The skateboard you have been riding for years is starting to show its age. But your cash poor. Most skateboarders are not carpenters but you don’t need to be in order to bring your board back to life and make it last just a little longer. Let’s take a look at how to fix and repair your board to last a few weeks more.
Skateboards Do Wear Out Over Time
Skateboards are no exception to the old quote “Nothing Lasts Forever”. Metal, and urethane take punishment and eventually the parts fall apart over time. To make it last as long as possible Its important to take care of your skateboard.
Avoid riding in bad weather, Leaving it in a hot car or throw your board against a wall. Just like on a car you need to rotate your skateboards wheels. Following a regular maintenance schedule should help preserve the life of your setup, but parts will eventually wear down.
You will not be able to make your skateboard last indefinitely and those parts will eventually need to be changed out. The good news is that you don’t have to replace all of it at once.
In this article we will discuses some common issues that arise as boards are wearing out and discuss how we can fix these problems.
How Do I Fix a Razor Tail
A Razor Tail is a term for when several of the layers of plywood on the nose and tail of your deck wear down and create a sharp edge to the underside of the board. If you drag your tail, do enough ollies and flip tricks, and do slides Razor Tail is unavoidable. The rougher the ground the more prone your deck will be to razor tail.
Here is 2 different ways to fix razor tail:
- Sand the edge of the tail until the razor tail is removed. This will be the faster and easier way if you have access to power tools. A belt sander is the quickest way to remove razor tail. If access to tools is not an option, use coarse grit sandpaper on a sanding block. Sand back and forth along the boards edge until the razor tail is removed or at best, less sharp.
- Remove the razor tail by cutting it off. Use a saw for this. A jigsaw or a band saw will work best. Cut the end of your tail, back to where the majority of ply’s of wood are still attached. Make sure you keep the curved shape on the tail.
These two methods will help remove the razor tail and will help you to get that pop back in check. There is one downside and that is your deck will be shorter. Just be sure to follow the existing shape and not cut the tail off square.
How To Fix Deck Delamination
Delamination happens when the individual ply’s of wood on a deck start pulling apart. Regular skateboards are made of Plywood. Individual layers of wood will be attached together with glue to add strength to the skateboard. Over time the glue will start to let go and those layers will start to separate. A delaminated board is weaker and offers very little pop than a deck thats ply’s are still well glued.
To fix delamination use glue and this 2 step process.
- Inject wood glue into the spaces where the ply’s are separating from each another. Use a syringe for better results and easier operation. Syringes can be found at a hardware store for a few dollars. If you cannot locate a syringe, try and stuff the glue into the void with a dull knife, a playing card, or any thin flat tool. Its important to make sure the glue is evenly distributed within the delaminated spots.
- Place weight onto the deck while the glue is curing. The weight should be placed over the area that has just been glued. Ideally the more weight the better but at least 20lbs/10Kg. You should see the glue squishing from the edges. Without removing the weight wipe off any excess glue. Keeping the weight on for 24 hours should be plenty of time, but its suggested to check the label on the bottle of glue to see how long it takes for the glue to fully cure.
How To Fix Skate Bearings
Your bearings are going to be the most important part. Bearings are what let you roll and maintain speed. Quality bearings are strong and take impact from drops and airs and horizontal stress from slides. The elements such as water and muddy puddles is going to wreck havoc on your bearings. It is important to keep Your bearings in great shape. You won’t get very far without bearings.
Hear are some potential issues with bearings and how to fix them:
- Remove the bearings from the wheels with a puller tool. You can use a bearing tool or use the axle of your truck or a screwdriver to remove the bearings.
- Remove the rubber dust shield from the bearing. The rubber dust shield is on one side (unless you have a shieldless bearings like Bronson Raw bearings). Be extremely careful and take a very thin metal tool and stick it between the rubber dust shield and the side of the bearing. Carefully remove the dust shield. It does not take a lot effort to pop them out. Make sure not to bend or damage the dust shield. If the dust shield is damaged in any way, it will no longer work correctly, and you are better off not using it.
- Inspect the bearings. Look at your bearing housing (the outside part), the balls, and the bearing races (the groove that the balls sit in).
- If the race is damaged, this cannot be fixed. You can either have to live with it or replace the bearing.
- A crushed ball can be removed, but that bearing won’t spin as well with one less ball. It is probably best to replace it.
- If you don’t see any visible damage, go ahead and give the bearings proper cleaning.
How to clean your bearings
- Place the bearings into a glass jar with a lid (make sure the dust shields are off).
- Add a degreaser (minimum 75% rubbing alcohol or carburetor cleaner works well)
- Place the lid onto the container and shake for a few minutes. The cleaner will get cloudy and you will see bits of dirt in the solution.
- Empty out the cleaner and repeat steps 1-3 until solution stays clean.
- Place the bearings on a paper towel. Use a clean tooth brush dipped in the cleaning solution, gently scrub the inside and outside of each bearing.
- Rinse with the cleaning fluid again and gently tap the bearing (with the open side down) on a clean paper towel. This will knock out any crud.
- Rinse the bearings again, spin a couple times and place onto a clean paper towel to air dry. DO NOT RINSE BEARINGS WITH WATER. Water could cause oxidization.
- Apply a few drops of your favorite lubricant to each of the ball bearings. I recommend Bones Speed Cream or Bronson Lube, you could also use clipper oil or sewing machine oil. Do not over lubricate.
- Spin the bearings several times to evenly distribute the lubricant.
- Use a lint free cloth and gently wipe off the dust shields then put them back in place.
- Use a small amount of lubrication on a rag then wipe the entire outside of the bearing. This helps prevent rust. This will also help to slip back into your wheels)
Bearings could last you a couple years if you take care of them.
How To Fix Skateboard Trucks
You would need to be an experienced welder or a machinist to fix the damaged metal parts of your skateboard trucks. If you have a cracked hangar or base plate, its time t replace them. the durability of a good skateboard truck helps them last for years so when they break, you probably should have replaced already.
Bushings, king pins, washers and pivot cups are replaced easily. Its suggested to purchase a kit. With a kit, you are able to fix your trucks multiple times before needing to replace them. Several companies also offer replacement parts, Its suggested to buy what you need ahead of time.
- First remove the nut from the king pin. Pull off the truck hanger (The “T” shaped thing with the axles) and remove the bushings and washers from the truck.
- Know inspect the metal parts. You are looking for cracks and metal filings that might fall out. If you see any cracks or filings, it is best to replace the trucks.
- Damaged bushings. Simply turn the bushing 180 degrees so the damage part is facing the opposite direction from the way it was originally sitting. This should offer more life out of the bushings. Just like car tires It is always good practice to rotate your bushings occasionally. This distributes the wear evenly around the entire bushing as opposed to the damage only happening in one spot on the bushing.
- Damaged or Squeaky Pivot cups. These do not often wear out but they would have to be replaced if damaged. When your board creaks and squeaks as you turn, its not the bushings its the pivot cups. Take off the hanger, scrape some bar soap or wax shavings into the pivot cup. This lubricates the rubber to stop the squeaking.
- Replace a bent king pin. Remove the hanger and unbolt the base plate from our board. Gently tap out the kingpin through the base plate with a hammer or a rock. Slide the new bolt. Make sure the new bolt is seated properly in the base plate. The new kingpin shouldn’t rotate or wiggle much. If that happens, it could be a sign that the base plate may be worn.
- Straighten your bent axle. Not an easy task, and could make things worse. Place the bent axle in a vise and carefully bend it back into position. This may be good for a couple light rides, but metal once bent is weaker than before, Its suggested to purchase new trucks.
These few tips should help you to keep skating when your finances are getting back in order, Just remember these tips are only temporary. You should not be ridden with damaged parts. There are plenty of dangers and risk with riding. Damaged components will only compound the potential for personal injury.
Please stay safe!