Skateboard hardware, often overlooked and something you don’t think about until you assemble your skateboard. Easily forget when your shopping around for parts and end up with an almost complete setup, without the hardware. I remember ordering some top notch skateboard gear but forgot to add hardware, it sucked because I was all excited to assemble my new setup but realised I had to go to my local hardware store.
Generally speaking the right size hardware for skateboard is 7/8″ for standard 7-ply decks without risers. Sometimes trucks have a thicker baseplate and 1″ is a better option. Both 7/8″ and 1″ flathead countersunk bolts always are the right size to pick.
In this guide I want to show you different hardware sizes and when to use them, I’ll keep it simple but also want to address common problems with skateboard hardware you’ll run into eventually, and how to fix them.
Skateboard Hardware Size Chart
This chart is based on my own experience. I checked all my skateboards and cruisers to see what works. There isn’t a golden rule when wheels size gets over 58mm and you start to add risers. I made sure you have enough clearance so you don’t get wheel bite.
|Wheel size (mm)||Riser size (inch)||7-Ply deck Hardware length (inch)||8-Ply or 9-Ply deck hardware lenght (inch)|
|49mm – 54mm||No risers||7⁄8″||1 1⁄8″|
|55mm – 56mm||No need if you ride trucks tight||7⁄8″||1 1⁄8″|
|55mm – 56mm||1⁄8″ if you ride loose trucks||1 1⁄8 – 1 1⁄4||1 1⁄4 – 1 1⁄2″|
|57mm – 58mm||1⁄8″||1 1⁄8 – 1 1⁄4||1 1⁄4 – 1 1⁄2″|
|59mm – 60mm||1⁄8″ – 1⁄4″||1 1⁄8″ – 1 1⁄4″||1 1⁄4″ – 1 1⁄2″|
I stopped at 60mm because that’s part of my skateboard riser pad guide which will follow later this week. Skateboarders only need 1/8″ risers in general, anything over 1/8″ risers is for cruisers and perhaps a few bowl skaters that love extra carvy setups.
My table is a bit different compared to a couple of e-commerce sites like Tactics, Warehouse Skateboards or Skatedeluxe (EU) because I think they are off and too generic.
I tested many cruisers, wheels, and different setups and almost everytime you can get away with 1⁄8″ risers, even if you ride 60mm wheels. It really depends on your weight, truck height, style, and the hardness of your bushings.
Go bigger if you love to carve on cruisers, but this post is about hardware and technical skateboarding. More about that in my upcoming riser pad special.
Skateboard Deck Size & Hardware Size
There is no correlation between the size (length) of your deck and hardware size. If you skate and 8.0″ deck, you still can use 7/8″ hardware without risers.
Same goes for an 8.25″, again there is no difference because most decks consist of 7-plys of maple. Santa Cruz VX and Powell Flight decks are an exception to the rule but even those decks work fine with 7/8″ hardware.
The exception here is 8 and 9-ply skateboard decks, not sure why anyone would pick an 8 or 9 ply for technical street skateboarding unless you want a skateboard that doesn’t snap. Moving on.
Does Skateboard Hardware Size Matter?
Skateboard hardware size matters when you ad risers or shock pads. Also, if the bolts are too long they stick out too much and can bend on impact. You can also get stuck when you grind curbs or copings resulting in nasty falls.
There is just no way to pull of a crooked grind on a ledge if your bolts are too long. Bolts can stick out a little, just make sure they don’t stick out more than 1/8″. 1″ is always a safe bet because you can still add 1⁄8″ risers whithout having to buy be hardware.
Not to mention that they will bend and become razor sharp, that’ll show the mall grabbers for sure.
How to Choose Skateboard Bolts
Picking the right bolts depends on the size of your wheels. From (arguably) 57mm and up you’ll need risers for extra clearance to prevent wheel bite. Clearance means the space empty between the wheels and deck.
1″ and 7/8″ bolts are compatible with every setup, the former will have 1/8″ sticking out which is fine. 7/8″ is perfect for skateboard with wheels under 57mm.
It also depends on how loose you skate your board. 58mm wheels can work without risers if you skate your trucks tight. Those who skate their trucks loose should consider risers.
Skateboard Hardware Colors
While color doesn’t really mean anything in terms of performance, they can be pretty handy. I admit I love to put a bright shiny bolt in front so I can quickly see what the front and rear of my skateboard is. Besides their practical function, the many colors available are great for those who really want to customise their skateboard to the next level.
One of my local skaters is slightly obsessd with colors. He needs to have 2 whites and reds in front in a particular pattern. I once replaced his hardware because he snapped a few bolts and it was a good thing that I had his color available. I guess that’s why they call me ‘dad skateboard’ over here.
I ordered a bunch of different colors that look amazing. Even though I’m an older skater, I really love the variations you can buy these days (the pics will be added later).
How Do You Put Hardware on a Skateboard?
Make sure to get the right tools. If you have tools available there’s no need for a skate tool. you’ll only need a 3⁄8 in (0.95 cm) wrench and a Phillips screwdriver or a 3⁄8 Alan key depending on your type of hardware.
It’s one of the easiest things to do, my advice is to lay your board on a table sideways first.
- Put in all 4 bolts
- Block the bolts on the griptape side with your hands to prevent them from moving
- Attach the truck
- Screw on the nuts one by one
- Get your tools and tighten them
Avoid cordless drills unless you know how to use them, you will strip the head and won’t be able to tighten the bolt.
Allen Bolts or Philips?
In my experience, Allen bolts are the better choice. Philips bolts heads always wear when you attach your trucks, even more so if you use a cordless drill. My experience with cordless drills is that it saves some time, but often messes up the Philips flathead. My Silver skate tool does a better job and takes just a minute longer.
Recommended Skateboard Hardware
Can’t give you a definitive answer but I do know branded hardware is way overpriced. Independent Philips hardware is pretty much trash. if you change your setup a lot, I would go for hardware store stuff and avoid branded hardware just make sure the nuts contain a nylon ring.
One brand that offers quality hardware is Fireball, you can feel the difference when you hold them in your hand. They weigh more compared to independent and last longer.
As aforementioned, the best advice I can give from experience is to buy Allen hardware. They don’t strip easily and most modern skate tools have an Allen screwdriver. They are easier to attach and less likely to come loose.
Brand, price, and color is all up to you. Some brands offer stickers and even a (crappy) tool and skate wax. Just figure out what you need and check if they match the color scheme of your current trucks or deck.
Some hardware brands like Modus are a lot thinner and helps to get it closer to the board.
Be sure to get the right shape, only use flatheads and avoid buttonheads, It works but you will feel them when you ollie or simply standing on your board.
The rest of this ‘article’ is about common issues and problems you will face at some point. Better be prepared and read on.
Removing a Stuck Hardware Bolt From a Skateboard
This can happen due to a couple of reasons. It may be rust or bent bolts, or the bolt’s head is stripped (usually when you use electric drills). The easiest way is to use a hacksaw and cut it off.
Your other options are use an elastic band on top of the flathead and see if this allows get it out. You can also use a 3/8 socket and ratchet.
Be sure you’ve got a good grip on the head with the right size Philips or Allen key. Drill it if it still won’t budge but be careful and don’t use too much force.
Hardware Sticking Out
Hardware sticking out on top of a skateboard deck shouldn’t be a problem unless your shoes get stuck when flicking your board. Just a little bit won’t tear your shoes but I would advice to fix it before it gets worse.
Sometimes you can’t get them in properly because there is a bit of grip tape between the hardware and deck. Make sure to puncture holes before you insert hardware. Get a screwdriver and turn it around a couple of times to remove the residue grip tape.
Just use a proper (skate) tools and tighten the nut while using a screwdriver to stop the head from turning on the other side of your deck. Works every time, just remember not to overdo it. Too tight isn’t ideal, neither is too loose. Just make sure the trucks are flush with your grip tape.
If the hardware is too long and they stick out of the trucks mounting holes, you’ll run into problems sooner or later. Replace the hardware as soon as possible, it can bend, break, get stuck and can become razor sharp.
Loose Bolts On a Skateboard
A very common problem which can be solved by using your skate tool and tighten the bolts and nuts. Reddit suggest using Loc-Tite to prevent it from happening. Haven’t tried this myself but it makes sense.
It also doesn’t hurt to inspect your hardware and your trucks axle and kingpin nuts once every while. Don’t want your wheels to come flying off or a kingpin failing when you’re just about to ollie a 5-stairs.
Can You Ride a Skateboard With 2 or 3 Bolts?
Always make sure you have properly setup up your skateboard, you need 8 bolts and 8 nuts for good reasons. You can ride a skateboard a skateboard with 2 or 3 bolts but you’re risking deforming or breaking the remaining 2 bolts. It’s not recommended when ollieing huge stairs, grinding curbs or tricks with lots of impact.
You can get away with it for a few hours depending on how hard you skate, hardcore skaters should always make sure their gear is okay, but beginners that pop a few ollies shouldn’t worry too much. Just make sure you fix the problem as soon as you can. Ask around, often people in skate parks have spares you can use.
Where To Get Skateboard Hardware
Even though skateboard hardware is relatively cheap, skate brands prices are ridiculous. You can go to your local hardware store and buy them for less and get better quality hardware. Quality varies from brand to brand but paying 10 bucks for hardware is outrageous, even if they are shiny.
If you decide to go to Home Depot or any hardware store make sure you get the right size and the nuts contain a nylon ring. The nylon ring helps to keep the bolts in place, otherwise you have to tighten your hardware every session.
How To Prevent Wheel Bite
If you don’t want to add risers a simple hack is to just add a little wax. This is more of a cruiser skateboard hack. I wouldn’t do it when you skate bowls because you don’t know where the wax will end up. It’s like throwing an invisible banana and hope for the best.
Other than that, add risers and make sure to get the right hardware.
Recommended Skate Tools
This is really a though one, I have 2 tools I adore and one really stands out. The one I LOVE is super efficient, durable and gets the job done like no other. The thing is, it lacks a re-threader. This is where my other tool excels, but only that.
The Silver skate tool is awesome, and I would recommend it to everyone. If they could add a re-threader it would be perfect. Comes in a few colors and is expensive, around $30.
If you need a re-threader go with the one on the right in the image below. The Pig Skate Tool has everything you need but the screwdriver is a bit of a pain to remove.
Standard skate tools work as well, it just takes a bit more effort but gets the job done. They only cost around $7 but are rather fragile.
I should have addressed this topic way sooner but it never crossed my mind that there are so many variables. Not only the hardware size and riser and or wheel compatibility, but the more hardware I handed out, the more problems surfaced.
This post should answer everything there is to know about hardware size, issues, shapes, and best practices. If I missed anything, be sure to let me know. This article is closely related to risers which will follow very soon.