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Do you ever wonder what skateboard deck rails are made of? Or why do they have them in the first place? In this article, I’ll explain why skateboard deck rails exist and discuss their construction material.
Skateboard decks require some flexibility to perform tricks and jump, but too much could cause damage to the board’s structure. Deck rails protect the sides of a skateboard deck from hard landings while still allowing it to flex when needed.
That’s great, but what exactly is a deck rail made out of? Different materials like PVC, aluminum, wood, and fiberglass can all be used for manufacturing deck rails. Let’s explore these materials in more detail!
What Are Skateboard Deck Rails Made Of
Skateboard deck rails have a variety of different materials they can be made of. Traditionally, they used to be made out of wood, but now you’ll find rails made from ABS and other plastics as well as UHMW. There are also some brands that make them out of nylon which offers great grip for tricks.
Most commonly, skateboard deck rails are made from Extruded Polyethylene which is strong, lightweight, and flexible enough to handle the full range of tricks a skateboarder may attempt.
Some models include Delrin in their construction which was popular back in the 80s, slick-stick and Everslick decks use Extruded P-tex for their rails. When extra protection is required for the nose or tail, soft vinyl or harder urethane is often used.
Tail skids can be found in various materials including Molded Polyvinyl, Nylon, and Delrin. The PSR is one example of this style of rail material.
What Are Skateboard Deck Rails
The bottom edges of a skateboard deck are typically fitted with injection-molded plastic rails, known as skateboard deck rails.
They are designed not only to help you slide your board further, but also to protect the graphics on it. Most skateboard deck rails measure 14.5 inches long, 0.5 inches wide, and 0.5 inches tall.
Back in the day, it was difficult to slide your board since skateboards lacked concave and caused too much friction with their large flat surface area coming into contact with rail or coping.
Skater’s boards were made easier and more efficient to slide with the introduction of plastic rails.
Rails can even be used as a way to guard your board’s graphics against being damaged if you prefer that look for your skateboard. With skateboard railings available now, sliding your board is no longer a challenge!
Types Of Deck Rails
When it comes to deck rails, there’s really not much difference between them. Most are made from the same cheap injection-molded plastic so even if you switch brands you won’t necessarily be getting a superior product. The minor differences tend to come in size and quality, so make sure you get a set that fits your skateboard’s wheelbase.
You can find deck rails for anywhere between $10-$20 USD and they generally come in different colors. Shake Junt, Enjoi, and Santa Cruz all offer their own versions which typically come with 5 wood screws instead of 4. Santa Cruz also offers slimmer rails like asymmetrical Candy Sticks from Welcome, but I haven’t tested if they offer an improvement in performance compared to the standard version.
So while there may be some subtle differences between each rail type, most run of the mill Rails will perform the same no matter which manufacturer you buy from.
The Origin Of Skateboard Deck Rails
Skateboard deck rails have been around since the late 1970s when wood shops first introduced decks with concave. Initially made from wood and called ‘Grab Rails’, these fixtures could still be seen on rare occasions in the 90s and 2000s before making a major comeback in around 2016 along with accompanying old-school deck reissues.
Thanks to an anonymous skater named ‘Ollie’ (unconfirmed if it was actually Alan Gelfand), plastic deck rails were invented to solve the issue of sliding. Wooden Grab Rails would catch on the lip of the skateboard when trying to slide, but by using plastic materials this problem was quickly eradicated.
Today, skateboard deck rails are growing in popularity with some loving them and others taking longer to get used to them.
Should You Put Rails on Your Skateboard?
If you’re looking to improve your skateboarding skills, then adding rails to your board can be a great idea. Rails offer greater stability and control while skating, allowing you to achieve new tricks with greater precision. Rails also make it easier for you to grab the board when performing aerial tricks and can help protect from damage when tackling grinds or slides.
Rails may take some getting used to, as certain tricks will feel different at first due to the additional height of the rail. If you are frequently doing flip tricks or rock-to-fakies, it can take some getting used to as your skateboard may initially feel odd.
Ultimately, if you think rails look cool and want to have better control of your skateboard, then rails are a wise choice for improving your performance and having more fun! And if you really want that classic 80s look on an old-school setup, then rails are definitely necessary.
Do Skateboard Rails Fit all Decks?
If you’re looking for a quick answer to whether skateboard deck rails fit all decks, then the answer is yes. Most 7-ply maple decks will easily fit these rails, with little effort needed to attach them. For a Santa Cruz VX or Powell Peralta Flight deck, extra effort may be needed to insert the wood screws correctly.
For those skaters who don’t like drilling into their boards, there is an alternative option: double-sided mounting tape. While this won’t necessarily stay in place during slides and other high-impact activities, it still works if all you need are grab rails. So if you’re thinking of putting some skateboard rails on your board, then the answer is yes – they do fit all decks!
Installing Skateboard Deck Rails
If you’re ready to amp up your skateboarding game with a set of skateboard deck rails, the first step is getting the right tools.
Installing something with a power drill is much simpler, but you can manage with just a Phillips head screwdriver too.
Make sure that your rails come with all of the necessary screws to complete the job.
Next, it’s time to decide where to place your rails. While overall placement and amount of rails come down to personal preference, Braille Skateboarding offers recommendations for optimal use of deck rails in order to get the most out of them. Once you’ve gone through this process and have figured out where you want your railings, follow the simple steps for installation and before long you’ll be able to shred like never before.
How Tall Are Skate Rails?
Skate rails can be modified to any height between 9 and 19 inches, providing a round and sturdy feel while also giving the skater the stability of a flat rail.
How Wide Is A Skate Rail?
A skate rail measuring 6 feet in length and 1 foot in height consists of four legs with a 4-inch diameter. Additionally, the feet are 10.5 inches wide and 3 inches deep.
What Are Cheaper Metal Or Wood Railings?
Metal railings tend to be more costly than wooden or vinyl ones. Composite railing can also be a viable choice, but it is usually even more expensive than metal or wood railing.
What Is The Cheapest Railing For A Deck?
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly railing option, consider pressure-treated lumber.
How Long Do Aluminum Rails Last?
To maximize the lifespan of your aluminum railing, make sure to do regular cleaning with a brush and soap. Furthermore, try to avoid getting any corrosive chemicals or rain onto the railing as these can lead to corrosion. Finally, pay attention to how objects such as children or pets move around on the property – they could unintentionally harm the railings.
Why Do Skaters Use Rails?
Thin, hard plastic strips known as skateboard deck rails are attached to the bottom edges of the deck for protection and also to keep your graphic safe.
Skateboard deck rails provide extra safety when riding and perform many other functions, making them an important feature on every skateboard. By understanding what they’re made of and the variety of styles available, you can make sure you get a great fit for your setup.
Whether it’s metal or plastic, buying the right rails is essential to ensure that your board gives you the performance you need and can withstand the stresses of intense skating.
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