Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Inspired Deck Patterns

Check out this inspired deck design by Huck from alternativesurfboards.blogspot. Hats off to you sir, I love the fact that he has worked outside of the common linear timber strips pattern. Keep up the amazing work!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Here is a link to a sweet how to video by the guys at and William Sagar showing you how to make patterns in the gloss coat of your boards. This would be an interesting thing to try on a wooden board.
have a look... and check out William Sagars blog at


Have you tried anything like this? Send through picture of the results.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fold your own board bag

Manual Caro of Mandala Custom Shapes is constantly making beautiful surf boards and while I was browsing through some of my favourite sites the other day I came across the following post on his blog and just had to share it:

"I’ve been making my own board bags for years and during the last few I’ve skipped the sewing part altogether and started wrapping the boards in old sheets and cool sections of fabric that I find at thrift stores.  The Japanese call the art of wrapping gifts in cloth and paper “TSUTSUMI.”  Here’s a step by step on how to make a simple board bag without having to do anything but a square knot :)

I for one will be giving this a go with some future boards and a whole lot of interesting fabric. Thank you for sharing this Manuel.

You can find his work at and   

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stretch your clamps further

Everyone has a limited amount of dollars to spend on gear so sometimes we need to get a little smarter to make what we have stretch further.

Here is a little trick I use when clamping the top and bottom decks on my plywood boards. This came in really handy while I was in the process of building up my clamp supply. It really helps with the way I build boards and is particularly helpful if your top or bottom decks are thick and need the wood to bend a little further right at the edge.

The idea behind this is that the spacer you are applying pressure to will spread the pressure from the clamp along the length of the joint. The spacer evens out the pressure between the clamps and this creates a longer point of contact rather than just two very small points at the clamp location.

-Get a length of timber say a minimum of twice as deep as it is wide that will run the length of your board while bent around the rail edge.

-Tack clamp the piece you will bend around your rail at half way making sure there is enough length at each end. 

-Clamp at even intervals working from the middle out to either end at the same time.

This piece acts like a beam, the deeper the spacer is the more resistance it has to bending and the smoother your joints will be. You will need less clamping pressure as well. 

Now you must figure out how far you can push the timber you are using as the spacer to get the best pressure.

By using this technique you can push the spacings between your clamps out a little further.

I hope this helps.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Have you found these sanding disks?

I don't know about you but I try and find materials and resources that make it easier and faster for me to build boards, so I keep my eyes out for new products or technology to try if I can. When I bought my large sander I could not source any sanding disks locally that would last for any length of time. That was until I found these....

I stumbled across Astra dot abrasives on a woodworking supplies website and after giving them a go I have not stopped using them. The selling point for me was the claim that these disks last four to six times longer than other good sandpapers. And they are true to their word these disks last a long time even when sanding epoxy!
The initially obvious feature of Astra sandpaper is that the backing is coated with dots of grit in a pre-determined pattern.

This predetermined pattern helps prevent clogging, reduces heat generation and requires lighter sanding pressure. Astra has also been designed specifically for power tool use.

Although it is more expensive initially, the pads last so long that they end up being very cost effective. 

The ceramic grit on these papers is sometimes described as ceramic aluminium. It is a micro-crystalline grain, which means that each grain is made up of many crystals so fine they can only be seen under a microscope. As the ceramic grains are used and break on each dot dozens of new edges are produced which is what keeps this sandpaper sharp and working well.

Anyway if you get a chance try these abrasives out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A toddlers wobble board

This is a little project I trialled for my eldest son when he was just over a year old. It's a toddlers wobble board, a board he can pretend to surf on that has both rocker and belly.  By playing on this board the kids get to learn how to balance on a board that wants to move in every direction just like a surfboard without too much extreme. Both my boy's love it and the eldest will hang ten while leaning back into a soul arch! 

To make this I used some 4mm pine ply that I had lying around the workshop. The construction is a centre stringer with one thickness of 12mm packing ply rails sandwiched between the top and bottom. The way to get the belly in the bottom is to have the bottom of the rocker well below the rail line. The board is finished with a couple of coats of linseed oil.

If you try this one watch how deep you try to push the belly. If you push the belly too deep the ply will end up pulling from the other direction and you will end up with reduced belly.... and a nicely domed top.  

I will add a quick sketch later to show the internal construction.

Have any of you made something like this? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How thin is too thin?

With any design or construction issue you have constraints, they are the limits you can work within. They might be a rocker profile, the length of an achievable span, a weight bearing capacity or an aesthetic value. Within any wooden surfboard build there are a vast number of constraints both good and bad. Ultimately these constraints guide the outcome of the project. For instance if you are designing a board for a heavier person or a fast wave, making the board from Balsa or Cedar these constraints give us direction.

But what happens when you don't actually know the limits of material you are working with? Well sometimes you need to take a risk and find out. 

We all know that there is a serious time and effort investment involved with making wooden boards so like you I work hard not to take too many gambles or make mistakes. I really don't want to waste the time and effort I have already invested into my build.   
At some stage thought when you have built a few wooden surfboards you will start asking questions like can I make it lighter? and would the rails hold together if I reduced their width by 5mm? All the while you know full well that the only way to answer such burning questions is to build them into a board and find out along the way.

Well I pushed a little too far with the thickness of my internal spacers .... but I don't regret it for a second. 

I build my boards without a stringer using a moulded rail system with spacers in between to support the top and bottom surfaces. I attempted to see if the spacers width could be reduced to 4mm in an attempt to keep weight down a minimum. As you can see the answer to my test was no 4mm does not work very well in this situation please try again. 

What I learnt from this experiment was far more valuable than the time it took me to remove these spacers and insert new ones (you do get faster with practise). 

Test, experiment and explore because only then will you understand the constraints of the materials, your design, construction method and then have the certainty to forge ahead.