A Skateboard ledge is most simply a corner to slide on. Anything from a curb, planter, hubba or a box. They are easier to skate than a rail because there is only one edge to balance on. Plus you can't fall over the other side if you miss landing on the edge.
This will boost your confidence a lot and allow you to try riskier tricks with less chance of getting hurt.
That means you will probably be better at ledge skating than rail skating.
The ones you find in the street vary from concrete to metal or stone. They can be pretty much anything that you can ollie to and slide on.
Other built ledges can be:
A straight flat ledge is all you need. If you get bored then try learning a different trick. There are hundreds of them.
That is when the ledge is higher on one end than the other. It is fun to grind up and off or down with speed. Keep the angle subtle to increase difficulty going up and and an easy slide going down. Neither should be done at the expense of being able to do a good amount of tricks.
Keep the angle lower than 10° and you should be good to go.
A hubba ledge is a shape modeled after the famous San Francisco Spot Hubba Hideout. It is a down ledge that starts at the top of stairs and ends at a lower level than the starting.
Some subtle curves can be fun and add a new dimension to your tricks. Keep the total angle pretty low. If you make it too tight then the ledge will not be skateable. Keep it mellow and it will work out a lot better.
Kinks or changes in vertical angle if you use them need to be really subtle. Make a change in angle no greater than 30 and even closer to 15°. Anything higher than that is really not that skateable. Also be sure to put at least 36" or a board length between multiple kinks.
They should be made from 9"-18" high. Anything lower and your ollie is stunted and you can’t really do proper tricks. Anything higher just makes it harder to skate. Unless you want to be sponsored or pro don't bother with this.
I prefer around 12"-15" in height. That lets me decide the difficulty by trying thought tricks and trick combinations.
I can build confidence locking into the tricks I like and then take that confidence to the streets where the height and size could be anything.
Increasing difficulty be adding height isn't for me. I like learning more and more tricks on a lower ledge. The increased difficulty of tricks is what motivates me.
A good grind and slide should be at least a few feet long. I would say 3' is a good length to aim for. If you add speed then you might want to crank that up to 5' or more feet.
This is because you don't usually land right on the beginning of the ledge. You will need to make it long enough to land on and have a decent slide. Make the rail at least 6' long or you might be disappointed with the length. I have learned this from experience.
If you can make the skateboard ledge 8' long, that will give you plenty of room to get your shred on.
Make the top of the skateboard ledge deep enough that you get confidence skating it. 3' or more is good. At that width you can also do manual trick on it too.
A good width is 3' or over. This gives you a lot of deck to land on without the feeling that you will fall over the over side. That gives you confidence and allows you to push your tricks farther. An added bonus is that the ledge will be wide enought to be used as a manual pad. Just another plus.
The edge that you land on makes a big difference in how the skateboard ledge feels. There are a few different options and each gives you a feel all its own.
There are a few different ways to make a metal edge for skateboarding
The cheapest way to make a grind edge is using an angle iron. Using a steel angle on the corner of your ledge is one of the simplest ways to make the edge. There are some disadvantages though.
The square edge is quite sharp. This can cause injury if you fall on it. The sharp edge can also wear your truck and your deck down prematurely by digging a groove into them during the trick. Depending on the size it is also difficult to fasten the angle in a way that lasts long term.
The grind on a sharp corner feels a little rough. It makes a good edge for cheap projects and the short term but isn't recommended.
The slight fillet or rounding on the edge of most structural steel feels really good to grind.
The radius can vary but the feeling is usually the same. a smooth grind and holds wax well. Attaching the tubes will take a few steps, steps that are well worth the effort.
Having the edge flush with the top and sides of the rest of the ledge.
Raising the edge for a reveal or leaving it flush is up to you.The theory to giving it a bump is that you can lock in better for a grind and have better pop from a slide. I am not convinced either way is better.
This is my new favourite a thick plate with a rounded top edge is put along the side of the ledge. Concrete is poured and finished smooth along the top. This looks like granite, grinds like ice, is the easiest to form up and build, and will be very durable.
The thickness and shape of the plate make it great to lock into. The thick profile of the metal makes it very durable and I expect it will last longer than the other options.
The feel of grinding concrete inspires!
Thrash, Shred, Grind!
The stones in the concrete mix give a great rough feel and sound when grinding. For the feeling of raw power it cannot be matched.
Concrete is so often seen and skated in the streets. It works awesome with the right amount of wax or existing paint. The edge will wear down into a rounded profile that can be great to skate.
In the streets a spot will get skated less frequently than in a skatepark. So they last a lot longer. The wear on concrete ledges in a skatepark is high and they often don't last long and need replacement.
To some street skaters stone ledges are the holy grail of skateboarding.
Just think about the downtown of any city. The high-rises have awesome plazas filled with stone ledges. Stone also gives a good feel when grinding. It grinds smoother than concrete but not as icy as metal. When it grinds nice it grinds really nice.
Most skaters call stone ledges marble. This is not quite right. Marble is too soft to stand up to skateboarding. Most stone ledges are made of granite which is much harder. Another hard stone is basalt.
Stone ledges are pricey but you need to use one continuous piece of stone for each grind. A joint will bump you off your grind and wear out much faster.
The added cost and shorter lifespan of a stone skateboard ledge doesn't pan out in my mind. If you are making a personal place to skate where the traffic won't be high then it might be worth thinking about. Otherwise, stick with metal.
Look forward to a downloadable ebook with diagrams, dimensioned plans, cut lists and cost estimates on skateboard rails and other skateboard ramps. It will be coming eventually as skateboardhere gets bigger and better.