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If you're tired of those boring shop class projects, get your teacher to instruct the class in how to build a skateboard instead. The Roarockit Skateboard Company has a kit for building one that is perfect for school. This is a serious kit, suitable for real use. The kit also comes with a video so teachers can familiarize themselves with the process. Preparing wood veneers, gluing layers of wood together, hand vacuum use, and proper gluing techniques are just a few of the skills learned with this project.
Gripping your board requires a padded surface (so you don't ruin your graphic) a retractable cutting tool and a fine file. Slowly and carefully peel the backing off, beginning at one end and lay the backing down, smoothing the grip tape as you go. Once you are free of air bubbles, file along the edge of your deck. A white outline will appear, showing you where your cut line is. Follow the outline with your cutter until you've removed all the excess grip tape. Then poke holes where your hardware will go.
Building your own skateboard can be great fun as well as rewarding. And you need only a few simple tools to do it. That list includes a metal file, a safety knife with a sharp blade, a Philips screwdriver or an allen wrench, a scratch awl, and nut drivers. These are common tools and can be readily found in any hardware store, if it's not already in your household toolbox.
Perhaps the trickiest part of building your own skateboard is getting the bearings into the wheels without damaging them. The softer your wheels, the easier it is to pop the bearings into, but with harder wheels, it gets trickier to do without tools. Some brave or experienced souls use their trucks as a tool, but you might be better off using a bearing tool or bearing press.
Most skateboarders will agree that one of the hardest parts of building a skateboard is getting the bearings into the wheels without damaging them. Each wheel gets two bearings and a spacer. It's an easier process with softer wheels. Although sometimes hard to find, bearing tools or presses can be bought.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|