How to Re-Mount Old Skate Plates to New Skates
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Let me guess. You have the first pair of roller skates you ever bought, and the boot wore out, or maybe just wasn't right for you, and now you want to take those plates off and make yourself a pair of skates from your favorite shoes?
Great! Let's get started!
It just so happens I made a video of this whole process, starting from Riedell R3, taking the plate off, and putting it on some generic Van-like shoes. I highly recommend that you watch this video, even if at 2x the speed to get an idea of how to do this. But, as usual, I probably forgot to list, or maybe mumbled while describing, some of the details so I'll also write some here.
What Do You Need to Make Roller Skates from Regular Shoes?
- Aluminum Insole (Can be bought online, or made from an aluminum sheet)
OR Aluminum sheet, 2mm thick(only if making aluminum insole yourself)
- Roller Skate Plates
- Mounting hardware (Can be for roller skates, skateboards, or from a hardware store)--details on that here
- Sharpie or paint pen
- Masking tape
Optional but very helpful
- Drill and standard drill bits
- Jigsaw, gloves, mask, tool lube, sanding block or sponge (only if making aluminum insole, not necessary if buying insole from shop)
- Screwdriver, same head as mounting hardware
- Wrench, same size as mounting nuts
- 1 nail
- Hammer or other heavy hitting object
- Countersink drill bit
- Back nut spanner
- Right angle screwdriver or ratchet
Optional but very helpful
How to Make an Aluminum Insole for Park Roller Skates
- Remove your insole from the shoe, and trace on aluminum sheet
- Using a jigsaw and a blade meant for cutting aluminum, cut slightly inside the lines you just drew, so that your alumunium insole will be slightly smaller than the actual insole. If the aluminum insole is the same size or larger, it will be difficult to fit inside the shoe and may cut into the lining.
- Make sure to use proper safety, such as wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask, to shield yourself from aluminum dust
- Try to hold aluminum as stable as possible to minimize shaking
- Sand your aluminum insoles with a sanding block or sponge, to remove sharp edges
- Be sure to clean up aluminum dust; it is highly flammable
How to Mount Roller Skate Plates to Shoes
Mounting roller skate plates to shoes is fairly similar to mounting plates to regular roller skate shoes, but there are a few Vans-specific annoyances to avoid. Starting from 10:16 I discuss plate placement, which is generally the same whether you're mounting on shoes or flat boots. BUT starting from 10:45 I do give Vans-specific tips about how to deal with the waffle sole, and how to drill into the aluminum insole, without getting your holes in the wrong place. I highly recommend you watch.
In a nutshell, with a Vans build, or any sneaker build, you've got 2 problems:
- A waffle sole that won't let you drill where you want
- A need to get the holes in the aluminum insole in the right place
The waffle sole problem can be solved by using a soldering iron to burn a hole in the rubber, where you want to drill. But I will typically solve both problems at once by temporarily attaching the insole to the outside of the shoe sole, and drilling through that. In the video you'll see me lightly taping the insole to the bottom of the shoe, and drilling into that.
- Attach your insole to the outside of the shoe, on the bottom of the sole. I recommend a little bit of masking tape.
- Put masking tape over the areas where you think you will want to drill. This is so you can remove it if you change your mind about plate placement, so you won't get confused over multiple marks.
- Using a Sharpie or paint pen, mark on the masking tape where you would like to drill.
- When you are sure the marks are correct, make small indentations in the insole with a nail and a hammer, or other heavy hitting object. This is just so your drill bit will stay in place when you start to drill.
- Start with a small drill bit and work your way wider, until you use a bit that is the width of the mounting hardware you will use. Before drilling, decide how deep into the shoe your drill should go before it will go too far, and put tape on the drill bit so you will not go farther than that point.
- Repeat with all holes on both shoes.
- When all holes are drilled, use a countersink on the aluminum insole so the mounting hardware won't stick out so prominently.
- Put insole inside shoe, plates on bottom, and insert hardware. This is where the back nut spanner and right angle screwdriver or ratchet come in handy. I like to use the spanner to hold the bolts in place from the bottom, while I use a drill to screw in from the top of the shoe. The right angle screwdriver/ratchet are helpful to hold the hardware in place from inside the shoe, at the toes.
- If your hardware is too long, you may need to trim it down with a saw or the bolt breakoff tool that is made by Sure Grip. On the other hand the bolt breakoff tool is basically just a metal straw, and you can do the same thing with a nut spanner. If you break the bolt, be sure to sand or hammer any sharp edges.
That's it. Have fun, and please tag me on Insta (@rollerskaterevival) if this helped you personalize your skates!