Maple wood is the most commonly used wood for skateboards. It’s flexible and durable which allows for it to be shaped easily without sacrificing strength and quality.
Maple is still the most common wood used for manufacturing skateboard decks, with bamboo longboards trailing behind. Even when we look at maple decks, they can vary with the amount of ply. Skateboards typically range from 6 to 9 ply, however, the standard board is a 7-ply maple deck.
Any popsicle board that is carried by a reputable brand is usually made out of North American maple wood. Due to the slow growth of the trees, the wood tends to be more durable and stable than other woods.
Typically, the best professional-grade decks are made from seven layers of maple ply interlaid with water-based glue or epoxy resin. They’re pressed together under extreme pressure to create the skateboard decks that we know and love today.
Alternative Wood Materials
When it comes to skateboarding, maple wood has been the go-to choice for deck construction. However, in recent years, there has been an increasing interest in exploring alternative wood for skateboards that offer unique characteristics and environmental benefits. So, let’s take a ride and discover some exciting alternatives to traditional maple decks!
- Oak: If you’re seeking durability and strength, oak is a fantastic option. This hardwood is known for its resilience, making it ideal for riders who crave a solid and long-lasting deck. Oak decks can handle the wear and tear of aggressive tricks and provide a stable platform for landing those high jumps.
- Beech: Beechwood is another alternative worth considering. Its excellent shock-absorbing properties make it a great choice for riders who prioritize comfort and impact resistance. With a beech deck under your feet, you’ll experience a smoother ride and enjoy enhanced stability, especially when tackling rougher terrains.
- Maple Hybrids: Manufacturers are now experimenting with hybrid constructions that combine maple with other wood types. These hybrid decks aim to offer the best of both worlds by combining the flexibility and strength of maple with the unique characteristics of alternative woods. For example, a maple-birch hybrid could provide a balance between durability and flexibility.
- Sustainable Options: As skateboarding continues to evolve, so does our awareness of environmental concerns. Some companies are exploring sustainable alternatives to traditional wood materials. Bamboo is a standout choice, as it grows rapidly and replenishes quickly. Bamboo decks are not only eco-friendly but also offer impressive flexibility and a lively feel under your feet.
- Exotic Woods: For those seeking a touch of luxury and style, there are decks crafted from exotic woods like mahogany, walnut, or zebrawood. These decks not only turn heads but also offer unique aesthetics and a distinct riding experience. Just remember that exotic woods may come at a higher price point and require special care to maintain their beauty.
When considering alternative wood materials for your skateboard deck, keep in mind that each type will have its own characteristics and performance attributes. It’s always a good idea to try different decks and see which wood material resonates best with your riding style and preferences.
Deck Construction Methods
When it comes to skateboard decks, the construction method plays a crucial role in determining their performance, durability, and overall feel. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of deck construction methods and discover the techniques that bring our beloved skateboards to life!
- Pressed Decks: Pressed decks are the most common and traditional construction method used in skateboard manufacturing. Multiple layers of wood veneer, typically maple, are stacked together with adhesive and then placed in a hydraulic press. The immense pressure and heat in the press fuse the layers, creating a strong and sturdy deck. Pressed decks offer a reliable and consistent ride, making them a popular choice among skaters of all levels.
- Laminated Decks: Laminated construction involves bonding layers of wood veneer together using epoxy resin or water-based glue. This method provides excellent strength and durability, making laminated decks a favorite among riders who engage in aggressive and high-impact tricks. Laminated decks can handle the toughest challenges and offer enhanced resistance to delamination.
- Carbon Fiber Decks: For those seeking lightweight and ultra-responsive decks, carbon fiber construction is a game-changer. Carbon fiber sheets are layered with epoxy resin, creating a deck that is incredibly strong, stiff, and responsive. Carbon fiber decks are often favored by professional riders who demand maximum performance and precision.
- Hybrid Constructions: As skateboarding evolves, manufacturers are experimenting with hybrid constructions that combine different materials to achieve specific performance characteristics. For example, a deck may feature a combination of wood and carbon fiber layers, offering a balance between flexibility and rigidity. Hybrid constructions can provide unique riding experiences tailored to specific styles or preferences.
- Sustainable Practices: With an increasing emphasis on sustainability, some brands are exploring eco-friendly deck construction methods. These methods may involve using recycled materials, such as recycled wood fibers or composite materials, to reduce environmental impact. Sustainable deck construction aligns with the growing concern for our planet and allows riders to enjoy their sport while treading lightly on the Earth.
Keep in mind that deck construction methods can impact factors such as weight, stiffness, pop, and overall feel. Experimenting with different construction methods can add a new dimension to your skateboarding experience and help you find that perfect deck that feels like an extension of your feet.
Whether you opt for a classic pressed deck, a laminated powerhouse, a high-performance carbon fiber masterpiece, or a cutting-edge hybrid construction, each method offers its own unique advantages. So, get out there, explore different deck construction methods, and find the deck that unleashes your full skateboarding potential.
Best Wood For Skateboards (Longboards And Cruisers)
Although regular skateboards (popsicle shape boards) are typically made from maple, the best longboards are typically made from bamboo.
Longboards are much longer than skateboards, needing to be more flexible and durable. They tend to hold much more weight but you can feel the flexibility of the bamboo right under your feet. That being said, bamboo is too flexible to make a good trick board.
Another common wood that is great for longboards is birch. Birchwood has a lot of strength and flexibility like bamboo. Just think of what the indigenous made their canoes out of – birch.
How Thick Should A Skateboard Be?
The average deck is usually between 28 and 33 inches (70-80 cm) long, between 7 to 10 inches wide, and is a little less than 0.5 in (1.3 cm) thick.
The board can be divided into three sections: the nose (front), the wheelbase (between the trucks), and the tail (rear). If you’re unsure which end is the front and which is the rear, take a closer look. The tail is usually slightly wider and steeper than the nose.
Pro Tip: The graphic on the bottom of your board can also help you distinguish the nose from the tail.
Understanding The Concave Of A Board
The concave of a skateboard is the curvature of the deck in between the nose and the tail. It is usually quite subtle but that concave helps many functions of skateboarding.
The larger the concave, the more pressure you can put on the edge of your deck, which helps your steering and performing flip tricks.
The concave of a deck is usually distinguished by either being low, medium, or high concave. You’ll need to decide which level of concave is most comfortable for you by learning through trial and error. However, I personally suggest that everyone starts with a medium concave skateboard deck.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t reveal all of the information regarding their decks’ concaves. Therefore, a medium concave by one brand can be completely different from the medium concave of another brand.
Due to manufacturing variances and deviations, you can’t always assume that the concaves of two similar decks will be 100% identical. Just keep learning and go with what you know.
What Should I Look For When Choosing A Skateboard?
There are a few things to look for when choosing a skateboard deck. Take into consideration the type of wood, the width, the ply count, and the concave.
The first thing is first if you’re buying a skateboard to do tricks on you definitely want to purchase a maple deck, preferably a 7-ply. However, if you’re getting a longboard then get yourself either a bamboo or birch board if possible.
Next, you’re going to want to determine which width of a board to get. The standard skateboard width is 8.00 inches, however, here is a great way to choose your first board’s width.
- 7.00 to 7.50 inches: These narrow decks are ideal for youth riders and people under 4’6″ to about 5 feet tall.
- 7.50 to 8.00 inches: These are some of the most common deck widths used by teens and adult riders that skate street terrain or do more technical tricks. They are great starting boards for people between 4’6″ and 5’6″ as well.
- 8.00 to 8.50 inches: These are some other common sizes used for various street and transition terrain. They’re commonly used for skating parks, pools, rails, and stairs. They’re also the perfect size for beginners over 5’6″.
- 8.50 inches and up: These are the widest decks and are great for transition skating, bigger street tricks, pools, or just cruising.
Finally, you’re going to need to decide on which level of concave; low, medium, or high. I suggest going for a board with medium concave to start. If it seems like too much or too little, then you can try either low or high concave decks.
When it comes to skateboard deck construction, the choice of wood and construction method greatly impacts the performance, durability, and overall feel of the board. While maple remains the most commonly used wood for skateboards, alternative wood materials are gaining traction due to their unique characteristics and environmental benefits.
Oak and beech are excellent alternatives to maple, offering durability, strength, and shock absorption. Hybrid constructions, which combine maple with other wood types, aim to provide the best of both worlds in terms of flexibility and durability. Sustainable options, such as bamboo, offer eco-friendly choices with impressive flexibility and a lively feel.
Choosing the right wood and construction method for your skateboard deck is essential to find the perfect balance of performance and durability. It’s recommended to try out different decks and seek recommendations from fellow skaters or local skate shops to gain hands-on experience and find the deck that suits your riding style and preferences.
Additionally, when selecting a skateboard, consider factors such as the deck width, ply count, and concave. The width of the deck should align with your riding style and body size, while the ply count and concave level can impact the board’s response and maneuverability.
Remember, skateboarding is all about personal preference and finding the setup that feels right for you. So, get out there, experiment, and enjoy the exhilarating ride of finding the perfect skateboard deck that matches your style and helps you push the boundaries of what’s possible on four wheels.