How to Seal Your Wood Surfboard

We’re seeing a new attention being paid to wood these days and while it’s an incredible long-lasting and durable material, it also requires a little bit of TLC. This brief How To comes to us from New York, where the Museum of Modern Art recently hosted a building workshop at Rockaway Beach. Our friend Matthew McGregor-Mento made this instruction sheet for the event and he passed it along to us to share with you. Whether you’re making the piece yourself, or buying it from a master craftsperson, here are some things you should keep in mind as far as sealant goes. 


Wood needs to be protected otherwise it will split and crack. Here are a few good ways to seal your board.

Step 1: Water based polyurethane: paint it on and let it dry.

Leaves a durable clear finish on the board like its coated in plastic. 1-2 coats should be enough.

Step 2: Linseed oil: a natural way to finish the board that brings out the colors in the wood.  

Requires many coats for a durable finish. At least 2-3 coats with a day to dry between each, more is better. Re-oil the board anytime it starts to look dry. Be very careful when working with raw linseed oil since it is highly flammable and can spontaneous combust if the brushes or rags are not disposed of properly.  

Step 3: Paint: any kind of paint will help protect the board; house paint, spray paint, or enamel.

Paint two coats to make sure you’ve got a good seal. If water soaks under the paint it will bubble and peel.

Paipo poster created by Jon Bocksel, Paipo outlines courtesy Matthew McGregor-Mento.

If you’re interested in more about the event, check here.

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