Complete Guide to Making a Coffee Table from a Surfboard

Bringing the beach into your living room can be done in an abundance of ways, but making your own surfboard coffee table is a pretty unique way. Building a surfboard coffee table is fairly similar to adding legs to a regular coffee table. However, surfboards can be slightly more difficult to add table legs to depending on their shape and size.

When making a surfboard coffee table, there are many factors you need to keep in mind. This complete guide will walk you through everything you need to know about making a coffee table from a surfboard.

Pick Out a Surfboard

This first step is vital. The surfboard you pick will become your decorative table, so make sure you pick one that will fit your space nicely based on its shape, size, and design. If you are redesigning your house or just want a change, a surfboard coffee table can add a lot of personality to your space.

You could use a board that has sentimental meaning to you or a family member, purchase a brand new one, or find a recycled/used board where you live. It may be emotionally difficult to drill holes into a brand-new, beautiful surfboard or an old surfboard that you have formed an emotional attachment to. Instead, I suggest using a surfboard that you no longer have use for. This is a great way to repurpose the board instead of throwing it away. Also, it will save you the hassle of having to find a new or used surfboard.

There are many different types of boards to choose from, and the one you select will affect how easy the coffee table building process will be. For example, with a flat surfboard, you can basically place the supporting pieces of wood anywhere on the bottom of the board.

With a curved surfboard, you would need to put the coffee table legs on the bottom center of the surfboard and make sure that they are all on the flattest part. Another indicator of the difficulty level of this project is the material that the surfboard is made out of.

Fiberglass surfboards require you to take more caution when drilling into them, and it’s crucial that you avoid making them crack. If this is your first time making a surfboard coffee table, avoid using fiberglass surfboards, unless you are looking for a challenge. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

There are plenty of surfboard options to fit your decorative needs. If you want this table to be a staple item in your home, you could purchase a shiny, curved board that has bright colors. On the other hand, you could also go a more subtle route and pick up a wooden, flat surfboard. It all depends on what your purpose for the coffee table is; functionality or aesthetic.

Different Surfboard Shapes

Longboard shapeThe most classic looking boards, usually 8′ to 12′, rounded nose with a tip of the point, wide and thick
Shortboard shapeAlmost always under 7′, sharper point noses that rocker up, tapered tail section
Fish board shapeShorter and flatter than the shortboard, under 7′, V notch in the back, round nose
Egg surfboard shape Between 6′ to 8.5′. round and oval shape nose like an egg, tapered tail with a blunt little bit at the end
Hybrid board shapeCombine characteristics of other surfboards, range of options
Funboard shapeA small size version of the longboard and is between 6′ to 8′
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Make Adjustments to Your Surfboard

Depending on which surfboard you decided to use for your coffee table, make any adjustments you need before building. If you don’t wish to make any adjustments to the way it looks, just give it a good wash with a wet rag. You can also remove a lot of extra lingering wax or dirt by rubbing the board with acetone. You want to make sure it is clean so that it doesn’t bring any unwanted dirt or wax into your home. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Painting Your Surfboard

If you decide to paint the surfboard, start by rubbing it down with water and acetone. Then, using very fine-grit sandpaper, sand down the entire board. Don’t sand it too much to where you damage the fiberglass, but enough so that the paint will stick better.

It’s recommended that you use a 280-320 grit sandpaper, or an electric sander if one is available. It’s also very common to sand down your board if it is wooden. Once this is done, you can draw your outlines and paint. Painting your board allows you to personalize the coffee table and have it match the aesthetic and colors in your space. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Gather Needed Supplies

Based on your surfboard, the supplies you need can vary. If you already have table legs that you want to use, be sure to get accompanying hardware for the specific legs. For example, you will need to get a mounting plate for the coffee table legs and wall anchors for the screws.

List of Needed Supplies

  • Surfboard
  • Four wood table legs (screw-onOpens in a new tab. style) 12″ to 18″ long
  • Pen
  • Drill
  • Wall Anchors
  • Screwdriver
  • Painters tape (if using fiberglass surfboard)
  • Measuring tape
  • Mounting Plates

The table legs should be screw-on legs, meaning that either they come with mounting plates already, or you can find mounting plates to fit them. This way once the mount is screwed on, you just need to twist on the legs. It is all about working smarter, not harder.

Measure the Board and Add Markings

First, flip your surfboard over upside down so you can easily work with the bottom of it.

Take your measuring tape out and determine where you want to position your coffee table’s legs. If your board is flat, you can add the legs towards the ends of the board. If the surfboard is curved, you will want to put the legs closer to the center, where it’s flattest.

Where you want the coffee table legs to be is up to your personal preference, but it has to be at the flattest parts of the board and consistently planted away from each other. If you aren’t careful, the legs could be crooked, allowing the coffee table to move around. This gets annoying very fast.

Measure and mark where to place each of the four legs. Make sure that they are evenly centered on the board. They must be also evenly spaced between each other because if they aren’t, your coffee table will be wobbly. Typically, the coffee table legs on a surfboard coffee table are 18″ apart, depending on the size of the surfboard.

While measuring, use your pen to mark down where the drill holes will go and where you want the legs. Place your mounting plates where they need to be and draw circles on the board where the already-existing screw holes are on the mount. Also, make circles on the board where the screws that will attach to the legs are. Making accurate markings helps the process go by a lot faster and smoother.

Drill Pilot Holes and Add Wall Anchors

Take your screwdriver and drill pilot holes into these marked areas. When drilling pilot holesOpens in a new tab., use a drill bit that matches the inner diameter of the threaded part, which is essentially a little smaller than the actual threads. Align the drill perpendicular to the board, starting slowly, and then squeeze the trigger harder to accelerate. These holes are for the wall markers. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Use Painter’s Tape When Drilling on Fiberglass Board

If your table will be made from a fiberglass surfboard, use painter’s tape when drilling pilot holes. Be careful when you are screwing the screws and anchors into the surfboard. If you are using a wooden board, there isn’t as much of a concern for it cracking. If you are using a fiberglass surfboard, it is very easy to cack the fiberglass and resin that makes up a majority of the surfboard. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Using painter’s tape is optional when using a majority of surfboard types to make s coffee table. However, if you are using a fiberglass board to make a coffee table, using painter’s tape is not optional. Tear off some strips of painter’s tape and place it over where you will drill the pilot holes. Re-mark where the holes will go on top of the tape so it is easy to see where you want to put the holes.

Put the drill bit attached to your drill on top of the painter’s tape. Drill the pilot hole slowly through the resin-coated fiberglass, and keep this slow pace consistent so you don’t crack the board. After you are done drilling, you can remove the painter’s tape.

You are then going to push a wall anchor into each of the pilot holes. Adding these anchors will make the legs of your surfboard coffee table more stable. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Position Table Mounts

One by one, set the mounting plate for a table leg on a set of drilled holes. Make sure they are placed directly over the holes to avoid inaccuracy when drilling. At this point, you are almost done and you may want to rush through the process, but make sure to stay patient as you work your way through the process.

Drill Screws Into Table Mounts and Legs

Drill the screws into the mounting plates’ screw holes and into the anchors. You should tighten these with a screwdriver. It’s important to double-check that all of the screws, anchors, and mounts are adjusted firmly and are steady. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Now you can just take each of the legs, and twist them onto the mount. Typically, screw-on-style legs have a hole at the center of the mount that fits the screw on top of the leg piece. Using one of these will make the building process easier, and there are very affordable options for this style.

Use Painter’s Tape if Drilling from the Top

If you wanted to drill the legs in from the top of the surfboard and not use mounting plates, be sure you use painter’s tape on a fiberglass board. If it happens to be easier for you to not use mounting plates, or you want to screw in the legs from the top of the board, lay painter’s tape over the area and drill down slowly. For the holes on top of the new table, you can pour resin to fill them, which will give the surfboard a more finished look.

This step helps protect the board from cracking or getting damaged. Taking the time to complete this extra step will help your new coffee table last for a long time and ensure it looks good.

Using a mounting plate with screw-on-style legs is easier, but it can still be done by drilling through the top. The way you decide to screw on your table legs, or don’t screw them, is based on what type of coffee table legs you have.

Flip the Surfboard Over and Make Sure it’s Even

Now that everything is screwed in and set in place, flip over the surfboard coffee table and determine if it lays evenly on the ground and is sturdy. If the table is wobbly or doesn’t balance on each leg smoothly, flip it back over and make any final adjustments you may need. You want the table to be as stable as possible so you can place items on top without them moving around or falling off.

Decorate to Your Liking

Your surfboard coffee table is now ready to go where it belongs in your home. Based on what surfboard you used and where it is, you can experiment with finding the right decor to add on top if you’d like. The best part about this table is that it already is a piece of decoration, so you don’t need to add decorations to it to make it look beautiful and unique.

Not everybody has a surfboard coffee table, so guests will be very impressed with your hard work. Even if you don’t live by the beach, a surfboard coffee table can help you pretend that you do as you make it through the winter. So, whether you need a new purpose for your old surfboard or want to add a vibrant and fun decoration to your home, a surfboard coffee table is a great project for you!

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