A dear friend of mine has a 1971 VW Westfalia Camper Bus he restored and wanted to mount a surfboard on the roof. Ultimately he wanted to cut the board and use it as a panel mount, so we looked for a cheap surfboard with little success. The cheapest one we found was well over 100 bucks, and a) to never use it as a surfboard and b) cut it up at a later date; cost was not justified.

So, I made him one!

The goal was simple; find cheap materials and make a cost effective surfboard. It more than likely will never be used as an actual surfboard, but it very well can be. Well, more like a flotation device I suppose. After all, wood does float right?!

You will need the following:

-Five 2x4 planks (I would recommend more, but that is what I used)
-Wooden wedges
-Circular Saw
-Jig Saw
-Butcher Paper
-Duct Tape
-60, 120, 200, 400, 1000, and 1200 grit sand paper
-Wood Stain (I used gel stain)
-Outdoor Clear Wood/Deck Sealer
-Wood glue
-Wood filler
-Planer (Electric strongly recommended)
-Work Gloves
-Face Mask
-Eye Protection
-Work Bench or saw horse

I already had most of the items listed. I used the cheapest 2x4 I could find and I bought the small quart sized cans for the stains. The wood glue was the large gallon, and the wood filler was the larger of the three cans available at Home Depot. Total expense was between $40.00 -$50.00.

I used a lot of advice from this guy, Abe Toke
He has a neat video series I suggest watching before you start! The main difference is he (and most sources I found on the internet) use foam boards.

As a side note, I am going to include a couple of steps I learned from my mistakes throughout this instructable.

Step 1: Got Wood?

Apply glue to the 2 inch side liberally. Glue the 2x4's together and clamp tightly. Use the wooden wedges to give the board a slightly concave shape.
The way I did it, the center board had no wedge. The boards to the right and left of the center board each used one wedge. The outer right and left boards each used two wedges. I did this to both the top and bottom of the board. Sorry, I did not take pictures of the bottom side showing the wedges.

The reason behind that is a typical surfboard has a vertical and horizontal curve. Most DIY wooden boards are, well, flat boards. I wanted to make a surfboard, not a wooden plank! Haha. Although I understand flat boards are ideal for mushy/small surf.

Once the glue is set, use wood filler to fill any gaps!! This was my first mistake. I did this later, and it would have been easier and more aesthetically appealing to do it now than later on.

Use a planer to even and curve the board once the glue filler dries. The goal in this step is to simply make the surface continuous. The wedges will make the boards have (for lack of better words) steps. Smooth them out.
<p>You can make it. look for woodprix website! I think it's the best way to learn how to make it in the better way.</p>
not sure what surfers were telling you that would work man. The weight and small size of that board would never catch waves, unless you were in big enough waves to make up for the lack of speed, and then there isn't enough rocker to make up for the vertical pitch of the wave. Wooden surfboards aren't made solid. they are hollow...and long boards meant for small waves are over 8 feet. kudos on making an art piece though.
<p>yep! The board has been surfing the roof of the van and has yet to make it to water!</p><p>As you mentioned, your body weight will determine the size of the board you want to make!</p><p>Here is a site that has a nice chart:</p><p><a href="http://www.islesurfboards.com/surfboard-size-and-weight-chart.aspx" rel="nofollow">http://www.islesurfboards.com/surfboard-size-and-w...</a></p><p>As I shared in some of the comments below, if you are making a surfboard, I would recommend forking out some money and buying balsa wood. It is really light weight, durable, and seems to be the wood of choice for surfboards! Mine was intended for solar panels, so Home Depot wood satisfied my needs.</p><p>For the fin, I did find a couple of links that go into great detail on fin placement!</p><p><a href="http://www.tactics.com/info/guide-to-surfboard-fins" rel="nofollow">http://www.tactics.com/info/guide-to-surfboard-fin...</a></p><p><a href="http://www.surfscience.com/topics/surfboard-fins/placement/surfboard-fin-placement" rel="nofollow">http://www.surfscience.com/topics/surfboard-fins/p...</a></p><p>Here is a video that will show you how to place a fin</p><p><a href="http://www.ehow.com/video_4411389_mark-fin-placement-surfboard.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.ehow.com/video_4411389_mark-fin-placeme...</a></p><p>Thanks for the feedback!</p>
<p>Looks too nice to use for surfing!</p>
<p>Thank you very much!</p>
took a lot of time waiting for everything to dry but two things I did differently was I put pegs connecting the boards for more strength and I drilled holes all over the bottom and filled the holes with spray foam then put stainable plastic wood over it to make it more buoyant
<p>As I said above, absolutely gorgeous board. I apologize for the late response, I have been off this site for a while.</p>
I really appreciate you posting this instructable! you write very thorough and detailed!
<p>That is absolutely gorgeous! I am very glad you shared pictures! I like your improvements, have you taken yours out in water? </p><p>Thank you for the kind words, but above all thank you for making a board!</p>
<p>Do you have any pictures of it mounted on the bus? I've actually got a 1979 Westfalia, and I was thinking about mounting some solar panels on the top of a surfboard and then mounting that to the roof.</p>
<p>So we never mounted the panels. My friend said it was too nice and he didn't want to cut the board haha!<br>BUT here are some pictures anyways. </p>
<p>What kind of wood do you recommend?</p>
<p>Depends what you're doing. If you want to use it as an actual surf board, use balsa wood. It is very light weight and heavily used in surfboards.<br>If its just for decor, what ever you want! </p>
what kind of wood did you use and is it not nessey to To cut the chambers to lighten it up? thx
Is the board easy/hard to ride?
We have yet to put it in the water! And even worse, I have yet to put the fin on!!!
where is your fin?
I did not add a fin (yet). We wanted to wait so we can measure how high the board would sit on his bus. We needed to make sure the bus, board and fin cleared his garage door. <br>Once I add the fin I will update <br> <br>(That's also the last note on the last page) ;) <br>
dude thats cool
Thank you! It was fun making it
thats not my instructable -reeseecup
Haha, I was saying thanks for the comment, then just stated I enjoyed making the board. I see how it is misleading!<br>
oh i didnt know u r the author
I am looking forward incredibly to making this, but first a have a few questions.<br><br>Does this actually surf? i want to use the one I'm making as an actual surfboard.<br>Where do i put the fin at the back? Is there any video instructing me on the best place to put it? <br>Would I be better off to use dowels as well as wood glue or is there any need?<br><br>If you could get back to me as soon as possible that would be great! By the way this is an incredibly good project!
I have not taken it out surfing yet. Judging by the opinions by others who actually surf it can. <br>BUT if you are making a surfboard, I would recommend forking out some money and buying balsa wood. It is really light weight, durable, and seems to be the wood of choice for surfboards! <br><br>The fin, I have not placed it yet. And again, we are using it for decorative purposes. I did find a couple of links that go into great detail on fin placement!<br><br>http://www.tactics.com/info/guide-to-surfboard-fins<br><br>http://www.surfscience.com/topics/surfboard-fins/placement/surfboard-fin-placement<br><br>Here is a video that will show you how to place a fin<br>http://www.ehow.com/video_4411389_mark-fin-placement-surfboard.html<br><br>Dowels, I did not use. Most boards I saw did not use them, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt. Thing to keep in mind is balance. You wouldn't want 8 dowels on the left side and only 2 on the right. <br><br>Oh and your body weight will determine the size of the board you want to make!<br>Here is a site that has a nice chart:<br><br>http://www.islesurfboards.com/surfboard-size-and-weight-chart.aspx<br><br><br>Be sure to post an instructable!! I would love to see how you made it and how it did!! Good luck!!
Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly and with so much useful information! I'm planning to make it around Easter when i have time off from collage. I'll post the link on here and let you know how it works in the water! Love this instructable thanks for making it!<br>
No problem, we are all here to help each other out. Best of luck when you go on this endeavor. I look forward to seeing it!
Why is this entered in the FURNITURE Competirion???
Why wouldn't it be?!<br><br>Furniture [fur-ni-cher] n. :<br>1. The movable, generally functional, articles that equip a room, house, etc.<br>2. Fittings, apparatus, or necessary accessories for something.<br>3. Equipment for streets and other public areas, as lighting standards, signs, benches, or litter bins. <br><br>Considering it is an accessory to the bus and will provide a panel mount (and lighting) at a later date, in this case I think it is ok to say it is furniture ;) <br><br>Thank you for your input!!
i agree, i haven't made a surfboard, but i do have a SUP (stand up paddleboard) on my wall, in the off season its a piece of &quot;furniture&quot;. so a surfboard can also be furniture.
Thank you for the support! I am glad I am not crazy to consider a board a piece of furniture! <br>I have seen boards hanging up, they look very nice!
No matter what, the board itself looks very beautiful! It may be too beautiful to put in water! ;)
Thank you for the kind words!!!!
Very cool use of stains to make a design!
Thanks! Maybe next time I will use different types of boards to get different colors.
I've seen people do tribals with paints, never thought of doing it with stains. This would be cool as well on a hardwood floor.
I bet that would look nice! Again, make sure you use gel stains for designs. Oil based stains will seep under the taped off areas; gel stains will give you those sharp edges!<br>
Don't get too excited about it holding your weight in a pool. Usually surfboards will only support a person standing up if they are moving enough to produce lift.<br> For comparison, I ride a 9ft hollow wood longboard - it's the most buoyant board I or my mates have, but there's no way I could stand on it if it was stationary!<br> Nice project though - should look good on the van. Have a look here for inspiration for the next one!<br> <a href="http://www.grainsurf.com/forum/index.php" rel="nofollow">http://www.grainsurf.com/forum/index.php</a>
Great site! And thanks for the info. At least now I won't be too disappointed if the board doesn't hold me up!
From the weight, the volume is under one cubic foot. which would support about 60 pounds in water. However, a good wave might be surfed. Or, if you are in the desert, you could surf a dune!
I hear White Sands in New Mexico is the closest thing to snow in the desert. Good place to try!
Great instructible! I was the lucky recipient of this board, and I can honestly say it is gorgeous in person!!!! Thanks a million!!!!
Thanks mang! I am glad it did not turn out looking like dog dukie!<br>We still need to add the fin! And panel!!!!<br>
We can put the fin on, but there's no way in hell I'm letting you cut a hole in the middle of it!!
Very nice piece of craftmanship!
Thank you very much!
Thank you!

About This Instructable




More by joechacon98:Build your own Surfboard! Saxophone Alchemy 
Add instructable to: