Introduction: Reclaimed Timber Hollow Wood Surfboard - 9'2

Picture of Reclaimed Timber Hollow Wood Surfboard - 9'2

Welcome to my second Instructable! This one is about using as much reclaimed timber as I could to build a big fish, a nice chunky mellow cruiser for those gentle low swell days. The sizes are 9'2" x 23" x 3".

There are a lot of pictures here to try to show the build process. Please feel free to ask any questions using the comments feature and if you like the project then please vote in the Woodworking Contest. All the timber used is reclaimed or junky offcuts.

If there is enough interest in the project then I can draw up the plans and share a PDF with you, so don't be afraid to ask!

UPDATE = finally got the plans drawn up:

(ignore the first rib at the tail end labelled x=12.5cm - this is just for fish tail position)

UPDATE 2 = following quite a few SUP related questions I have added a new SUP template! 9'2 length, nose is 19", tail is 20 7/16 and thickness 4". Centre width is close to 28" so I reckon plenty of volume for fresh water too.

You will need to figure out the butt crack but the existing butt crack template should be pretty close - its got a bit wider in the tail so expand it a bit = if it looks right then it will be!

Step 1: Go Hunt Out Your Timber!

Picture of Go Hunt Out Your Timber!

My stepson was working on a building job renovating a 1920's beach house on the Northumberland coast and I managed to score some old roof timbers. Knot free, tight grained and dry, and over 3m in length so plenty of material for a big hollow wood board. It would be rude not to use this perfect excuse for the next reclamation project! The nail holes and metal staining will look awesome once the board is finished, and are proof of the reclaimed nature of the materials used.

I also had some 3x2 Scots pine construction timber left over from building a bathroom at home that looked pretty good too. Long lengths and knot free are really handy for hollow wood board building. All you need to do is to rip the timber up into strips about 5 or 6mm thick, and butt join the planks together using an exterior waterproof glue like Titebond 3. Masking tape works well to hold the planks together as the glue dries, and if you have access to sash cramps and some heavy weights these help to keep the boards flat. I was thinking diagonal decks too for this build. I'm lucky that I have access to a big tablesaw for this, although any timber supplier would be happy to do this for you for a small fee. Its more important you have a flat workbench or floor area for the plank glue up.

Step 2: Stick the Frame Plans to Your Plywood and Cut Out.

Picture of Stick the Frame Plans to Your Plywood and Cut Out.

I used 6mm Russian birch plywood for the fishbone frame. A friend gave me the plans so it was just a case of gluing them to the plywood and using a bandsaw to cut out the spar and the ribs. The design used an inner nose and tail block. I also drilled out any excess in order to save a little weight and to let air be able to circulate inside the board. I added a notch in the spar for a threaded brass insert (Anchor Inserts do a useful sample service if you are cheeky enough to ask..) which will become the vent. I held this in place with a couple of plywood strips and more Titebond 3.

Step 3: Cut Your Bottom Deck to Shape and Glue the Frame.

Picture of Cut Your Bottom Deck to Shape and Glue the Frame.

I already had a clamping jig from an earlier project. Set up the bottom section to match the spar rocker, mark out for the frame position, then apply glue. I used gorilla glue here. Then position the frame and clamp in place. You can see the nose and tail blocks here too. I used some recycled science benches for the nose (teak) and ply for the tail. I had enough teak to add a strip around the fishtail too.

Step 4: Add the Chine Strip.

Picture of Add the Chine Strip.

You can see that the notches in the ends of each rib enable a chine strip to be easily fitted - the first rail strip will glue onto this so the chine strip determines the outline profile of the board. I also cut notches in the nose and tail blocks to locate the chine strip into. Again, Gorilla Glue is good to use here as it foams up and fills any gaps. Its also really easy to clean any excess away with a chisel. Dr Schenk PU glue works just as well and can sometimes be found on ebay for a lot less than Gorilla Glue if money is tight. The PU glue cures quick on a warm day too.

Step 5: Build Up the Rails.

Picture of Build Up the Rails.

I used some more slices of the old roof timber here - the first rail strip is bevelled so that the next one can hook over it. It runs the full length of the board and is tapered at each end. Gorilla glue works well for these strips. Let each strip cure overnight, and then the board can be taken out of the clamping frame for a quick tidy up. You can see where I trimmed back the rail strips at the nose and tail ready for fitting the deck planks. Can you see how awesome the diagonal bottom deck looks? I will need to make the top diagonal but the other way to eliminate the board wanting to twist. You can also see how the vent works too. I also added some blocks for where the keel fins will be fitted later on.

Step 6: Deck the Top.

Picture of Deck the Top.

I use planks glued up in twos and threes for the decks. Some people like to glue up the whole top, then feather the rails to fit the deck on top in one piece. I prefer to butt the deck planks to the edge of the rail strips as I think it gives a much cleaner look. It also means you can easily position a hole on one of the planks directly over the vent hole. The diagonal planks gave me some interesting gaps to fill, so I used some more reclaimed teak and luckily scored a mahogany hand rail too, so this was ripped up and glued in. Once the glue had cured I gave her a quick sand. Looking good!

Step 7: Tidy Up and Sand to Final Shape.

Picture of Tidy Up and Sand to Final Shape.

A quick tidy up of the old girls butt crack and a little time with a belt sander and she is looking really tidy. time to think about the fins. I also drilled a hole for a leash plug and glued this in with a paste of epoxy resin and sawdust.

Step 8: Fin Box Install. Disaster Strikes!

Picture of Fin Box Install. Disaster Strikes!

I wanted to use Lokbox keels on the fish but didn't want to buy the router jig. I decided to make my own. I used a CNC router to cut out the fin box jig, which I did in two parts so I could then router out the oval shape then the T shaped channel for the finbox. then it was a case of using the jig to cut out the recesses for the finboxes and glue them in using epoxy resin and sawdust.

I had a disaster here - the jig slipped and I ended up making the oval misshaped. After all the hours spent building, the board nearly became firewood. Time to walk away from the project for the night and think of a strategy.

Step 9: Fin Box Fix and Glassing.

Picture of Fin Box Fix and Glassing.

The internet can be a wonderful place - one of the builders on the Tree To Sea forum suggested a pinline to hide the miss cut. I used a CNC vinyl cutter to make up a couple of stickers to cover up the edge of the fin boxes. Disaster averted!

I used a single layer of 4oz fibreglass and Resin Research epoxy resin. I filled up the fin slots, leash plug and vent with some plasticene first. Then, using some tissue paper and a laser printer I printed out my logos. For this I had to glue the tissue onto some carrier paper for it to feed through the printer, then ran it through twice to get good depth of toner onto the tissue. I laid the glass over the board and trimmed it to size - you need a couple of inches hanging over the rails, and also some relief cuts to help the glass conform to the butt crack and nose profile. Then add an apron of 50mm masking tape around the board to prevent any drips staining the top. It also gives you a guide where to trim the fibreglass after it has gelled (but before fully set). I mixed up the resin and squeegeed the logos in place first, then laid the glass over and squeegeed that in place. Once the surface has become "toffee-like" in other words nearly solid, get a craft knife and trim away the excess fibreglass. Repeat for the top, making sure the fibreglass overlaps along the rails. Gloss the board with a fill coat of more resin and leave to cure

Step 10: Final Sand.

Picture of Final Sand.

I prefer a sanded finish on a wooden board - super glossy can make a wood board look like plastic. Sand all over using #120 grit right the way up to #1500. Open out the leash plug, vent and finboxes using a dremel and we are done!

Step 11: Hit the Beach!

Picture of Hit the Beach!

Wax up and away you go!

Now.. Who's for 3D Printed keel fins?


mike_skinner (author)2016-04-28

Let me work on a wider, thicker version..

TimA47 (author)2016-04-12

Would this work as a SUP??

mike_skinner (author)2016-04-02


LisaF71 (author)2016-04-02

I made this one as an art peice for a show. Nice looking board also. Just fits in my loungeroom ☺☺i made it out of paulownia i did a pyrography mermaid on it and sealed it with oil. So definitely not a surfer. Thanks for the plans!

mike_skinner (author)2015-10-12

The magic carpet is better, this one can be a bit corky when the sea gets up a bit

diyusername (author)mike_skinner2015-10-13

ok thank you

diyusername (author)2015-10-11

is this a good all-rounder board?if not what is

mike_skinner (author)2015-10-02

Thanks! Build one! Feel free to email any questions, there are a few underway,

Dirruk (author)2015-09-29

This is about as awesome as things get. I want a board like that!

mike_skinner (author)2015-09-26

That's ace! Would you email me those pictures? If you have any of the build then add an instructable! I like the scorched effect too. Nice!

bpoulton (author)mike_skinner2015-09-28

Mike you are my hero I will send you anything you want I know I seen your email some where. if you don't get them soon please post your email

bpoulton made it! (author)2015-09-24

I rounded the tip and tail!

mike_skinner (author)2015-08-10

Thanks for the positive vibes - I'll think about adding some more instructs led with more plan sets - anyone fancy a noserider?

bpoulton (author)mike_skinner2015-09-24

that would be great!

buxtoncraft (author)2015-06-22

I can't wait to try and make one of these! The building process looks pretty complicated but the end results are soooo cool! Keep uploading tutorials dude! You rock!

mike_skinner (author)2015-02-03

Thanks! Build one - they are as good as free :0)

andrea biffi (author)2015-02-01


andrea biffi (author)2015-02-01


knoone.hear (author)2015-01-24

Straight up Awesome. Love this project, you sir are a legend!

mike_skinner (author)knoone.hear2015-01-24

Thanks! Fingers crossed for the woodwork contest - on the finalist list!

knoone.hear (author)mike_skinner2015-01-24

Have sent you an email from kno-one, check your junk box just in case!

Madman146 (author)2014-12-10

Could you please put up the frame plans?

mike_skinner (author)Madman1462014-12-22

Sure = link updated today = enjoy building one, and remember to share some pictures!

Madman146 (author)mike_skinner2015-01-06

sure thing i shall make it when council clean up is on

mike_skinner (author)2014-12-24

Not that one - a friend copied it from a foam short board. You could try Boardcad and design you own? It's free!

carlbobby (author)2014-12-23

did you also design and build the smaller surfboard in the background of one of your last photos of the board on the beach? if so do you have the plans for that as well?

mike_skinner (author)2014-12-22

Plans now live - I've allowed 5mm thickness for the frame and 6mm thickness for the decks. Ignore the first tail rib - the notch shows the position of the butt crack. Mike

mike_skinner (author)2014-12-10

Sure thing - once I get them drawn up I will add a link . If you shoot me an email then I will send you the link direct. Really pleased you all like it so much to want to build your own! Mike

Gutoboranga (author)2014-11-24

Awesome, dude! Congrats, great job!

ardnon (author)2014-11-20

incredible build, love it.

Madman146 (author)2014-11-19

great job, it is lovely board

mike_skinner (author)Madman1462014-11-20

thankyou! it was a pleasure to build = try one :o)

MattTheMaker (author)2014-11-16

I use a lot of reclaimed materials but never found any board that were high enough quality to make a surfboard out of. Great job! A "Nice chunky mellow cruiser" is what I like to use here on the Great Lakes since the water is less buoyant.

Thanks for the comment - it's all luck and using just enough for strength. Knots are a problem though, you could always glass under the decks to reinforce :0)

I made a board out of glass and foam. It turned out alright but no where near as beautiful as your wooden board.

Petergottm (author)2014-11-18

Absolutely beautiful! Please share you're plans!!!

lostatsea3698 (author)2014-11-18

hey brother! this is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS... As a board shaper myself for YEARS in the famous pipe-like coast of Cocoa Beach, FL; I surely understand the necessity of a beautifully constructed longboard that can cruise on the smallest of caps... I've shaped my fair share of fiberglass-using monsters. With that, your work on this hollow bodied wooden board is stunning! Not only is a self built and shaped wooden longboard the ULTIMATE NEED of all surfers with ocean water for blood (wood being FAR superior to fiberglass for such a boat of a board & just somehow connects one to the origins of surf culture itself) but you designed, instructed, illustrated, and (most importantly/impressively) executed construction of a higher quality than most known prestigious shapers and companies! This instructable is worth ANY amount of time & labor one puts in EASILY... as anyone who has even a clue as to what a half decent 9'2 board squeezes out of the wallet! truly so impressed with your craftsmanship and obvious love of the tide! would love to see your outline/sketch up or anything (PDF?... haha) used to help in your work of natural art here, if not too much trouble...

Thanks for the positive vibe!! That's what a board like this is all about.
Shoot me an email for when I get the plans sorted:
Same goes for anyone else - Mike

Steeler (author)2014-11-18

Very,very nice

xrobevansx (author)2014-11-17

What's the weight on this?

mike_skinner (author)xrobevansx2014-11-17

Probably around 20lb - you don't feel it in the water though

Jobar007 (author)2014-11-17

The bottom grain on your board is throwing me for a loop. I kept thinking that your fin boxes were out of alignment. Looks great!

mike_skinner (author)2014-11-17

Thanks for the comments - just remember please ask for plans if you would be interested in making one if these :0)

AndreasH2 (author)2014-11-17

PDF would be great!

Please share your plans :-)

bricobart (author)2014-11-17

Second time you're amazing me - I didn't realize how hughe it was till I saw the last pics. Surfin' awesome!

warehouse32 (author)2014-11-16

this is awesome-tastic! even though i'm also in the wood contest, this is still getting my vote!

mike_skinner (author)warehouse322014-11-17

Thanks for the vote!

BikeHacker (author)2014-11-16

I would love to dry that! Awesome!

mike_skinner (author)BikeHacker2014-11-16

Thanks - watch this space, if there are plenty of plan requests then I'll sort out a PDF :0)

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-11-16

Wow it looks gorgeous! It seems like it would be nice and light weight as well!

About This Instructable




More by mike_skinner:Reclaimed timber Hollow Wood Surfboard - 9'2Hollow Wooden Surfboard - my Magic Carpet
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