Choosing The Correct Deck Bolts
Deck bolts are the main form of skate hardware you’ll need to wrap your head around when building and maintaining your skateboard. They come in a range of lengths and generally one of 3 drive types for fastening; Phillips, allen/hex and the significantly-less-common-nowadays flat-head style.
Although not crucial for performance, choosing the right drive type for the tools you have on hand to maintain them is a good way to go. T-Tools designed for skateboard maintenance and fastening are ideal for this application, they feature the correct size sockets for all of the skateboard’s nuts and a combination hex/phillips driver.
If you don’t have a T-tool you can get the job done with a wrench (or solid pliers) and screwdriver/allen wrench. Some deck bolt sets come with the correct sized allen-wrench so be sure to check that you either have one already or it is included in the pack.
After choosing the drive type, it’s important to consider what bolt length will be optimal for your purpose. ‘Standard’ bolts for a 7-ply deck with no riser pads are typically ⅞” to1”.
If you use riser/shock pads the table below gives you an indication of the bolt length you should be using.
|7/8" - 1"
|1/8" Riser Pad
|1" - 1 1/8"
|1/4" Riser Pad
|1/2" Riser Pad
It’s important for the bolts to reach through the deck and truck baseplate with enough thread left to adequately tighten the nut. If the bolts are too short, you’ll find it more difficult to properly fasten and find that they vibrate loose quite quickly, leading to the trucks shaking independently from the deck, or even loss of a bolt/nut.
It’s ok to have less than 8 bolts securing the deck to the trucks but it can get pretty sketchy if you only have 2 per truck, for safety’s sake it’s best to have 4 bolts per truck when possible.
If the bolts are too long, they can get in the way of grinds and catch on things.
Make sure you’re checking your bolts regularly to avoid any issues with them coming loose, if the trucks have any movement independent of the deck, the bolts need to be tightened - it’s good practice to give your deck bolts a little tighten at the start of a session.