Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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OK, here I go with another build thread. Actually, I think this is my first real build thread on Swaylocks, IIRC. I did post pics of my other builds, but pretty sure they were all "after the fact", so to speak. This will be recorded in real time, meaning as I progress, I'll post pics.


One of the reasons I have been a bit hesitant to do it this way, is that my methods are pretty radically different from most guys here (read: archaic!), so I'm not sure how much interest there is in seeing how I do it. Plus, I'm a newbie and my methods are a bit improvisational (6 boards from scratch: four wood; one wood and foam; and one foam, - plus one rebuild after being broken in half, a little over one year doing this), and there are so many pro's and experienced builders here, that I'm a bit out of my league. Further, I always feel like I'm gonna screw a board up before I finish, and in fact I feel like trashing the project and starting over at some point of every board I've built so far.


And wood boards weigh more. Mine do, anyway. Like in the 15 lb. range, which is fine for me. Its not that I want all my boards to weigh more, but it doesn't bother me, I'm comfortable surfing them, catch plenty of waves, and have great fun. Just a recreational surfer. So be forewarned - the hardcore high performance "under 6 ft., under 6 lbs." builders / surfers among you can probably just skip this thread without missing anything of any great interest LOL.


Since my methods have been developed for how I work, they aren't really cost effective production methods by a long shot. A recent post on another thread talked about a 6 hr. board, design to finish. I might have 6 hours into a board before I even cut my first piece of wood! Sometimes watching one of my wood boards progress can be like watching grass grow. But be that as it may, I'm gonna try to see this one through, pic by pic, with details for anyone who cares, so I'm sure it'll be kinda tedious reading, because its kinda tedious doing! Not a WoodOgre caliber build, because my woodworking skills are not at that level, but hopefully not a complete disaster either.


A couple things I am always trying to balance: experimental and proven, planned and spontaneous. Experimental because I've never seen anyone who builds the way I do (although there are a few, like Danny Hess, who have some similarities in the way he does the rails first), and I'm always, by nature, wanting to try new ideas and methods. But proven, because I believe anything worthwhile, no matter how new or different (is there anything really new anyway?) has to be built on a foundation of proven methods and techniques. Planned, because hollow wood boards take a LOT of advance planning, seeing as how they're built up, piece by piece, not shaped down, as it were. But spontaneous because I resist having everything preplanned and predetermined, as the artist in me wants (needs) there to be some creative spontaneity involved.


I don't use a computer for designing or cutting. I have nothing against computer designed or cut boards, they have their place, but just don't fit in with my current methodology. I know one poster who took offense at me saying that, and to this day thinks I was insulting him. But I'm just explaining what I do, no offense to anyone else or other methods, its all good in the end.  I will be the first to admit you would go broke fast if you had to make a living doing boards my way, its just what works for me at this stage, I'm sure I'll change my methods as time goes on.  And these are just water toys, really.


This project is a bit of a stretch for me, in several ways. One, at 9' 6" its 2 feet longer than anything I've ever attempted to build from scratch. Two, its a tribute to the 70's era Lopez Lightning Bolt guns - not an actual reproduction per se, but still, it needs to be true to the boards that inspired it. Three, its for a client, so I don't have the same level of creative flexibility I normally would. But I'm grateful for the opportunity to be making my first board for someone else - a milestone for me!

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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First thing I do, in a case like this, is research. Which means getting an idea in mind for the shape by studying pictures of Lightning Bolt guns, to get a feel for the template, rails, tail, rocker, etc. Then, discussing with the client, I pinpoint the specifics: 9' 6" length, 21" wide, pintail, slight V in tail, 6" rocker nose, 3" tail (I went 6 1/2" because when I drew it, it just looked right to me). The client thought the tail might be too narrow at 12", but then decided to let me go with what I had done, so I'm hoping its not gonna be a disappointment to him. It does look right to me, but the board isn't for me, so there's always that.



Once I have an idea, I draw up sketches, using 1/4" grid paper, at 1" = 1'0" scale. The main things I want on this sketch are a plan view (template), side view (rocker, or stringer), and three cross sections: nose (12" back), wide point, and tail (12" up). When I have a sketch I like, I transfer the grid to a piece of plywood or in this case, masonite, with 3" squares. Then I use the corresponding grids to scale the drawing, using bent sticks for the curves (I did say archaic, didn't I?). A bit of sanding gets the curve and the flow just right.



The 3" grid lines are important to me, because I use them to correlate points on the rails that will help me. On the stringer view, I mark also at every 1 1/2", which represents the thickness of the wood I'll be using for the rails. If my rail pieces are 1 1/2" thick, I know I'll need to lap several layers to get the rocker desired. Correlating the lines from stringer to plan shape will tell me at what point along the rail I need to begin each new layer, to compensate for the rocker.



Another thing I have to consider, is where I'm going to make my joints. Simple butt joints are all that is needed. As long as the joints occur over another layer that doesn't break in the same vicinity, the end result is very strong. Kinda like a block wall - the joints of one row never fall directly over the joints of the row above or below.



When I cut my template out for the plan shape, I have to have a line for the outside of the rails, and a line for the inside of the rails. So I cut slots that follow the rail line, the distance from the slot to the outside of the template corresponding to the rail width. All this precedes cutting the first piece!



That's where I'm at on this one, I have my plan, scaled it to make my rail and rocker templates, slotted my rail template, and I'm now ready to begin cutting my rail pieces out.  On this board I plan on utilizing several proven techniques from my past boards, with a few new ideas I'll be trying out also.  Thanks for following along!



 

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Next I transfer the rail pattern onto my 2x6 redwood, using the pattern.  I try to keep each piece marked and organized in my mind, as far as what goes where, which end is which, etc.  Seems simple enough, but it can get confusing at times.  I try to lay out the pieces to minimize waste, and to avoid knots if possible.  A few small knots are just "character", but difference in density of the wood can make shaping a challenge (differing desities in the grain is one of the challenges you don't have with foam).



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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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this build sure looks interesting,


I just so happen to be in the process of building a 7'6" lightning bolt replica also for a customer


what a small world


maybe I'll do a build thread also, or maybe just share a few picks


but not on this thread, Im no hijacker


you go Huck!

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Got some good waves yesterday, until my legs starting cramping up.  Man, I hate growing old - never had that problem in my younger days!  Then went to my mom's in L.A. to help out with some chores, she's getting up in years and can't do it all herself anymore.



Today was one of those days where I feel like I did a lot of work, but have nothing to show for it!  Spent several hours on the board, ripped some 3/4" mdf down into 6" and 8" wide strips, to make my router sled for the rocker.  Man, that stuff is sooo freakin' heavy!  Nearly killed myself getting it out of my garage from behind all the stuff it was buried under LOL.   Ripped some 3/16" balsa plywood down to a 6" strip, that I'll cut my stringer out of.  Worked on laying out the slots for the stringer template, that I have to cut.  Anything over 8' takes double the time, because of requiring two templates, since I can't get sheet goods in other than 8' lengths.


Good news is that when I was at my mom's place, I found some choice pieces of redwood I had stored at her place, very light stuff, that I can use on my boards.  Also some really nice vertical grain clear fir, which is a bit too heavy for hollow wood boards unfortunately, but maybe an accent strip or something.  Also picked up my 9' longboard, which needs some ding repairs.


Looks like I'll be working out of town next week, so that'll slow things down a bit, but I'm thankful for any work at this point.  Plugging away.

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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     Howzit Huck, Now that looks like a fun wave and the glassy conditions are a plus for sure, how big can it get and stay good? Aloha,Kokua

Aloha, Kokua

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Re: [kokua] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Dunno for sure, its a reef/point, it can handle some size, but I've seen it where after about 10' it starts closing out in the bay, and the currents can be a bear, like a river right into the pier below, and getting caught inside means you're in the river.  Better to hike up the coast about a quarter mile to the top of the point.  This day was about 4-6', high tide, glassy, inconsistent sets, but fun.

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Re: [kokua] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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wilddog ,


 


it's "c" street /ventura fairgrounds.


when my wife gets gigs up in ventura or sb,we as a family usually stay at the holiday inn on the 8th floor facing the point/ocean.


herb

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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surf looks fun Huck, you DID score! board is looking good too. i'll be watching this thread for sure...


where'd you get the balsa ply?


by the way, regarding cramps, i used to get them a lot surfing (usually sitting on my board waiting for a wave) and sleeping (they'd wake me from deep sleep)... my doc told me i needed potassium and to stay hydrated and suggested bananas and plenty of water. i now eat usually 2 bananas a day and stay hydrated and haven't had cramp issues since...


 

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Re: [chrisp] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Thanks for the reminder on cramps, I'd heard that, but forgot about it.  Once the cramps hit, surf session is over.  Man, I used to be able to surf all day!  I'll try to keep your advice in mind.  Did score a few choice waves, but once the cramps hit, its kook city, because the body won't listen to directions LOL.



Right now Home Cheapo has the balsa ply (I think they call it 1/4" hardwood plywood - the balsa is a low grade, but technically it is a hardwood), it was $19 a sheet when I got it, now I see its up to $25 a sheet, but if I get a few bucks, I'm gonna get some more, because its good for building hws.  Same stuff I used for my deck and bottom on the last three wood boards, but its not pretty, so I get scolded for building wood boards and then painting 'em.  I'm just always outside somebody's box I guess.  Client has definitely told me no paint on this one, which seems to me that when I'm dead and finally recognized for the artist I am, it would be worth some money if it had one of my signature paint jobs, but then he'll probably be dead then too, since we're the same age, so maybe there is some logic there after all, hahaha.

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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thanks for the heads up on the ply... i'll have to check that out...


you guys are crackin' me up with your whole "client" thing ... =)

You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

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Re: [chrisp] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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I'm avoiding a slander lawsuit, in case I slip up and say, you know, what a difficult client I have LOL. 


Plus, my client is going to shamelessly kick my butt on completion time, and I don't want to encourage him any more than he alread is!

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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wow!


this client must be a real prick!


do you meen he's gonna kick your but when you finnish the board?

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Re: [kensurf] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Been sick'r 'n a dog last few days, feeling a little better tonight, cut and glued a bit.





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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Can't tell much from these pics, because the board is too big and fills the room, so can't get a good shot.  But the planshape of this thing is kinda intimidating - looks fast just sitting there.  Screams "serious surfboard" already.  Hope I can do it justice.




After the entire frame is assembled, I add some temporary cross-members. As big as this board is, there is a lot of give and flex in the rails right now. I have to firm it up while I'm working on it. Its pretty crude at this point, and needs some cleaning up.


I hit the low spots, and any knots that have come out, with some bondo. I'm sure you won't find that mentioned in Fine Woodworking, but I find that a low spot now can disrupt the smooth curves as I work the planshape. These will disappear as I work the rails, but I want everything smooth right now. I use a belt sander with an aggressive grit to clean everything up, but I don't get too carried away with it. The rails will be worked progressively throughout the project, so its not important to finalize the outline sanding. I just want it cleaned up, edges eased, and any holes or low spots filled. No splinters while handling.


The ideal tool to cut my rail pieces would probably be a band saw, but I cut them with a portable jig saw, because that's what I have. The cuts are not precision - as you turn a radius, the blade does not remain 100% vertical, it gives a bit. So I cut to the outside of the line, and rely on the sanding later to clean things up.


Knots are always an issue. They're always there, with the grade of wood I'm using, but you can minimize their impact. I avoid them not as much for cosmetics as for their density. It becomes really difficult to work a smooth rail curve with a knot of rock hard density. A bit of knot is OK, especially if it is on the inside of the rail frame, not the outside. These will never be seen once the board is completed. Otherwise, an occasional knot is a bear to work with, but manageable. Its all about planning your cuts to maximize the beauty and workability of the wood, and minimize headaches from grain problems.


To me, the stepped layers of the rail pieces look clunky and cartoony at this point. Its always amazing to see the fluid shape of the board emerge from this crude beginning. Like I say, the outline is impressive. I've never built a gun before, it definitely has a different personality than anything else.







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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Very impressive Mr. H.  I have two questions.


1) How thick are those rails?


2) I remember you had a video where you used a mini circular saw to cut down the rails.  Did you give that method up?

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Re: [swied] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Thanks Ken!


Scott - The rails end up being about 1&3/8" wide - thickness is dependent on the board, the rails are shaped just like any rails are shaped - they can be as thick or as thin as you want.  They're cut from 2x stock, meaning they're about 1&1/2" thick pieces I'm working with.


I still use the circular saw to rough cut the rails, although not always as shown in the video. Sometimes I just make a series of plunge cuts, varying the depth according to the line I'm shaping to, then chisel the pieces between my cuts, and follow up with a power planer. I've been using the power planer and the angle grinder with sanding attachment for roughing the shape. On the bottom (rocker), I now use a router to clean up the cuts, thanks to an idea I got from Kayu's profile machine posting.



Which leads to another un-glamorous and tedious part of the process - building the router sled. This is an extra step I didn't used to do, but it adds so much in terms of precision, its worth the trouble.


Anything over 8' requires dealing with the limitations of the sheet goods, which come in 8' lengths. And the limitations of my shop. In this case, for a 9' 6" board, I have to work outside to cut some 10' 6" panels from 8' sheets of mdf, which is what I'm doing here.  By making the guides a bit longer than the board itself, I have a little room to work the router to the very end of the board.


Once the glue dries, I'll sand these, use my template to cut the rocker into them, and build my router sled profiler. Then I'll use them to mark the rocker on the rails, rough cut them close to shape, and follow with the router.




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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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looks bitchen!!!

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Nice work. Can't wait to see the final project.


how long does it take you get one shaped up?

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Re: [astevens] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Thanks.  Normally I can finish one in 4-6 weeks, working evenings and weekends.  This one will probably take longer.  These things can be pretty labor-intensive. 

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that sled setup is the bomb


 


board is looking good also

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Hi Herb -


It's now the Crown Plaza Hotel. http://www.cpventura.com/index.html


A pretty nice place to stay and check out Ventura.  It's right at the beach so you don't even have to drive to hit the surf.


And California Street can get pretty darn good.  Under the right conditions it'll hold some size but rarely is it any cleaner than in the pic Huckleberry posted.


 


 

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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ya it's been a few years john,


surf mostly down south now...........or local.........whatever that is?


because of my wife's status with p.m. we get the red carpet treatment everywhere.


neither of my daughters like to surf,unless you concider bodyboarding in the blownout summer months surfing.


but my 10yr old gal loves fishing............i mean she's hooked !


we go as much as possible,and she's starting to want to go to new places.


someday soon i'll have to de-clutter my shop..........lol..........so i can make some more boards and custom rods.


hope all is good with you.


herb


 

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........like working on this board,,, snicker, snicker!

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Hey Huck,

Just saw this thread....this board is going to be sick!  Glad to see you going over 8'......now you can teach me how to make that 9'8" Velzy using you rails.  Can't wait to see more picks!

dg

www.gallagherwoodsurfboards.com

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Yeah Dave,

I'm just jumping straight in building my HWS SUP with Huck's rails. I'll keep you posted. 

I'm really impressed with all the wood boards coming off this sight. 

Have a Gold Medal Day!

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Got my stringer cut out.  Used the rocker template for the bottom, then my graph paper sketch for the deck, minus 1/2" for the decking (1/4" top and 1/4" bottom).  I glued the stringer in place, but its way flimsy, so I put some temporary bracing to hold it.  I ripped some 3/8" by 3/8" strips for the bottom framework. 


Then I started mortising the strips into the rails and stringer with a router.  I'm going 5" o.c., since I have found this works for a good blend of strength / lightness, with the redwood and cedar decking I use.  If I was using spruce, I could space them farther apart.  Once I had several strips mortised and glued in place, I removed the temporary bracing holding the stringer.





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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Looking great Huck. What did you make the stringer out of?

and the strips... what type of wood you using there?

How thick are you deck planks going to be? Do you think 5" o.c. would work for 1/4" balsa decking?

Have a Gold Medal Day!

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Re: [ForestFisher] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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Thanks.  The stringer is 5.2mm balsa plywood from Home Depot, pretty light stuff.  I have never used balsa planking, but the 1/4" redwood and cedar I use is pretty soft, and it gets closer to 3/16" after sanding, so what works for it would probably work as well for balsa.  I use the same for the strips, plus some pine I had laying around that is real light. 

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Re: [Huckleberry] Another build thread, 9-6 hws gun

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great work Huck !

i cant wait to see it all finished :)

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