For a while now we’ve been thinking about making surfboards from wood. There’s a few sustainable material options available that are well known about for example: paulownia is a very popular choice. It’s relatively easy to work with, and you can find a lot of useful information, resources online and also help from experienced shapers using this wood. Another common option for shaping wooden surfboards is balsa wood which is also a very popular choice and relatively to work with for first timers and professionals alike. However, Paulownia tends to be lighter than balsa both pre-glassing and after-glassing as Balsa tends to soak up more resin than Paulownia making it heavier.
Wooden surfboards are constructed essentially piece by piece. Strips of wood are cut and then glued together. How you choose to cut the wood is up to you, but the whole process can be made easier by using a portable sawmill. As the whole process of making a board out of work can be in excess of 40hrs (definitely a labour of love), a portable sawmill can save a lot of time. Of course, if you’re on a budget a regular handsaw to cut the wood might have to suffice.
Now you’ve built the surfboard, you need to think about how you’re going to make it waterproof. There’s a few different options here. You can chose to laminate the board in the same way as foam boards are laminated. However, this goes against many peoples’ eco principles and them choosing wood in the first place. If you want to go as organic as possible, then you can choose oils such as linseed oil. Alternatively you can used polyurethane paints to seal it. You can also try using enamel paints, house paints etc. but make sure you give the board a double coat.
Have you tried making your own board from wood? How did it go, let us know in the comments.