Hey folks thanks for jumping in the blog and please feel free to comment or criticize in the comments section below. This article is meant to solve the problem of those decks you trip over in the shed that the kids don’t want anymore. My son is training hard and is looking to start skate competitions soon and that implies he goes through a new deck almost weekly. He also goes through a new pair of shoes every three weeks but I’ll address the frequent shoe replacement problem in a future article.
I have had a keen interest in skateboard technology for a few years now and I have quickly realized that skateboarding technology is as innovative as anything else. Skating is not about slapping wheels on a board and off you go on a nice summer day. Skateboarding equipment and apparel is now a $7 billion dollar industry and the manufacturers are highly competitive.
The seriousness of the industry is pushing to bring skateboarding as an Olympic summer sport. Hopefully, a form of skateboarding will be demonstrated in 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero. In the meantime, we can watch the penultimate skateboarding contest at the annual X-Games http://espn.go.com/action/skateboarding/
Skateboarding is an art, sport, and way of life for many and as much as cutting-edge research is being done to further the sport there are backyard enthusiasts who embrace the hobby just as much. But I digress.
Now back to painting a skateboard deck. I’ve read several similar articles; however, they don’t go into detail more than “sand board, then prime”. I wanted to provide more detail as to what sandpaper to use, etc. Please consider that these tips are for the hobbyist and produce as much a “professional” result as possible, but do not equate to a professional skateboard manufacturer’s methods. The point being that skateboards, in order to gain speed and agility, require the lightest weight possible in order to defy physics. Believe it or not, painting a deck in your backyard can produce great looking results, but manufacturers take great lengths to keep the manufacturing process as controlled as possible in order to apply the minimum required amount of paint. Applying too much paint will increase the deck’s weight and even if you were to increase the weight by only one gram, that would be all too noticeable to a professional skater. I’m sure Tony Hawk and Shaun White are past the stage of backyard shed projects.
Unless you can guarantee that you will not sand off too much of the underside art to the detriment of the wood, and apply the exact same amount of paint as previously applied, please ensure that if you are repainting the deck of a pro skater that you set the expectation.
Nonetheless, I am not a professional skater and I offer the following advice so that you have a freaking cool deck albeit a couple of grams heavier.
First you’ll need a decent workspace, whether it be a shed or garage or even outdoors. If you intend to work outdoors, do heed caution when spray painting in a breeze.
You’ll also need some work clothes. You will get dirty and unless your clothes and workspace has been previously approved by your partner, spouse, or girlfriend, you could find yourself in trouble and ultimately skating alone.
Thirdly, in addition to your painting and restoration materials you will need to have adequate clean up materials such as a wet cloth to wipe excess paint, a paint area covered by a sheet of cardboard or dropcloth.
Also, though these steps took me about an hour to complete, the whole process took about three days to complete, allowing for the primer and paint to dry sufficiently between steps. Also, sanding by hand is not recommended. I highly recommend the use of an electrical sander as it will sand the surface uniformly without creating valleys or carve lines in.
Before beginning, do make sure that the board you are restoring is in fact repairable and that the plies have not separated.
WARNING: If you are an avid skateboarder who does grinds and 50/50s your freshly painted skateboard will scratch and deface!!!
Tools & Equipment
- An X-Acto or surgical knife
- A putty knife – a metal one, not a plastic one
- A blow dryer or paint heat gun
- 40 grit sand paper
- 150 grit sand paper
- 220 grit sand paper
- An electric sander – with protective glasses and a dust mask
- Wood filler
- Acrylic aerosol primer
- Acrylic aerosol paint
- Aerosol lacquer or Varathane
- Mom, dad, or the babysitter’s permission and approval before proceeding
- Take a photo of the “before” deck top and bottom for sake of posterity. If you can, weigh the board so you have a reference as to the weight of the removed paint and the paint you’re to add.
- Using the knife, lift the grip tape at the end of the board and begin peeling
- If required, use the heat gun or blow dryer to warm the grip tape glue in order to facilitate the peeling process. Removing the grip tape should take between three and seven minutes.
- Using the sander and 40 grit paper, proceed to remove the graphic from the bottom of the deck. Be patient as this can take 20 minutes. Apply a lot of pressure on the sander but avoid digging or carving into the wood with the edge of the sander.
- Once the graphic has been removed, re-sand with a 150 grit paper in order to smooth out the wood. This step should take no more than five minutes.
- Repair the board as needed using a carpenter quality wood filler paste. Wood filler is available in many colours and you can even collect some of the sawdust from the previous step and mix it in. Apply liberal amounts of filler and don’t worry about getting it perfect. You are not icing a cake. The important point to remember is not to over work the filler. Put it on, let it dry, then you will re-sand. This step should take five minutes. Then wait 24 hours before sanding the filler.
- Re-sand the repaired spots with 150 grit paper.
- Using a damp (not wet) cloth, wipe any excess sawdust from the deck and wait about fifteen minutes.
- For the primer, ensure you have properly mixed it. Apply the primer to each surface of the deck. I used a paint brush but try finding an aerosol primer. The trouble with brushes is that you may apply too much primer in certain areas.
- Wait for the primer to dry (about 30 minutes) and re-sand with 150 grit paper. Do not resand the primer off to the point you will see the wood grain. Just provide a light sanding to remove any blistering or bubbles from the primer. You may see the wood through the primer, this is ok.
- Before painting the deck, again wipe extra primer dust from the deck with a damp cloth and again wait fifteen minutes before painting.
- Shake the aerosol primer can for at least two full minutes. Hold the can about ten inches away from the deck and spray very lightly until the paint covers the entire surface. Aerosol cans cause drips and bubbles so if this occurs, wait for drying and resanding, do not overpaint or try to fix wet paint.
- Wait 24 hours. Seriously. This is the most crucial step to allow the paint to dry.
- Sand the painted deck with 220 grit paper and again wipe with damp cloth and wait fifteen minutes
The final steps will be provided in the next few days. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.