What Are Skateboard Decks Made Of? The Material Explained

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The deck is the thing that makes a skateboard look like a skateboard. Without it, you’d just be cruising around on four wheels! But what goes into making one of those iconic boards?

Skateboard Decks Made Of:

  1. Wood
  2. Canadian Maple
  3. Birchwood
  4. Bamboo
  5. Fiberglass
  6. Plastic
  7. Composite
  8. Plexiglass
  9. Carbon fiber
  10. Aluminum
What Are Skateboard Decks Made Of

The Right Way To Choose Suitable Materials

Choosing the right material for your skateboard deck is essential in order to ensure it can withstand your weight and pressure when you perform tricks. With so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for your skill level and budget.

That’s why it’s so important to consider all the factors before committing to a purchase. For example, if you’re working with a tight budget, birchwood is an affordable yet flexible material that won’t break the bank.

Maple decks are great if you’re looking for increased strength and stability whereas bamboo decks provide a more eco-friendly option while still being highly durable.

When inspecting a skateboard deck, make sure to check the layers carefully. A high-quality product should have all its layers glued together neatly and offer a super smooth surface when touched.

If there are any spots of stratification or irregularities, this could indicate a low-quality product and could lead to having a dry and less elastic skateboard deck overall. Now is the time to learn about some popular materials.

1. Wood

Wood is the most popular material used in skateboard decks, and there are a few different types of wood to choose from. Maple, birch, and poplar are all great options that have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Maple is the strongest and most reliable of the three types of wood, however, it is also the heaviest to maneuver. It is also more expensive than other options. Birch is lighter than maple but not as strong, making it an affordable choice for those who want something a bit lighter without breaking the bank.

Poplar is much lighter than both maple and birch making it ideal for street skaters who need a lightweight deck. However, this type of wood isn’t quite as strong or durable as maple or birch do keep that in mind if you go with this option.

2. Canadian Maple

Canadian Maple is known for its durability and ability to take on insane speeds and tricks. It’s one of the classical materials used for making skateboards, as it typically consists of 6 to 9 layers that make up its incredible strength and sturdiness.

However, as Canadian maple is made from natural wood, deforestation has become an increasing problem due to people cutting down trees solely for skateboard construction. Due to this, it can be difficult and costly to obtain a Canadian maple skateboard deck compared to other materials.

3. Birchwood

Birchwood is a great option for budget-conscious skateboarders who want the strength and durability of a wooden deck. It’s not as expensive as maple boards, but it still offers plenty of protection and stability while riding.

Not only that, but experiments have shown that birchwood actually offers more flexibility than bamboo boards, which makes it an ideal choice for those looking for comfort on their rides.

4. Bamboo

Bamboo is the perfect material for making skateboard decks if you want to skate on bumpy roads. It’s known for its flexibility and super-strength, so it can handle all of the shocks that come with skating on a rough surface.

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Plus, bamboo can reach maturity in just 5 years, much faster than maple which is often used in skateboard decks. This makes it a very eco-friendly option too!

The use of bamboo as a material for decks comes with the drawback of requiring complicated, advanced technology to produce them, resulting in higher costs. Also, when compared to maple decks, bamboo is not as hard and strong, making them more prone to damage over time.

5. Fiberglass

Fiberglass is one of the best materials for a skateboard deck. It’s strong and durable and can provide a much stronger composite material than wood or plastic.

It won’t be as flexible as those materials, but it will offer superior protection against wear and tear, making it an excellent choice for skaters who love to jump up onto curbs or ride downstairs at full speed!

6. Plastic

Plastic is a common material used in skateboard decks and is an inexpensive option. Although it isn’t as strong or durable as some other materials, it does possess certain benefits.

Its flexibility allows for curves around larger obstacles and prevents the board from breaking when kicked at high speeds. This feature is especially important when riding at faster speeds as it can help avoid accidents.

7. Composite

Composite skateboard decks are a great choice for those looking for a deck that offers both durability and performance. Made of a mix of materials including wood and plastic, composite decks offer more resistance to wear and tear than other types of decks and cost more to produce and ship.

The hardwood core provides strength without sacrificing grip, while the outer layer of polymer gives it some added durability. These decks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some lacking wood completely.

Composite decks are perfect for those who want the performance of a high-end skateboard without the extra expense.

8. Plexiglass

Plexiglass is an excellent material for making skateboard decks. It’s made from polymethyl methacrylate, a strong and highly impact-resistant acrylic resin. Plexiglass comes in a range of thicknesses from .01mm to .06mm, so you can choose the perfect one for your needs!

Plus, it’s light yet durable and available at most hardware stores or online retailers like Amazon or Home Depot.

9. Carbon fiber

Carbon fiber is the best material for a skateboard deck if you’re looking for maximum strength and lightness. It’s been around since the 1950s and made its way into the space program with the groundbreaking work of Wernher von Braun.

Carbon fiber can be found in a variety of applications, including skateboard decks, trucks, wheels, and bearings.

10. Aluminum

Aluminum is an amazing material to use when constructing a skateboard deck. It’s lightweight and easy to work with, making it perfect for those who want to customize their board. Plus, it’s less dense compared to other metals so your board will end up even lighter!

Not only that, but aluminum also excels in terms of durability. Boards made from this material can last longer than those made with wood, providing you with great value for money. And not only does it have good longevity, but it’s also very flexible and can be bent around corners on tight spots without damaging them too much.

How Skateboard Decks Are Made

Understanding how skateboard decks are made is essential for anyone wishing to become a solid skater. By being familiar with the manufacturing process, you can pick out boards that are of superior quality and will last longer.

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1. Wood Treatment

The wood treatment of skateboard decks is a process that ensures the highest quality and most durable boards for skaters. The maple lumber used in skateboards is harvested from the Great Lakes region of the US and Canada, where trees grow tall and fast in short growing seasons, making them particularly perfect for producing long-lasting boards.

Once the logs reach the mill, they are stored for up to 3 months before being treated for use in skateboards. Before cutting them into veneers, they need to be softened by soaking them in water for several hours – until they reach about 50% moisture content.

Only then can they be spun at a high speed against a blade to create thin veneers that are perfect for manufacturing skateboard decks.

2. Veneer Coating

Veneer coating is an important step when it comes to how skateboard decks are made. A glue machine is used to begin the process of production, which involves manually feeding its veneer.

This veneer is usually only about one-twentieth of an inch in thickness, so it needs to be properly, and evenly coated with water-based glue on both sides in order to provide the necessary strength and durability for skateboarding.

3. Layering and Molding

Layering and molding is an integral parts of how skateboard decks are made. This involves stacking veneers in a specific order inside a mold to give the deck its desired shape and concave. The veneers are laid out with alternating grain directions, with some going lengthwise and others perpendicular, which helps to create a stronger board.

The amount of time the veneers spend in the mold can differ based on each manufacturer’s preference. Generally, the longer they sit in there, the more naturally they’ll set, giving greater long-term durability for the board.

Certain makers opt for heating up their molds to speed up this process but this can lead to below-par performance from your deck over time due to weakened wood fibers from the maple wood.

4. Drilling and Shaping

Drilling and shaping are two key steps in the process of making a skateboard deck. After the veneers have been set, eight holes are drilled into the deck so it can be attached to the trucks.

Then each deck is carefully hand-shaped with a band saw using a template in order to make sure that all boards are consistent with one another. The board is further smoothed out with sanding and then coated with a sealant before screen-printing occurs.

5. Design

Designing skateboard decks is a long process and it typically doesn’t take place at the manufacturer but with the company that orders from them.

They decide on the graphics to be painted onto the deck, and then a designated custom screen-printing machine will do the job. Afterward, they proceed to package and ship it to their company!

Methods Used to Build Skateboard Decks

Skateboard decks come in many different types of construction methods. The most common is 7-ply maple wood, which uses seven layers of wood glued together for strong and durable performance, making it ideal for street and park skating.

For even more strength and durability, there are 8-ply and 9-ply boards which are commonly used for downhill and freestyle skating. If you’re looking for something lighter but still reliable, you can get a 5-ply board that uses five layers of wood instead.

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No matter the construction method or amount of ply, skateboard decks are designed to last through all sorts of conditions – from indoors to outdoors, street skating to downhill racing – giving riders the confidence to perform their best tricks and take on any terrain.

Importance to Choose the Right Skateboard Deck Materials

Choosing the right skateboard deck materials is essential for every skater. The material used to make the deck affects both its look and performance, so it’s important to pick one that will suit your particular style best. For street skating, it’s best to use a board with a stiffer deck, while those looking to do vert skating should use one that is softer for optimal performance.

Additionally, some alternative materials such as carbon fiber can give you the extra edge you need with a significant performance improvement, but they do come at an extra cost.

No matter what material you choose, it’s important to take into consideration how it will affect your board’s overall feel and durability. Taking the time to research different materials and find which ones are best suited to your needs will help ensure you get the absolute most out of your skateboard.

FAQs

What is the best material for a skateboard deck?

When it comes to finding the best material for a skateboard deck, nothing quite compares to 7-ply maple wood. Maple is the most popular choice because it provides excellent strength and durability, yet is flexible enough to give your setup the all-important pop that you need when skating.

What kind of wood is used for the skateboard deck?

Skateboard decks are typically constructed from maple wood, which is a strong and durable type of wood that can stand up to the stress of skateboarding. It’s also relatively lightweight, which makes for an easily maneuverable board.

What kind of plywood is used for skateboards?

Skateboards are typically constructed with 7 layers of maple, a hardwood that is strong and provides a fine grain texture desired for skateboarding. The waterproof adhesive is usually used to glue the plywood together, providing an even sturdier board.

How thick is a skateboard ply?

Skateboard decks are typically made from several layers of wood glued together, called ply. Most decks are composed of seven layers, although this is dependent on their usage. Every ply’s span differs depending on the maker, normally gauging about 0.7mm thick. When combined, this totals an overall density of roughly 5mm for a seven-ply deck.

What is longboard wood?

Longboard wood is commonly used to craft longboards due to its strength, durability, and flexibility. Additionally, it is popular for its stylish appearance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, skateboard decks come in many shapes and sizes but they are all generally made out of wood, usually maple wood. Skateboard decks come in a variety of widths and graphics, allowing riders to find the right fit for them. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been skating for years, finding the right deck for your style is essential for success.

No matter what type of skateboard deck you choose, it’s important to remember that the construction and quality of the materials used are extremely important in providing performance and safety.

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Joseph E. Bogle

This is Joseph E. Bogle, the founder and lead writer of SkateToScoot.com, an enthusiast of skating for over a decade. I'm an aggressive skater and certified skating coach, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for skating with others through his blog. With my unique combination of personal experience and professional expertise, SkateToScoot.com is a valuable resource for skaters of all levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.