Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wooden board testing day

Wooden Surfboard Test in Biarritz

"This years first test event takes place this Saturday, 31st of May at “La Côte des Basques” in Biarritz.

You have the chance to test most of our wooden board models from 9.00 to 14.00 hours at the mythical surf beach of Biarritz.

Hope to see you there." These guys make great balsa boards , so this is a great opportunity to try them out.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wooden Surfboard Day 2014 - Sunday August 3rd.

This years Wooden Surfboard Day will be held on Sunday 3rd of August in the park at Currumbin Alley as usual. On the Saturday night before we will get together for a few beers and a BBQ at the Surf World Surf Museum. The gathering is a great way to conect with other board builders and like minded people  prior to the day in the park and enjoy the wonderful display of boards and surfing history at the museum.
I have organised a guest speaker for the night, Sergi Galano from Flama Surfboards in Spain.
Sergi Galanó was born by the Mediterranean Sea in Barcelona (Spain) in 1974, and he has been involved in surfing for more than 20 years. 

In 2002 Sergi quit his job as a graphic designer and moved to a lost valley in the Spanish Pyrenees, where he opened the Tacita hostel. Living in a low budget style brought him to discover a new passion: woodwork. There he rehabilitates a house, builds a kitchen, bunk beds or whatever is needed. He even builds start to finish a two storey wooden house. Also, together with some friends founded the association AVF, to fight against a proposed Ski Resort to be built in their valley, and he ended being elected councilor at the local council for four years.

Creativity has been a constant through his life: music, graphic and industrial design, woodworks of any kind, or anything as long as there is a creative challenge invlolved.

In 2009 Sergi built his first wooden surfboard with agave wood, and after meeting Tom Wegener during his European tour and discovering the possibilities of paulownia wood for building surfboards, he decided to fully devote himself to his next project: building a 100% organic surfboard.

After dedicating a full year to experimenting and mixing different hollow-box building techniques, Flama was finally presented to the surfing world in the Salinas Longboard Festival in Spain, 2011.

Although they sell finished surfboards, Flama focuses on building wooden custom blanks for shapers or anyone eager to shape his own board. They want to introduce a slight variation in the surfboard manufacturing process: instead of making a custom board out of a standard foam blank, now the shapers can also offer hollow wooden surfboards made from custom blanks. Flama blanks come with its final outline and foil, and are shaped with the same tools and techniques, with the only difference being that after the shaping process the board does not need to be fiberglassed.

Today Flama is sharing its facilities with Montjuich Surfboards –one of Spain’s most respected longboard shapers, speciallised in surfboard replicas from the 1960 to 1972 period– which allows the possibily to work closely with him and offer some of his models made with wood.

Flama’s latest projects include some tow boards for the Spanish charger Axi Muniain, as well as a few big wave guns, some of wich have been made with chambered construction techniques. The results have been mesmerizing, and demonstrate once again that the possibilities of paulownia wood seem endless.

 Sergi will be talking about his expeience in setting up his business and his method of building wooden boards. I am sure you will have plenty of questions for him and experiences to share.I look forward to meeting you and our day in the park with your boards and stories. This is a great way to learn about what others are doing and how theyt are going about building wooden boards. If you have built a wooden board you will now know there is no easy way to build one.So no matter what the experience or outcome, bring your board and proudly share the journey.We have been there to.

 "Remember we Wooden Board Builders and Surfers are a splinter group"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Custom wooden SUP for the UK

 The 8ft x 28" SUP is close to being packed up and air freighted off to Haris in London. It has been a big project.
 5ft 6" x 22" and 5ft 6" x 19" unglassed Hydro simmons show the family resemblance
 Haris wanted to try the keel fin setup as well
 Rasta Quads in place
 I will apply clear traction on the deck before sending off.
 Nice proportions for a big board, I am very pleased with the outcome. 4mm deck skin and 3mm bottom over VH EPS with 4oz glass all over as it will need to stand up to a few knocks from the paddle from time to time.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fine Italian wood

“Natural Goods” is a documentary celebrating the ocean, wood and nature.

This short documentary is part of the series Ritratti di surf that Onde Nostre has produced to show the reality of surfers, shapers, artists and other personalities related to Italian surf culture. It tells the story of Luca Bressan, designer born by the Dolomites, with the dream of riding the Ocean waves. It’s a ‘cultural clash’ between forest and saltiness. Wood, in fact, has always been part of his cultural heritage, his horizon has always been obscured by trees and mountains, the scent of the forest is part of its natural imprinting: this is how the salt has met the balsa.

His idea of building surfboards, living in the mountains, it might sound crazy, mostly because he has seen waves (ocean waves I mean) more times in pictures than in reality. But when Luca found out that madness was possible, the world became a different place.
Solo Surfboards is the project that came out of it: wooden surfboards, the design that supports nature. It's a new surfboard project, between design and art craft.
Luca was able to give shape to his passion customizing bikes, then building snowboards. The transition to surf shaping was natural for him. His background as a product designer is what makes his boards unique. In all fields innovators are those who can see things in a different point of view, trying to do things that no one has ever done before.
The portrait of Luca has been realized thanks to the support of SUN68. The clothing brand has always stood out for its support to projects with original, innovative and above all reflect the values of freedom and simplicity of which the brand is, from its inception, a spokesman.

Nice to see someone having a diffent approach to building chambered boards

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time to experiment

I get lots of people emailing and asking questions about building wooden boards and that is great. There are many ways of building wooden boards and there are no right and wrong ways of doing it.Seeking advice is great but in the end you need to get down to it and just do it.I find that on forums there are more negative comments than helpful comments to help people out.And some I would say come from people who have done very little experimenting and it is all theory and hearsay.You are also likely to come across people who know everything, which is interesting. Sorry, just my experience.

One question I get asked alot about my use of lanolin on Paulownia and how it works.

I have built many boards with Paulownia and a lanolin finish. Paulownia grows very fast and straight so has a very long grain and if it gets a hit it will absorb the impact very well. If it dents you can use a stream iron and it will swell out again . I have done it many times. The Linseed oils and nut oils people use are vegetable oils and are slippery and if you wash the board in fresh water then a grey mould can grow in the soft grain of the wood. Lanolin is an animal product and is not slippery and will not grow mould. It has a natural wax in it that makes it waterproof. If you soak plenty of it into the timber it will seal and nourish the wood. Yes it is raw wood and like any furniture and it will need to be treated right and looked after.You are not making a white foam surfboard as a piece of disposable sports equipment.If you are are building a hollow framed board you will need to be sure to have good glue joints as the oil will not fill bad glue joints. Also the skins will need to be thick enough and strong enough to do the job.You may want to be safe the first time and seal the under side of the skins with a coat of epoxy.
I have found that when using polyurethane glue and vauum bagging skins onto EPS that as the glue foams and goes off it is forced in between the beads of the ESP. This depending on the grade of EPS can be up to 30mm deep. This in turn toughens the EPS and seals the structure under the wood.All positive things.I know this from cutting up boards to rout fin boxes in and cutting shapes into the tails and adding nose blocks.

With all these things you need to experiment and find a method you are happy with and a result you are happy with. It takes time and you may have failures but that is how you learn. That is the exciting part. You will learn a lot. If you change one component you can change the outcome. Human nature being what it is you will more than likely overbuild your first attempt. We have all done that.You can think about it as much as you like , but at some stage you hacve to give it a go.

Let me know how you go.

Bring your board, your theories, sucesses and failures along to the Wooden Board Day on Sunday the 3rd of August and talk to other people that have had a go and have some idea about what it takes to build a wooden board.That is a big part of what the day is about.So get in the garge and get cracking on a project.

If you have a question , email me, ask me ,i am happy to share my experiences , I don't know it all , but I maybe able to help or put you onto some one who can. I know what works for me and I am happy to share that with anyone.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Unique wooden boards

Darren MacDonald build some very different surfboards " One of a kind surfboards at play with the nature of the wood from which they emerge. Dugout - hand shaped and chambered hollow. Carved from cedar salvaged on BC's West coast."
 Here are some of his unique boards.

 Dugout canted foil · low rocker · single concave · chined step rails · swallow tail · FCS twin fin

Adze carved and burnt deck raises grain for grip · slight dugout canted foil · step rails at round tail · belly to concave to vee · 8″ single fin box

Check out more at :

Monday, May 5, 2014

JB from France shares his two latest projects

 These are a couple of boards from JB who lives in Pays Basque ( South West of France)

" I just wanted to share the 2 wooden boards I made. Both are made from Paulownia.
The first one, is a 5.5 feet hollow alaia. I sealed it with epoxy because I was not really sure of the joints between the panels."

This Alaia is built along the lines of Roy Stuarts method with the lattice frame construction.

"The second one is a 6 feet unglassed; it is a kind of Takayama scorpion.

Thank you for your blog Grant. Seeing so many nice boards made me want to build my own hollow wooden surfboard."


 This building process and method is along the lines of what Tom Wegener does.
Nice looking board JB , thanks for sharing your projects.