Wood is the forefather of skateboards. We know how the sport started with wood and improved throughout the years with the help of technology. Since then, skateboarding has become more popular and competitive.
Maple is the most popular skateboard material today, followed by birch, but birch vs maple skateboard, which wood is more durable? Can a maple deck surpass birch in performance? Is birch a more economic choice than maple?
This article will unveil the properties that made maple and birch the top skateboard materials for years. We will also see which is better between the two overall.
Table of Contents
Birch and Maple Skateboards
We know that a slight difference in the type of skateboard decks can yield significant changes. Let’s begin with how skaters see birch and maple wood as raw materials for their skateboards.
One of the factors that gave birchwood a substantial skateboarder market is its price point. Birch skateboards are some of today’s cheap wooden skateboards offering reasonable quality. And Powell Peralta skateboard decks are excellent examples of these.
Birch skateboard makers stack 9-12 plies of this wood to keep the deck durable. This material is also slightly more flexible than bamboo, known for its exceptional pliability.
See now this comparison between Maple Vs Bamboo Skateboard here!
Maple wood has several properties making it a top choice among many skateboarders. Why?
First, maple, more particularly Canadian maple, is the most durable wood brands use in creating their skateboards. And for a skater into technical skating, having this material can guarantee long-lasting usage.
Second, maple wood is perfectly flexible and lightweight. Are these characteristics possible all at once? Yes! That is another reason manufacturers, like Point Distribution Skateboard, use maple. It also doesn’t break too easily when processed.
Difference Between Birch and Maple Skateboards
Both types of skateboard wood have a reputation of being sturdy. But this time, let’s get birch and maple head-to-head.
1. Deck composition
Making skateboards isn’t just cutting a skateboard-like piece from a tree’s trunk. Cut pieces of wood undergo a refined process to become skateboarding-grade.
Now, what are the deck compositions of birch and maple skateboards?
For birch skateboards, manufacturers prepare four 3-part plies. Each ply group is about 1/8″ in overall size, divided into two 1/32″ Face layers sandwiching one 1/16″ Crossband layer. All in all, a birch skateboard can have 12 layers of birchwood.
On the other hand, maple skateboards often have seven layers following this sequence.
These layers combine for a total thickness of 7/16″.
Of course, we can’t neglect this aspect, especially since we’re spending money to get the best affordable skateboard. Maple VS birch plywood, which is more durable? Maple is the answer.
The 12 veneers in a birchwood skateboard do not come without a purpose. Birch is a less durable material and more susceptible to wearing and splintering. And that is why manufacturers that use this material add a few more layers to make the skateboard reasonably sturdy, even if not as durable as a maple board.
Meanwhile, maple boards are the strongest skateboard decks a skateboarder can have. Thriving well in a cold climate, this type of wood has become a staple for skateboards because of its innate impact and abrasion resistance. And with these properties, maple skateboards become poppier.
Is birch or maple harder to bend?
Perhaps, at least half of the skateboarding population loves flexible skateboards because they’re responsive. If maple is more durable than birch, the latter has better flexibility. How?
Baltic birch plywood is neither flimsy nor the strongest of all woods, but it’s soft enough to be flexible. Essentially, this wood for skateboards is an ideal substitute for bamboo if flex is a significant consideration.
The skateboard’s weight is also significant to the overall riding comfort. And between birch versus maple skateboards, which is lighter? It’s birch.
Maple skateboards tend to be heavier by almost a negligible amount, and there is no concrete reason yet. While many skaters claim that the maple deck’s weight is due to the material’s overall strength, the idea still needs proving.
Nevertheless, a minor difference between a maple and birchwood’s weight could overshadow the former’s sturdiness.
Many people believe that maple decks are significantly more expensive than birchwood. This is because of maple’s exceptional strength and long-lasting usage. But let’s examine a few products to give you an idea of birch and maple board prices.
- WiiSHAM Skateboards for Beginners – $39.99
- CCS Skateboard Complete – $68.95
- Magneto SUV Skateboard – $99.99
- Powell Peralta Steve Caballero Dragon – $64.95
- Powell Peralta Skull & Sword Complete Skateboard – $81.00
- Powell Peralta Mini Cab Dragon Assembly – $99.95
6. Pros and cons
Birch and maple skateboards are excellent in certain aspects. We summarized their advantages and drawbacks in this table.
- The strongest wood for skateboards
- Withstands tricks and landings
- Long-lasting and has exceptional pop
- Slightly expensive
- Less flexible
- More flexible and better for turning
- More birchwood boards are more affordable
- More prone to splintering
- Less strength than maple
Frequently Asked Questions
What is better, birch or maple?
We laid down the durability, flexibility, weight, and other factors to emphasize how birch turns out better than maple and vice versa.
If you want an industry-standard type of wood with exceptional pop and higher longevity than other skateboard decks, maple is the way to go. Contrarily, if you are on a budget but want a reasonably quality skateboard, birchwood decks could be your best choice.
What is the best wood for a skateboard?
Maple has been the most highly-regarded wood type in skateboarding for decades already. It has a significant market presence, and studies and research have shown how its properties fit well for the sport.
It may not have the flexibility other woods have, but maple’s durability makes it the best material to handle trick landings, impact, abrasion, and splintering for a reasonable time. Hence, it’s the best and most economical choice for almost any skating style.
Every sport has gone through a series of changes for its improvement. These transformations happen with both the skills and equipment used. And one of the sports that benefited from these changes is skateboarding.
Birch VS maple skateboard has now taken over along with other skateboard deck materials. And undoubtedly, the competition among these pieces of wood just got tighter.
Hence, let us always check the deck’s composition, durability, flexibility, price, weight, and other relevant factors. This way, we make the most of our money and visualize the performance we want.
Furthermore, please take a look at these articles for choosing the best skateboard size for yourselt:
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.