and you’ll have four nicely fitted wheels on your deck.
And there you have it, your board is ready to go, so get out there and shred!