How To Remove Old Wax From Your Surfboard Before Painting and Other Great Tips
Let’s face it, anybody can go down to the surf shop and pick up a new board, but it will just be a plain board, no character or personality. If you want your board to stand out, you’re either going to have to paint it yourself or pay someone else to do it for you.
It’s not that hard to do, and you can take your time and do all the decorating that you want. Surfboards aren’t that big and you can be as meticulous as you need to be. Then, if you’ve done a good job, everyone will soon recognize your board, whether it’s parked on top of your car, or in the sand at the local beach bar.
Here are some tips to go by to clean the board before painting, the paint to use, and what’s popular in designs,
You’ll Need To Thoroughly Clean The Wax From The Surfboard
If you don’t clean your surfboard extremely well the paint you apply won’t stick, either not at all, or just for a short period of time. So here is how to remove the layers of old wax from your surfboard before you paint it.
Having built-up old wax on your surfboard isn’t good anyway, it starts to make your board heavier and it loses its tackiness. When your board is no longer tacky, you’re likely to have a slippery wipeout.
The only real way to prevent that and excess build up is always remove old wax each time then reapply new. For painting purposes, it’s even more important be remove every last bit of wax.
It’s always best to perform surfboard wax removal on a warm sunny day because the heat of the sun makes the wax softer and easier to work with. If the sun isn’t shining or you’re working at night, get a good hair dryer or paint remover gun to heat up the board before you start.
You’ll need what is called a wax comb or wax remover tool that will scrape layers off the board as you heat it up. Continue until you’re down to the original paint, the older wax is usually darker in color. For repainting purposes you’ll have to be more meticulous than for re-waxing.
Get some citrus based wax remover to get the final wax off the board. This is a product that’s made from orange peels, but it’s strong so use gloves to save your skin. You leave it on for a few minutes to work and then scrub it off.
Follow the directions on the container. You can use a pot-scrubber pad to help cut the wax and make the process faster.
Once you’re down to the original paint and can see no more wax, take some wet/dry 300 grit sandpaper and completely sand the board to make sure that every last bit of wax is gone. Wipe the board down with paint thinner applied to a rag after sanding and inspect the board carefully. Sand more, and wipe down again as needed.
Now You’re Ready To Design Or Repaint
First off, don’t use any enamel based paints because they have a tendency to turn yellow and crack. This can happen fairly rapidly due to the sun, salt and reaction to the wax in the beach environment.
On the other hand, acrylic paints do hold their colors very well and adhere to a sanded surface with long-term durability. Acrylics come in lots of bright colors, are fairly inexpensive, tend to be flexible, and resist the salt and sun.
Special paint pens are the rage right now and offer a different look because of their ability to do fine details. Many people do illustrations and drawings similar to cartoons or other intricate designs.
These pens are available at art stores and many surf shops, they come in hundreds of colors with different sized tips for different effects.
There are also design templates at the art store that will help you copy some very high-quality artwork and make it look like your own. Templates are also available online which can be printed on the computer as well.
Once You’ve Finished Your Base Coat Or Illustration, Then Clear Coat It
The final stage of doing any good paint job on a surfboard will almost always include adding a clear coat to protect it. Your paint pens do very nice work but the paint isn’t applied very thick and can wear off quickly. If you put on several layers of clear coat on top, you’ll get a nicer finish and protect your artwork underneath.
Clear coats can also be purchased with metallic accents or pearl accents which will add a different translucent look to your board. After a glitter or other special coat, then you’ll want to add several more coats of plain clear paint on top.
Many thin layers is better than just a few thick layers, so keep that in mind. A thin layer will dry quickly and you can apply another in just a few minutes. A heavy thick layer may have too much thinner in it and melt previous layers causing and ugly mess.
Be extra sure that your clear coat is compatible with your previous coats of paint, you might even want to test it on another place before applying to your board.
Painting your surfboard for a custom look is a popular thing to do now, more than ever. It all starts with removing the old wax from the surfboard before painting to get long-lasting beautiful results.