What Kind Of Wood Are Longboards Made From?
Longboards can be made out of a variety of different kinds of material and as time has gone on the preference to what type of material to use has changed.
Some of this is due to technology because specific materials that are available now weren’t always available or not widely available.
What your deck is made of is one of the significant factors that affect the cost, but the material doesn’t just change that.
The other big thing that the material concerns are the weight of the board. The conventional materials for longboard decks are wood, bamboo, and carbon fiber or a composite material.
This article is just going to focus on the wood materials though, as there are enough options with only those to fill up an article.
What Kinds Of Woods Are Used For Longboards?
Two main kinds of wood are used, and those are birch and maple. Then there is also bamboo which some people consider wood even though it is technically a grass, but we will discuss it here as well.
The wood can also be used in two forms. You can use a solid piece of the wood, or you can use plywood. Plywood is thin veneer pieces of the wood glued together and the thickness can number of layers can vary.
The advantages of using a solid piece of wood are that it is stronger and you don’t have to worry about the glue that holds the plywood together coming apart.
The downside to a solid piece of wood is that it cost more and also is heavier. This is why most people opt for plywood ranging in some lawyers from 5ply to 12ply usually.
The plywood also has a bit of flex, which is good where a solid piece is too strong, and flexing can lead to the board breaking.
Now that you know the three basic types of wood and the forms you can choose between a solid piece of plywood, we will take a look at the qualities of each specific model.
Maple wood is a hardwood and is heavy and sturdy. The decks made of these are most often used for downhill riding.
Depending on the shape and style of board, maple boards can pick up a lot of speed. Freestyle riders also like them.
Since maple is a dense wood the board is ordinarily 5ply-10ply and they usually alternate bamboo between the layers. This alternating helps cut down on the weight because an all maple board would be cumbersome.
The advantage to a maple board is that it will last for a long time. Also, you can do slides without any rattling or vibrations going thru the board because it is strong.
The downside is maple is massive which some people may not like. This is especially true if you are using your board for cruising and have to carry it some because even with the bamboo layers, maple is still more substantial than other options.
Next, we will take a look at boards made from solely bamboo.
These boards are light and typically consist of 5ply to 9ply. Even though they are light, they still have decent strength, but because bamboo is more of a grass than a wood board made of it offer a lot of flex.
This flex makes it great for absorbing bumps and rough ground. This makes this options an excellent option for cruising because the ride will be even smoother than a cruiser board made of another material.
Also, the lightweight is excellent for a cruiser because when you have to carry it, it isn’t a big deal.
Bamboo boards are also great for low-speed riding and recommend for that.
If you ride one at too high of a speed, you are likely to get wobble which can cause wrecks.
This is why if you want to do downhill riding you should look into another board material option. Lastly, though bamboo boards are excellent for turns.
The flex allows you to lean more in-depth into the corner and that helps make it crisper. So for casual cruiser or freestyle riders bamboo is a great option.
The reason we saved birch for last is that it is a hybrid type option.
It has some of the qualities of both maple and bamboo. The conditions it gets from maple are the strength and weight, but it gets the flex of bamboo. It is an in-between board material.
Normally boards made of birch use 9ply to 12ply. The reason that it is so high is you need a lot of it to get it stable and sturdy like maple. Birch is more flexible than bamboo when it is in single layers. Also, birch is usually the cheapest option. Some people even make their maple boards at home because it is easy to work with using basic hand tools.
Since birch has a mix of qualities between maple and bamboo, it can be used for pretty much any type of riding.
The flex that it offers help it absorb bumps and take turns easily like a bamboo board so that you can use a birch board as a cruiser.
The extra strength though from all the layers makes it have some weight to it as well though so you can use it as a downhill board as well.
Depending on how you are going to use your birch board, you can set it up with wheels and trucks that compliment that type of riding. That makes birch boards very versatile.
Which Material For Your Board?
The material you pick for your best longboards depends on what you are going to be using it for the most and also your riding style. The best way to find out which material you like is to try out all three kinds of wood. One of them will feel right to you and met your needs,
The thing to remember when picking out a wood longboard is the strength flex you need, and the riding you will be doing. Maple, birch, and bamboo all have good qualities about them and bad. The key is to maximize the good and minimize the bad with how you use your longboard.