How to make a skateboard rail

November 25, 2020 | Skateboarding
Skateboard rail: learn how to make a cheap grinding and sliding element for your backyard | Photo: Shutterstock

It is one of the most popular street elements used in skateboarding. Learn how to build a skate grind rail to improve your ollies, slide tricks, and transitions.

One of the great things about skateboarding is that you can design your own miniature skatepark by building a series of core elements, obstacles, and features.

With a half-pipe, a funbox, a pyramid, a bank ramp, and a skateboard rail, you can pretty much perform the most complex skate tricks in your backyard.

Railings are everywhere, and they allow skateboarders to slide and grind in public spaces and practice a broad range of maneuvers.

But what if you could have a stable and transportable structure installed anywhere and outside of skateparks?

Making a simple yet rideable grind rail is not rocket science.

Ideally, you'd want to build a structure that is simultaneously solid, sturdy, long in length, and portable.

For next-level performance, it must also slide and grind perfectly and stay in place all the time.

There are several DIY grind rail models available online.

You can choose between making a custom-made street grind rail or a similar version to the one that is often found at skateparks.

The trick is to find a pipe - or flat bar - that grinds well and a solid structure that supports all the weight that will be applied.

Skateboard rail: the materials to build your own skate grind rail won't cost you more than $50 | Photo: Red Bull

Tools and Materials

Grinding rails are not difficult to make, and you won't need to spend a lot of money to make a solid structure.

All the materials you need to build a good skate rail can be found at your local hardware store for between $25 and $50.

Then, with the help of a couple of friends - or even all by yourself - it won't take more than 60 minutes to do it.

The structure can be made of wood and steel, steel and PVC, or combining all three materials.

For instance, you can build your own model using durable, zinc-coated steel, adding height options that don't require tools to be adjusted, and creating something that is maintenance-free.

Once the structure is built, you can add a flat and square rail - or a pipe/tube - on top of it.

Here's everything you need to make your cheap, signature skate grinding rail with no welding:

One 6'5'' Pine base plank (6 inches wide, 1.5 inches thick)
One 6'5'' Pine middle plank (6 inches wide, 1.5 inches thick)
One 6'5'' Pine top plank (6 inches wide, 1.2 inches thick)
Two 6'5'' Plywood planks (0.5 inches thick)
One 6'5'' Steel tube, pipe, or flat bar
Screws
Drill
Pencil

Grind rails: they can be made of steel, wood or PVC | Photo: Creative Commons

Building Instructions

Now that you've gathered all the materials, follow the step-by-step tutorial on how to build the ultimate custom-made skateboard rail:

1. Measure and mark the length of your rail in the pine and plywood planks and pipe or flat bar - for example, 6'5'';

2. Cut the wood and steel pieces to the desired length;

3. Drill five holes evenly spaced apart and screw the middle and the top pine planks together and perpendicularly (T shape);

4. Screw the T-shaped structure and the pine base plank together;

5. Measure the diagonal face of the structure from the ground up to the top;

6. Mark out that measurement on the two plywood boards;

7. Cut the plywood boards;

8. Screw the plywood boards against each side of the rail structure;

9. Apply silicone on the area where the pipe or flat bar will sit;

10 Drill four evenly spaced holes larger than the head of your screws on the pipe or flat bar;

11. Use a smaller drill to drill the bottom part of the tube or flat bar;

12. Screw the grind rail down;

In the end, you'll want to have a long-lasting grinding surface that provides endless trick options and makes it easy to perform them.

The wider and heavier the base structure, the more stable the skateboard grinding rail will be. You can even add a few non-slip foam pads to prevent it from moving.

Remember that the grinding area should fit the trucks of your skateboard.

If you opt for a rounded rail, choose a zinc alloy tube for maximum impact strength and corrosion resistance.

The goal is to build a structure that is strong enough to take punishment from both hardcore skaters and heavy riders.

Make sure all screws won't block the progression of the skateboard along the rail. A little bit of wax can also help improve its performance levels.