How to Build Your First Surfboard
by Stephen Pirsch

Stands and Blocks
Hot coat
Art Work
Gloss Coat
Leash Plug
Material Lists
Resin Amounts
Equipment List
Sm Wave Design
Helpful Links

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Make a plain, clear board.  Why make a hard job harder?    One of the main things that will make a first board look unprofessional is sloppy art work.  Keep it simple.  Be really different.  Leave it plain.

If doing artwork, do it after sanding the hot coat.  This way it can be fixed it if a mistake occurs.  If art work is under or in the cloth it can not be fixed.

Acrylic water based paints work well.  This paint is inexpensive, cleans up easily with water until dry, and can be easily sanded off when dry.  Make double sure acrylic is dry (not just on the surface).  Hobby Lobby and Michaels has acrylic paint in any color.  Avoid any kind of ink pens, including acrylic (I have not found one pen that will not either run, bleed or, lift).  Latex house paint works well with epoxy but will run with polyester. Pigmented polyester, pigmented epoxy, and enamel house paint work also, but are harder to correct.  To make sure the paint/resin is totally dry put it on a test  piece at the same time the art on the board was inked.  Test by rubbing or brushing repeatedly with catalysed resin (try to brush as few strokes as possible on the final piece). Many  paints will run when exposed to resins. Some inks lift  (rise to the surface of the resin as it sets).

Another way to do art work that gives good results is to print rice paper ( ) on a computer printer.  This paper will become clear when saturated with resin.  Make at least two copies and test one with catalysed resin.  Do not put it under the cloth.  It may be necessary to cut the paper to fit the printer or go to Kinko's etc. ( Kinko's have printers for oversize sheets).  The rice paper may need to be taped to another piece of regular paper to make it feed properly.

Apply the paper to the desired area of the sanded hot coat, using a squeegee and a small amount of resin.  Work the air bubbles out to the edges with the squeegee.  Wipe off the excess resin and let it harden before putting on the gloss coat.  If the gloss coat is applied directly over the paper the edges will probably lift after you walk away.

Art work, airbrushing, and spray painting tend to reduce the bond between the cloth and the blank, or between different resin layers. Putting pigment in the resin weakens the resin.  A plain, clear board is strong, simple, and cheap.

Make a plain clear board..


2003 by Stephen Pirsch, All Rights Reserved.

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