Skateboarding is a fun and active sport that requires the right choice of parts and hardware. The deck is the most prominent part of the skateboard and it is typically made up of wood, or a combination of wood and synthetic materials. It is the surface upon which the skateboarder stands as such, the quality of the material used in its construction is vital and cannot be ignored.
Before starting your journey in skateboarding, it is necessary to get familiar with all the intricacies involved. You ought to know what the board you will ride on is made of. Could it be recycled wood, plastic, or some other material?
In summary, which then is the best wood for skateboards? Experts recommend the Canadian Maple as the best suited for making boards. As a result, it is mostly used for skateboards. The reason this is so isn’t far-fetched – it has more durability and strength because it can be combined in multiple layers.
Manufacturers can make skateboard decks from a variety of materials and each of these materials differs in their properties. The diverse properties of the various materials used usually result in boards of varied quality, strength, and elasticity. It is advisable however to go for boards that are made of wooden products.
A good skateboard deck should have the right mix of certain key properties which include strength, flexibility, and durability. Maple is flexible and durable which allows it to be shaped easily without compromising its quality and strength.
Typically, standard professional skateboard decks are made up of seven layers of wood ply. Maple decks can be constructed to range from 6-9 ply, unlike some other wood types. All these and more have made maple the preferred choice for manufacturing and long-term use.
- A board made from maple can contain up to 7-9 layers
- Ideal for making high-quality boards
- Naturally non-toxic material
- Prices are fairly reasonable
- Not readily available in the market
Asides from maple, there are other good wooden products that can be used to make skateboard decks such as Birch Plywood and Bamboo. Let’s consider some of their features.
Bamboo skateboards are definitely a great alternative to maple ones, which is why bamboo has made its way to our list of the best wood for skateboards.
Not only are they environmentally friendly, but they are also light, strong, flexible, and durable. You would also recall that maple isn’t readily available in the market. This is because the maple tree only grows in the Northern regions of North America.
Bamboo, on the other hand, is more readily available and its skateboards are becoming increasingly popular in green skater communities. More so when compared to maple, bamboo fiber is 2-3 times stronger. Though stronger, it is still a bit lighter than maple hence allowing for greater flexibility.
- Available in the market
- Has good spring qualities
- Strong enough to make a skateboard deck
- High price
- Fragile material
Plywood usually allows you to have thinner skateboard decks that are flexible, yet relatively strong. The locally grown Baltic Birch Plywood is now gaining popularity as an alternative to Bamboo.
Plywood is typically made up of a stack of 3 or more alternating layers of wood that have been glued together. They usually come in varied thicknesses, wood types, and grades. Compared to bamboo and maple, however, plywood might not offer much quality.
- Affordable price
- Market availability
- The boards can only contain 3+ layers
- Not suitable for quality, long-term skates
- They are more likely to have splinters
Beyond the innate properties of the aforementioned wooden products, you should also consider the quality of their products before placing that buy order. Every factory has its distinct production technology, therefore its products differ in characteristics and quality.
You can also observe the quality of the deck by inspecting it in your hands. If it is wooden, the layers should be interlaid with specialized wood glue which could either be water-based or epoxy resin. If poor-quality glue was used, you would observe delamination of the layers. Let’s now consider some other factors to look out for when choosing the perfect deck.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Skateboard Deck
Earlier on, we looked at the various characteristics of different wooden products. Each of these wooden products has its pros and cons and depending on your style of skateboarding, these pros and cons could either work for or against you. Take a look at some pointers below:
1. Ride Style
The selection of the entire board or its parts largely depends on the purpose and style of riding. Manufacturers offer various board types for performing tricks, fast riding, long-distance rides, and so on.
Next up, you have to determine the quality of the wood used in the deck’s construction.
- You ought to notice many layers of wood that are smooth and neat.
- Peradventure you notice even the smallest stratification in its layers, it is a sign of poor quality. The stratified layers would eventually lead to dryness, inelasticity, and less durability.
- You should also notice a slight concave on all four sides of the board. The concavity has a good effect on the control of the board and is an indication of strength.
You can determine the elasticity of the board through the following steps:
- Overturn the board on a flat surface with its wheels facing up
- Place one foot in the middle of the deck
- If the wood isn’t hard enough, it will bend to the surface
- If the deck is too hard, it will not bend
- A deck with optimal elasticity should be somewhere in between
Lastly, it is always advisable to seek assistance from a sales consultant or go shopping with an experienced rider when trying to determine the best wood for your skateboard. Badly selected parts could adversely affect the quality of your rides and might result in accidents.
We often come across questions regarding deck materials and their relationships with a person’s body weight. Here are some common questions and answers below
Do you have to be skinny to skateboard?
Although having less body weight could be helpful in skateboarding (especially when performing tricks), it all boils down to your discipline and dedication. If you consider yourself overweight, that shouldn’t stop you. Go ahead and give it a try.
The more you practice, the more you will love it and get better at it. Just ensure you put on some safety gear to help break the falls you will unavoidably have.
Do skateboards have a weight limit?
Although skateboarding is a great sport to help people who would want to lose some extra pounds, there are certain limits. In the table below, we have tried to compare different skateboard sizes to their corresponding weight limits. We hope this helps!
|Type||Deck Length||Weight Limit||Limit in kg|
|Penny Board||22-27”||180 lbs.||81kg|
|Electric Skateboard||37-39”||200-360 lbs.||90-150kg|
What is the hardest skateboard wood?
The hardest wood for skateboards is maple wood. It combines durability, strength, and flexibility. It can be reinforced with layers of carbon fiber to produce the strongest skateboard decks available.
What’s your favorite skateboard wood?
If you plan to build your own skateboard by yourself, you should know what type of wood to buy for your deck. Your body size and budget should determine this. So which wood do you prefer for decks? I bet you will want to go for the strongest. Let’s know below in the comments.