How To Build A Wood Surfboard

Need to know how to build a wood surfboard? The first question is not really how to build your wood surfboard, but why you want to build one at all. Surfers now use smaller, faster, more maneuverable boards made from the latest synthetic materials. The motivation to build a wood surfboard originates from their eco-friendly wood base, as opposed to the foams, carbides and chemical treatments newer boards use. They are also more durable and serve as functional artistic masterpieces.

To build a wood surfboard, you will need:

  • Wood material (kit or balsa planks)
  • Industrial strength wood adhesive
  • Glassing supplies (resin, epoxy, a resin squeegee, foam brushes)
  • 10 to 20 wood clamps (spring and bar clamps to 24 inches)
  • Shaping tools and supplies (an electric or hand planer, a machine sander, a sandblock, coarse and fine sandpaper, a hand or jigsaw)
  • A protective filter mask
  • Latex rubber gloves
  • A large drop cloth for the work area
  1. Assemble the wood for the board. Machine edge the balsa planks. Choose planks by grain or appearance. Next, evenly glue both edges of the planks. The number of planks used should be based on the deck width. Use bar clamps to hold until dry. It is helpful to glue one plank at a time; allow each to dry and then glue the next plank. Doing this gives you more adjustment control.
  2. It is now time to shape the board. Since this part of building a wood surfboard is so personalized, it is important that you take your time and seek or take advice from an experienced shaper, or follow a pattern. Cut boards from the plank and shape with the tools. You should use a filter mask for the remaining steps. For the rough shape of the wood surfboard, use an electric planer and hand planer to begin shaping the rocker. Finish shaping and forming the rails by using a machine sander and hand sanding to smooth the board out.
  3. Attach the fin (or fins). You can pre-purchase the fins or you can make them from hard wood. Use a drill or wood chisel to form the fin box, then attach the fin with the wood adhesive.
  4. Inspect the board. You should sand or smooth blemishes and rough spots.
  5. It's time for glassing the board. Apply sheets and resin and evenly squeegee the resin over the entire board. While doing this you should wear latex gloves. Beware that air bubbles will occur if there are uneven areas of distribution on the board surface. Allow to dry.
  6. Using a foam brush, apply the epoxy finish coat and let dry. You should use approximately one to three coats of the epoxy finish. As you can see, it is not too difficult at all to build a wood surfboard.  Although building wooden surfboards may not be that popular, these types of boards sure do stand out and make a statement! Now you can finally admire your completed wood surfboard!
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