Initial setup

Part 1

Building the strongback

The building platform to build a boat/kayak/SUP/surfboard is called a strongback. In our case the strong back is a simple sheet of MDF/OSB/Plywood cat to width of 50cm and the length of 170cm  (If you are working in a tight space, using the full length of the sheet, will enable to the extra space  to be use as work table). Attached to a two 5cm x 10cm (2'x4') wooden boards (wooden board should be plane straight).

Put the construction on two work horses or an old table and you are done.


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Marking the fishbone placement on the strongback

Correctly marking the the placement of the ribs and the spine of the surfboard is essential for a strong, symmetric and precise build.


Hold a straight edge to the middle of the strongback using clamps (planed straight wooden board can be used) 


Place the fishbone spine with the legs touching the straight edge. temporary attach the spine to the strongback using staples or nails.


Trace mark the spine legs placement on the strongback (mark the full length of the legs from both sides).


Trace mark the spine slots


Remove the spine and place wood blocks along the straight edge where the legs marks are at the center of each wood block.

Attach the block using screws.

Note: The wood block length should be 7 cm and the height between 3 to 4 cm.


Using a 90 degree right angle ruler mark the spine slots along the strongback.


When marking the other side of the strongback place the ruler on the same side of the wood blocks.


We previously marked the fishbone legs placement, but the spine should be attached to the other side of the wood block (the location of the straight edge), To mark the legs placement on the other side, simply align the fishbone spine slots with the strongback marked slots lines.


Mark the spine legs location on either strongback or the wood blocks.


We are now ready to connect the fishbone to the strongback

Connecting the fishbone to the strongback

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  • environmental SUP


  • SUP building classes


  • סאפ מעץ


Attach the fishbone spine to the wooden blocks align with the legs marks on the strong back.

Use a nails or staples


Fit the ribs and spine according to slots order.

Rib 1 is at the tail and rib 8 at the nose.

the ribs frames should be set as follow: 

rib 1 facing the nose.

ribs 2,3,4 facing the tail.

ribs 5,6,7 facing the nose.

rib 8 facing the tail.

Do not attach or glue the ribs at this stage.


Attach 8 wooden boards align with the slot marks using screws. The ribs legs should be between the slots lines.

The wooden board width should be 4-5cm, length of minimum 50cm and height of 3-4cm


Note: Do not attach the ribs to those wooden boards.


Remove the ribs, apply carpenters glue on the ribs slots and reattach them to the spine.

Look at the fishbone spine and make sure it’s straight by moving relevant ribs and holding them in place using spring clamps.


Once the spine is straight you can attach the ribs to the wooden boards using nails or staples.


Mix a batch of epoxy and add microfiber filler.

Apply the epoxy with syringe on each intersection of the fishbone ribs and spine.


Flatten the putty using a plastic spoon


Glue the top spine frames using clamps or mask-tape.

It will increase the surface for better gluing of the top deck.