Fingerboarding is a fun hobby especially when you sit at a computer, are recovering from an injury, used to skateboard in a past life, enjoy miniature hobbies and/or a combination of all the above. But just like every hobby, it cost money.
Professional fingerboards can cost upwards of $100 and even more. Whereas a Tech Deck goes for about $4. Yes, there are some major differences between a professional fingerboard and a Tech Deck fingerboard (mainly a professional fingerboard is wood and a Tech Deck fingerboard is made of plastic), but today we are going to go over how to turn your Tech Deck into a budget friendly proper fingerboard.
For this you will really only need to buy two things: a Tech Deck and professional fingerboard wheels (and grip tape if your pro fingerboard wheels did not come with a sheet).
Tech Deck Fingerboards
Buying a Tech Deck is probably the most fun part of the process. The hunt for something specific always has me intrigued, and Tech Decks come in series and have a certain rarities. Plus Tech Deck has the licensing rights to many skateboard brands. I rode Alien Workshop and Toy Machine skateboards as a kid so I have a soft spot for those. Hit up your local toy store or mega store, chances are they will have quite the selection of Tech Decks to choose from. Any Tech Deck fingerboard will do, but there are reasons to buy one or two series over another.
Most Tech Decks come through as 29mm wide, a common size for most current professional fingerboards is 32mm wide. Tech Deck recently released some Tech Deck series 6 and series 7 that come with 32mm wide fingerboard decks and fingerboard trucks. The 32mm wide fingerboard trucks makes Tech Deck series 6 and 7 quite sought after. The 32mm Tech Deck and fingerboard trucks is an incredible deal; especially when professional fingerboard trucks can run $60 and more.
Give your Tech Deck a try as is for a bit when you get home. You may notice the grip tape is rough on your fingers and the wheels do not move very well. It kind of just feels like a toy, but with a few changes your Tech Deck will feel like a real professional fingerboard.
Professional Fingerboard Wheels
The next step in making your Tech Deck into a proper fingerboard is getting professional fingerboard wheels. You can get these off of Amazon for $4 and up. I went with the Soldierbar professional fingerboard wheels. Soldierbar fingerboard wheels ship from overseas so it takes a bit longer to receive, but I liked that they have graphics on the side of the wheels.
Fingerboard Grip tape
Tech Deck fingerboards come with a sheet of grip tape that reminds me of skateboard grip tape. The nostalgia of this is cool, but this is a fingerboard and I want my fingers comfortable. Luckily if you purchased the Soldierbar professional fingerboard wheels it also came with a sheet of foam fingerboard grip tape. Foam fingerboard grip tape is soft and tacky so it makes it easier to handle, do tricks with your fingerboard and feels nice.
Tech Deck to Fingerboard Process
Got your supplies? Awesome. Let’s get started on turning your Tech Deck into a professional fingerboard.
Step 1: Strip Tech Deck
Strip your Tech Deck down. Remove the 32mm fingerboard trucks and peel off the real feeling grip tape. After you peel of the grip tape you may want to wipe down your Tech Deck fingerboard to remove any grip tape residue. Oh, do not throw away your Tech Deck grip tape, we are going to use that in an upcoming step.
Step 2: Apply Foam Fingerboard Grip Tape
Before you apply your foam fingerboard grip tape, line it up on the Tech Deck so you can get a vision of what you are doing. This is especially important when you cut your foam fingerboard grip tape because you have to cut grip tape. Well you don’t but that’s what the cool kids do.
If you are cutting your grip tape, measure twice, cut once. Remove the adhesive and apply the foam fingerboard grip tape to your Tech Deck. Push all the way around so you can easily see the shape of your Tech Deck.
Step 3: Shape the Foam Fingerboard Grip Tape
Using the discarded Tech Deck grip tape use it to scrape the edges of the foam fingerboard grip tape where it overlaps the Tech Deck. This step can be a little messy and time consuming to clean. Alright foam grip tape is applied and now your Tech Deck is ‘sticky’ like a professional fingerboard.
Step 4: Reapply 32mm Fingerboard Trucks
What I like to do is poke a screw through the bottom of the board where the 32mm fingerboard trucks go. This way I can see a slight imprint on the foam fingerboard tape where I need to push the hardware through.
If you really wanted to you can actually skip taking off the 32mm fingerboard trucks, but then you wouldn’t get the hardware grip tape sink look. Your call, I prefer the look.
Step 5: Install Professional Fingerboard Wheels
Tech Deck wheels are terrible, they are just little things of plastic that barely move. You will quickly notice a quality difference between professional fingerboard wheels with bearings versus the Tech Deck wheels.
Tech Deck to Professional Fingerboard Conclussion
At the end of the day my total investment for my hacked professional Tech Deck fingerboard setup cost me under $20. For an extra few bucks and shipping you can step your Tech Deck fingerboard game up even more by getting professional fingerboard tuning like Teak tuning. Now that your Tech Deck is more like a professional fingerboard (for a fraction of the cost), it’s time to shred.