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All About Longboard Construction – From A to Z!
Early Construction & Evolution over Time
Surprisingly in the early days of skateboarding most of them were personally handmade by a skillful artist, pretty cool right! People also take the wheels from old and outdated roller skates and attach to the board or as a wooden plank this will later become the strong foundation to all board design. Teenagers specifically were a master in creating these boards but they still need more improvement and teenagers at the time are looking for a breakthrough, something that can bring a wind of change to skateboarding and take the world of skateboarding by storm for its appearance.
In the 1970s, longboarding took a drastic turn in terms of construction and as an activity as well. It was the time when the urethane wheels appeared and the concept of a good set of wheels for the best board made a debut. These wheels were stronger than roller skates wheels and provided strength plus faster speed to longboarders. Over the period, somewhere in the 1990s, the longboarding tricks were so popular that every teens knew one or two of these awesome tricks . So, longboarding became a serious sport with competitions and a mode of transportation.
A Longboard Construction – Comprehensive Guide
What are longboards made of? There are various components join together to make a single longboard. These include deck, bushing or trucks, and wheels.
1. The Main and Core Component Is A Deck.
A number of layers of woods that are plys. Board’s decks can be a single solid piece of wood, but longboard decks are usually made up of almost up to eleven (11) layers of plywood. The thickness of each layer is 2 millimeters and people are using birch, bamboo, maple or oak wood for decks so that the flexibility is increased. Plywood has a clear finish that makes the surface look bright and neat therefore it is a good choice for making decks. Unlike normal plywood that comes in 4×8 sheets, it comes in 5×5 foot sheets of a metric thickness. It machines beautifully with woodworking tools.
Constructing a longboard Deck
Here you should know that normal regular plywood is not strong, so it is always better to make your plywood using either maple or birch wood. It also involves using special glue, layering each ply in different directions. To give a certain concave and bend the board, they press really at any appreciable degree to achieve desired concaveness. The choice of glue makes a huge difference. The boards are then cut out and shaped to the maker’s desire. This stage demands heavy machinery like belt sanders, jigsaw and band saws. The final step in constructing a longboard deck is drilling the truck holes. These holes drill perfectly in line.
Bamboo, maple, birch and hybrid or composite are the widest materials that people use to make longboard bases of the deck. Below is the overview to show each one’s strong point so that you can choose the best material for your deck.
Bamboo boards are comparatively lighter than the other denser and heavy material boards. It contains five to nine ply of wood compressed together to form a single board. The Bamboo Boards are good at absorbing bumps and cracks. Besides, it provides a ton of flex and spring to the rider. And this flex also allows riders to lean deeper and harder into theirs. In addition, it lets the board absorb the weight transfer to make sharper more crisp turns.
These flexible bamboo boards are used for cruising and carving. They can be used at lower speeds because the spring quality of the board can potentially contribute to riders getting the DEATH WOBBLES while straight lining at high speeds. Bamboo boards can be used for casual sliding, but not for the desired riding style is mainly big hill sliding. The recommendation for safe riding styles for bamboo longboards is; cruiser, freestyle, and dancing.
Maple is a hard and sturdy wood. They layer five to ten plys of wood in an alternating pattern with bamboo to make a board. The mixing of maple ply with bamboo makes it less heavy. If all the maple plys then the board becomes pretty heavy and does not remain practical uses as a longboarding deck so that we need to thin it out and take back the flexibility. Due to its sturdy and easy to control properties riders prefer to go for such longboards. Depending on the size and shape maple wood board they use for downhill, free ride, and technical street setup.
Birch is the category that falls between bamboo and maple in terms of weight. 9 to 12 plys makes it a heavy and stiff board but they do provide flex which makes them versatile and a longboarder on birch board can have both maple and bamboo board qualities/abilities. These boards are cheaper than maple and bamboo boards. It is the best recommendation for riding styles and setups are downhill, free ride, cruiser, freestyle, and dancing.
Hybrid & Composite
It is the combination of fiberglass and wood. The wood can be maple or bamboo. Thus they are similar to bamboo boards in springiness as the construction with fiberglass provides that spring character to it. People compress these boards so they can withstand more pressure without breaking into a half. Different companies provide varying flexes on a chart for hybrid boards such as Flex 1- up to 270 lb. rider, Flex 2- 130 lb. – 210 lb. rider, and Flex 3- 80 lb- 170 lb rider. These boards are good for cruiser, freestyle and dancing setup.
2. Trucks and Wheels
T-shaped metal pieces are the trucks of the longboards. Every longboard requires two trucks of 150 mm or 180mm. Longboard trucks are made up of the axle, hanger, kingpin, and bushings.
The large wheel size of a longboard ranging between 64-80mm in diameter and they are made up of polyurethane which hardness is a good point and far surpass any set of wheels. A good longboard has its durometer range between 75a-85a which makes a board softer.
So whatever kind of longboard you buy, you will always find that it always has this basic construction. Read reviews at our site to find out what can be your next best longboard!