Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Plywood Stick 4

Finally off the rocker table and planing down the top rails in preparation for placing the top.  I generally like to do this with hand tools, but I went all power this time, using the Bosch power planer and the amazing belt sander.  Very fast, but of course, it  is super noisy and messy.  Also, at this point I rough out the bottom rails, especially in the nose where the rail will be fairly soft.
Back on the table, all ready for the top.  Final check to make sure the top will lay fair across all ribs and especially at the nose and tail. The tail need some additional blocking in this picture.
The top is finally on, glued with Titebond III.  This part is best done with a helper, or at least a third hand. 
More PVC clamps in between the wood clamps.  I also used a few shims driven under the wood clamps.  A convex deck would have required more elaborate clamping along the rail top to get the top to curve. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Plywood Stick 3

 Finally done adding wood to  the tail block.  Now it is wide enough for the subtail. 
 Here are the rough nose blocks sitting in place.  They are cedar with a thin strip of redwood in the middle for a little contrast.  They'll get glued on after the top skin is in place.
 Bead and cove rail strip progress.  Nearly done.  With a totally flat deck, I don't have to carry the strips too far onto the deck.  Another 4 strips should do it.  Okay, for the observant, how many mistakes/fixes can you spot in this photo?  I can see at least two that I know of!
 I decided to go with a quad set up for  a couple of reasons.  Quads seem like having little motors under the board when you turn, and I wanted some shallow draft fins for suring the reef on low tide or inside days.  These are made from plywood leftovers from the skins and they'll get inset 1/2" into the board to simplify installation. 
Another picture of  the progress so far.  Gee, how come the top-of-rib stringers are so wiggly?  Apparently there was  a technical measurement issue in laying out the center line of the ribs.  Time for a new ruler I guess.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Plywood Stick, 2

 You can see the simplified ribs I'm using.  The deck will be flat and I've eliminated any channels on the bottom to make the build faster.  I'm using Titebond III to glue the frame to the skins.  The polyurethane subfloor adhesive that I had been using has let go on some previous boards.
 Here is the chine strip.  This one is a half inch wide to allow for a pretty soft rail in front of the board. The notch in the top of the rib is for a longitudinal stringer for additional deck support and gluing area.
 The starter rail strip is glued on and clamped with PVC clamps.  Plastic does have its uses. 

 Here is the tail block all cut and ready to reglue.  It is alternating pine and redwood.
So here is the tail block reglued in a little wavy pattern.  When the block gets shaped with top and bottom curved surfaces, the redwood rectangles will become curved like beans and should make a pretty cool pattern.  At least I hope!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


We recently met some old friends from Whidbey Island up at Doheney beach for a little sun and fun.  What a bunch of goofballs! 

New Plywood Stick

The Busted Board's Interior

Finally!  After the interior structural failure of my last redwood longboard, I've gone back to the tried-and-true materials.  The redwood board was 9'5" and only 18 pounds, even with a double six ounce glass job.   Unfortunately, I used very thin wood ribs  and 5/32" skins and it seems the rib spacing was too far, as several cracked during a bottom turn.  Not the sound you want to hear when you step on the rail!  The board is still very pretty, but is only good for the wall now!

So I decided to replace my daily stick an 8-3 mini-malibu.  This is a super fun board with double channels, a single fin and a pretty domed deck.  After nearly 3 years of almost daily rides, it is starting to show much wear and tear.  A leak earlier this year, warped many of the bottom planks and it has a bit of a corrugated feel to it now.  Several fin repairs have made it pretty heavy too. 

So the new board is loosely based on the 8-3 dimensions and for simplicity and cost, I'm using 3/8 exterior ply for the frame and ribs and  a nice light 1/4 birch plywood for the skins.  It will have a flat deck and a flat bottom.  The rails are bead and cove milled in pine.  The rib and skin dimensions are about 1/32 more than I typically mill them to, but the extra thickness will make it very strong.  I'm not sure about the fin setup, but I'm thinking a quad might be a nice change from a single fin. 

My buddy Dave lent me his rocker table and here it is clamped down with the base blocking leveled and in place.  Thanks

The ribs are getting glued onto the keel here.  It is upside down, but you can see that the deck will be flat.  It is much easier to glue up and will give a little more volume in the rails.