Snowboards are made of a number of different materials constructed layer by layer like a sandwich. Each layer is held in place using a special resin system which is a special kind of glue. Though different manufacturers construct snowboards differently, nearly all of them consist of a top sheet, core, outer edges and a "P-Tex" base.
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The top layer of a snowboard can be made of a number of materials, but typically the top layer contains a layer of fibreglass covered in a matt or glossy finish. Glossy top sheets come with sublimated graphics, while a matt finish typically has graphics screened on. The top sheet protects the snowboard from damage and ultraviolet rays.
The core of the snowboard is the bulk of the snowboard, and is what keeps the whole board strong and flexible. The core can be made of one of many different materials--including wood foam, a mixture of wood and other composite materials, or honeycomb panels. Wood foam is durable but can lose its flex while normal wood is strong with plenty of flex. Despite what many people think, honeycomb panels are actually quite strong and durable. Inside the core is also metal inserts in order to properly support the bindings. Below the layer of wood is another layer of plastic-enforced fibreglass for added support and stiffness. This layer adds additional strength and durability so the board can bend without splitting the inner fibres.
Following the fibreglass, steel edges are attached either to the nose and tail of the board, or all the way around in some cases. This allows the board to dig in to the snow while turning. In a capped snowboard construction, the top sheet is pinched over the edges of the snowboard meeting at the steel edge.
The base is made up of a material known as "P-Tex," a high-molecular-weight polyurethane material used to make the bottom of the board slick. There are a number of ways to construct the base of the board. Extruded bases are the most common as they are the most economical, but they are also the slowest. Sintered bases are faster as they hold wax better but they are more difficult to repair. Many high-end snowboards use graphite because it holds wax well, is extremely fast, and has a cool black finish. Graphite bases are also quite expensive, one of the many reasons they are typically only found on high-end, racing snowboards.
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