Shuffleboard Refinishing Tips
Resurfacing of Shuffleboards*
The need to refinish a shuffleboard usually (but not always) results from the old finish worn down into the wood surface. Sometimes this is a result of long-long use but more often it could have been prevented by proper maintenance. (See our Board Care Tips) It is essential to protect the finished surface with base wax (Not Powder) of either paste or liquid variety. These days, the liquid waxes are the easiest to apply and are more than adequate if applied properly. Applying liquid wax is certainly a lot easier and cheaper then refinishing!
Boards that are cracked are a separate story. Normally it is not economically feasible to repair a cracked board. There are a few people who do it and were successful.
Most boards that need refinishing are because the old finish is worn off. It is difficult, if not impossible, to refinish a section of the board - normally the entire board needs to be redone.
Generally the board needs to be stripped down to the bare wood removing all the old finish. Ideally it should be sanded carefully or run through a plainer to remove old nicks, ect. After the board has been thoroughly and completely cleaned- the lines and printing must be reapplied using a material that is compatible (chemically) with the final finish material. If it is not, the final finish will lift off and peel wherever the printing or lines are.
Most of the older boards are American's Penn's Rockola's, West Virginia Wood, ect. which were built in the 40s and 50s - some later - but most all used a clear lacquer finish. This technology came from the 40s and still works. There have been a lot of advances in the finish technology since ten. (If you don't think so - think about the paint finish on automobiles - in the 50s you had to wax them often or they oxidized where today with clear coat you hardly have to wash them). But even with the new clear coats we don't slide up and down the car roof or hood with our shoes on (Similar to shuffleboard pucks or weights sliding up and down the playing surface) - that is why we have to base wax them.
It doesn't seem to make much difference what type of refinish is applied - the care problem will always exist (base waxing the board often is the key). So the type becomes your choice. The cost for a professional refinisher's about the same for all types of refinish - $800 - $900. Other factors will enter into it - where your location is; are there other boards in your area to be done at the same time? Negotiating with the refinisher will help - the biggest help is if another board needs to be done at the same time in your area.
Lacquer finishes are still available but is probably the softest finish and the easiest to wear off. There are many new types - polyurethane, acrylic, and other synthetic finishes. Most new boards today use the modern finishes.
Other's have tried to refinish the table themselves and have done an outstanding job! They have sent us their pictures and details described below.
ZieglerWorld has copies of Old American Shuffleboard Scoreboard Schematics and Blueprint instructions. Click here for details.
Refinishing Tips from Ron Kaintz
Ron Kaintz is one of the most experienced shuffleboard refinishers in the world having refinished over 1,000 boards in his career. Here are some of his tips:
- Ron uses a 18 inch round floor sander to sand the board.
- Ron uses a solid metal level to make sure the board is perfectly flat - using the level to measure both length wise and width wise. If you can fit a sheet of paper under the level, it doesn't pass Ron's inspection.
- Ron recreates the lines and numbers on the board with a carpenter's pencil -- the lines get darker as the new finish is applied.
- Ron seals the board with a sealer - twice - waiting hours between coats. He finishes the table with a polyurethane and buffs a paste or liquid wax 24 hours after finishing.