About our decks
We use 100% Canadian Maple for all of our decks, some higher-end decks feature more advanced materials too. Maple is shipped as a raw log and cut into veneers at the woodshop to ensure consistent humidity.
We use Latex and Epoxy glues, depending on the construction needs.
Decks are COLD PRESSED, ONE BOARD PER MOULD hydraulic presses. We don't hot press (which is faster to produce but more prone to warping), and we don't stack multiple boards in a press (which leads to inconsistent concaves and profiles throughout a run of boards).
Decks are finished with 2 coats of super-tough varnish, applied in a dust-free, fully extracted environment to give a solid protective coat. We use a heat transfer for graphic application - strong, scratch resistant and colourful.
Our goals when creating X-Flex were:
- To create a lively, but controlled (damped), flex.
- To create a layup that is strong enough to withstand the abuse of modern day riding.
- To do both of these things at a price you can afford.
We used a mixture of Canadian Maple and 600gsm Bi-Axial fibreglass. The clever bit is how we've used it - to understand what we've done, you'll need to understand how a regular glass layup works.
This is a view of a longboard from the side.
Fibreglass has exceptonal tensile strength - it's strongest when you try to stretch it ("Extension"). It can withstand a good deal of Compression - but it's strongest when it's being pulled.
What this basically means is, the bottom layer of glass on a longboard layup is doing most of the work. The top layer gives something for the bottom layer to "push against."
Here, the Outer Layers of Fibreglass are acting together with the Wood Core to create an "I Beam" structure - a very stong shape for it's weight, and ideal for making skateboard decks.
With X-Flex, we've added two layers of Maple to the outside of the tried and tested "I Beam" structure. As you can see, the further away from the middle of the deck you get, the more the veneers stretch or compress as you bounce up and down on the deck.
Every suspension engineer will tell you that, whilst your main spring does the shock absorbtion, without damping to adjust the return and compression, you will have a wild and uncontrollabed ride - simply put, it'll be too bouncy. The same applies to skateboards - you don't want a trampoline under your feet.
We're using the Outer Maple Veneers to change the nature of the flex that the fibreglass is giving us. As they are outside the Fibreglass, they are under more tension and stress, resticting the tension on the fibreglass, effectively acting as "Damping" layers to the fibreglass "Spring."
The result? A fluid, controlled flex, which has a good deal of bounce and will hold it's shape for a long time, without feeling too much like a trampoline. The Outer Maple Layers also provide a bit of ablative protection - no more fibreglass splinters every time you kerb your board.
We use X-Flex in the Generator.
For our speedboards, we needed something a little different:
- Minimal Torsional Flex (better cornering and stability)
- Extra stiffness lengthways, but with enough give to absorb bumps and keep a smooth ride
Let's deal with the torsional stiffness part first.
Here you can see what creates Torsional Flex in a longboard. As you turn side to side, your toes and heels "twist" the board along it's length. Whilst this can be desirable in a slide or freeride board, In a speedboard it gives sloppy cornering and an unpredictable ride.
You can see that the lines of force run diagonally across the deck, from shoulder to shoulder, or heel to toe.
With 4x, there is a layer of glass in the deck that runs diagonally, so that the fibres act to prevent the deck twisting and you corner and lean.
However, we don't just want torsional stiffeness, we also want a degree of lengthways stiffening too, as speedboards need to be stiff to a predictable ride. In short, we needed to control the flex according to it's direction within the deck - we want zero twist, but a tiny bit of give along the length to absorb any bumps and shocks.
Here we are looking down the length of the board rather than the side. Here, things are reversed to the X-Flex diagram above - it's actually the top layer of glass that's under the most stress (in Extension), and the bottom layer is in Compression.
So what this means is - you get your torsional stiffeness from the top layer of Fibreglass, and you lengthways stiffness from the bottom layer of Fibreglass.
We've kept the bottom layer vertical (with the fibres running along the length of the deck) to give us extra stiffness lengthways, and we're using the top diagonal layer to minimise torsional flex.
We're using the same Outer Maple Veneers as X-Flex to damp things down and give a controlled ride with minimal bounce. In 4x the Wood Core is 7ply thick - in X-Flex it's only 5ply.
All decks with Fibreglass laminates decks feature our Epoxy based "E-Glue" rather than an industry standard waterbased PVA or Latex mixture. This is pretty gnarly stuff:
- Stronger Bond. A better bond between the laminates gives better pop and resistance to warping and delamination. A waterproof bond helps with skating in all weathers, too.
- Strengthens the wood. The veneers are impregnated (soaked through) with epoxy before lamination in the press. This means that each wood veneer is effectively transformed into a "natural composite" - the wood grain acting in a similar manner to the fibres in a sheet of fibreglass. The result? Much improved impact resistance, a livelier feel and a longer flex life.
We're using E-Glue in all X-Flex and 4X construcions.