Putting a skateboard together is fairly simple, but like everything worthwhile, it takes some time and understanding. Many skaters like putting their gear together on their own, because they get a hands-on look at all of the components and they can fine-tune each as they see fit. Here is a step-by-step manual to the process, should you decide to give it a try.
Before we get started assembling your board, let’s make sure that you have all of the required components:
GRIPPED DECK (1)
If the deck still needs to be gripped, consult this article on grip tape for easy instructions..
TRUCKS (2) WITH HARDWARE
Each truck will require four screws and four nuts, which fit through the baseplate and secure to the deck. They also each have four axle washers and two lock nuts. Hardware totals: eight screws, eight corresponding nuts, eight axle washers, four lock nuts. Make sure all hardware is accounted for before beginning to assemble the skate.
Now that you’ve gathered all of the individual pieces, let’s get them put together!
MOUNTING THE TRUCKS
If your deck is newly gripped, you’ll want to start off by poking through the screw holes in the deck with a screwdriver. Do this carefully so as not to poke your hand. Put all eight screws into the holes and flip the board over, bottom side up. Now you can slip the trucks onto the screws, through the baseplate. (If you are using risers, you’ll want to put those on first, between the deck and the baseplate.) The trucks should be placed so that the kingpin and the bushings of each face inwards, toward the other. Attach the nuts to the screws to hold the trucks loosely in place until you can fasten them securely.
Using the skate tool or the adjustable wrench to hold the nuts in place, tighten the screws in a “crisscross” pattern: if you start with the northwest screw, tighten the southeast one next, then the southwest, then the northeast. This ensures that the hold is evenly distributed over the entire baseplate. After you’ve secured both trucks, you can get ready to add the bearings and wheels.
GETTING THE BEARING INTO THE WHEELS
The first thing you’ll need to do is get those pesky bearings into the wheel sockets. This is probably the toughest part of the whole assembly process, because you need to use some manpower. You can buy a tool called a bearing press, which is specifically designed for this step, but your own two hands will work just as well if you know what to do.
Start by flipping your skateboard on its side and sliding a bearing onto one of the axles (which should now be sticking up). Bearings are very delicate and their integrity will be compromised if you aren’t careful when handling them, so take extra precautions during this phase of assembly. On top of the bearing, slide a spacer (optional: not all bearings come with spacers) followed by a wheel. Using overhead pressure, push the bearing into the socket of the wheel. You will eventually feel the bearings slip into place. Keep in mind that harder wheels – those with high durometers – will be tougher to fit than softer wheels.
Once one bearing is in, remove the wheel and slide on another bearing followed by an optional spacer. Flip the wheel over, slide it onto the axle over the bearing/spacer, and push it into place. Now you’ll have one wheel outfitted with its bearings. Only three more wheels to go!
ATTACHING THE WHEELS TO THE TRUCKS
Once all four wheels have their two bearings each, it’s time to attach them to the trucks. To set yourself up, set the skate on its side again. Most trucks come with two axle washers per wheel, for a total of eight. These washers should go on either side of wheel to help it spin smoothly.
To attach each wheel, slide on the first washer followed by the wheel with bearings followed by the second washer. The last piece is the lock nut, which secures the entire wheel setup into place. Once you’ve attached the wheels on one side of the board, flip it to the other side and repeat the process. Theoretically, your board is now rideable. However, you should always do a thorough once-over to make sure that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place (as in: no extra hardware lying around, everything is tightened).
Then, at last, you can get out of your garage and hit the road!