By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
How do skateboards reproduce? The question that every skateboarder has formulated at least once since being given the first deck. Skateboards don’t grow on trees, sprout out of the ground or are sent to you by a mythical white goose. Behind the making of a skateboard there are loads of woodcraft, machinery and assembling that the gods of old passed onto us mortal beings: the secret knowledge to make skateboard take over the world and be free to reproduce anywhere and at any time. This is the birth of a skateboard deck:
The deck is primarily made of several thin sheets of wood called veneers. High quality decks depend on the number and material of those veneers: the standard for a good and reknowned brand deck is at least seven veneers that must be made of maple tree wood which is one of the strongest timbers available. The seven veneers are stacked, the one at the bottom and at the top are smoothed and sanded on their exposed faces, while their unexposed faces are glued to the other five veneers that are glued on both faces. That glue must be special in order to withstand shock, weather and vibrations.
Molding and shaping
This pile of veneers is then put (along other ones at the same time) on a mold and pressing machine. This mold gives at least 40 tons of pressure to the sheets, bending them to the shape of a generic deck: this is how the nose and the tail of the deck are formed. When the block comes out, two sets of four holes are made in the pile of decks in order mount the later front and back trucks.
Cutting and brushing
After this, the block is handed to a machine or an expert to cut off the contour of the deck’s shape in the whole unit; for this most facilities, have a template of the model they want to use for measuring their boards. Then they do what it is called as a rough cut, which means to cut every block piled up to retrieve a wooden deck out of each one. Then, for each individual deck made, they proceed with the smooth cut, which is cutting off any excess on the surface on the contours of the boards. Experts run the deck through a spiraling cutting blade to achieve this using another model of a template.
This is the final shape of the board, that also needs to be shaped with a router around the bottom and top edges. Then it must be placed and smoothed against a drum sander to soften the faces and then a brusher comes in to remove any wood fiber or particles o sawdust. At this point, the deck is finished, lacking only color and a design motif in the surface.
Dressing it up
Each deck is the spayed with a colorless primer to seal the pore in the wood surface, to prevent absorbing water, paint or lacquer that could be used on it. Then it must be given a coat of a lacquer to protect it from the elements and give that high-glossed looks.
The final process is the decoration: the design’s artwork is printed on plastic sheets. Workers center the plastic motif in the board and use a rolling machine that applies heat and pressure in order to get the design stamped in the deck. The chemical reaction between the heat, the plastic, the ink and the lacquer make that all of them parts integrate into a whole unit once more. Then is just removing the plastic sheet like a sticker and the deck is pretty much done.
Decks can be sold and produced without the trucks and wheels or can be already be given with all the movement attire; it depends on the company that makes them. And that’s how baby skateboards come into the world! With loads of love and a little bit of magic, and wood. It just needs the Fairy Godmother and you to bring it to life.
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