Project Frog (*warning 56K...lots of pictures)
Project Frog (*warning 56K...lots of pictures)
So this is my first post and I'm just getting into the backyard hobby of shaping boards. I'm located in Wrightsville
Beach, NC and since I surf nonstop, I decided it was time to learn the ways of surfboard shaping and repair. I was lucky to team up with Hunter (aka "theboys" here on the forums) as he is located in the same Wilmington/WB area. Hunter has quite the quiver of boards...all handcrafted and looking excellent. A friend told me about Hunter and how it is possible to make a board using polystrene insulation foam from your local Home Depot or Lowes. I'm always up for trying anything so I gave it a shot.
In the beginning, I bought two sheets of Sheltersheath EPS foam from Home Depot. The tough part was peeling off the backing on both sides of the foam. Since this is the foam that goes up in houses, it had the reflective stuff on one side and the clear stuff on the other.
Once you get it going, it goes pretty quick. After the peeling was done, I cut each sheet in half, leaving 4 smaller sheets at 6'2 in length and roughly 23" wide. I only needed to use 3 of the 4 sheets, so I set the 4th aside for later use.
I took the 3 sheets and stacked them on top of each other, and cut them straight down the middle, starting at the ends furthest from each other. Now I had two halves of the beginning of my board. Next step, Elmer's white glue. I couldn't believe this was what I needed to use...the stuff we all used in elementary school. So I put lines of glue on each layer covering them good and not leaving any huge empty areas. After the glue, I squeezed the layers together (rubbed them together a bit to make sure the glue was distributed evenly between the layers) and taped them down to the bottom of an existing board. Once they dried, I had my rocker.
My next step was the shape. Now since I'm new to this and was only going by word of mouth, I decided it would be best to trace out the shape that I wanted on cardboard and use that as a stencil to make the shape. With a black marker, I drew the shape I wanted onto the foam and cut it out using a hack saw. The foam cut perfect and held together perfect with no chuncks coming out. So far so good. Now I had two sides of a board with rocker already in it. All I need now is a stringer. Down to the local hobby store to buy some balsa. Being that I'm still new to this, I took a guess on which balsa looked closest to my other boards. Keeping the balsa in the middle, I glued both halves of the board together with Elmer's again. Taped it up with the blue masking tape and let it sit overnight. Cue Hunter:
I took the board to Hunter's (aka "theboys") place to learn the art of shaping and sanding. His excitement for the whole experience inspired me and got me hooked on this. We started out with what I had done. Hunter took a look to make sure it was even...so far so good. A few bumps were sanded out...
He shows me how to mark my lines in order to sand/shape the rails.
We marked 3 lines at 4", 2", and 1" starting from the rail. This would give me my visual points as to where I need to grind the foam away using a sur form.
I start grinding away at the first line keeping it even all the way around. Hunter cleans it up to make sure I'm getting it perfect. After awhile the board begins to take shape. I've always rode a 6' egg shaped by Mr. Youngblood of Quest Surfboards in Charleston, SC. My original board was great....swallow tail, big spoon nose, wide body but thin and quick with FCS fins. A "prototype" was what Mr. Youngblood considered it. So I wanted this board to be very similar except tweak a few things. I wanted the tail a little thicker. Hunter suggested we go with a "Twinzer" fin setup so thats what I want to do.
Last night I took the board and added a thin layer of Lightweight Spackle to fill in all of the little holes and gaps.
Get a bowl or small bucket and put a couple of chunks of the stuff in the bottom and mix in just a little bit of water. You don't need much water because this stuff gets watery fast. You want to mix it up until its at a mayonaise consistency. Once it is ready, pour a little bit onto the squeege (I bought mine at the local boat supply store...its yellow)and spread it out onto the board.
Smear it in good, and scrape it back up with the squeegee. You can do this process a few times until you notice it starts to thicken. So after a few times of smearing and scraping, I scrape it off into the bowl and pour a fresh pool of spackle. I poured the stuff on top of the stringer and everything because it scrapes away so clean. All you are doing is filling in everything to make it look smooth and flat. Don't get the layer too thick. You want it very thin..just enough to fill in holes. Once I finished doing the whole board (top/bottom/rails) I moved to the next step, which was fixing my weak spot in the stringer. Stupid me made a butt joint with two pieces of balsa as my stringer (please go easy...I'm new and made the blank by word of mouth).
Since I had the weak spot, I took 2 pieces of 1/8" balsa and cut them each to 4" long. I took a razor blade and carefully cut two slits next to the butt joint. After making the openings big enough to fit the balsa into, I poured Gorilla Glue into each crack as well as put it on the 4" pieces of balsa. Inserted each piece of balsa and made sure they were tight.
After drying, I shaved off the excess balsa and sanded. Added a little spackle and walah! No more weak spot!!!
So Hunter stopped by today to show me the ropes on prepping the board to be glassed. We started by taping off our rail lines first.
Make sure to double up the line.
Next we began to cover the top of the deck with newspaper to protect it from the resin. Unfortunately I did not have a newspaper so good ole Fisherman's Post had to do!
Once this was complete, we flipped the board bottom side up. We started with laying a sheet of glass over the entire bottom of the board. Hunter told me to cut this as close to the edge of the board as possible...going all the way around.
After I cut the first layer, I kept the leftovers to use for fins in the future. Next, the second layer went over. This layer is important and cannot be cut as short. You will need to leave about 2 inches or a "thumbs lenghth" hanging off the sides of the board as you cut.
The next part was tricky...cutting the "V" slit in the font of the deck in order to wrap the glass under without any lumps. You have to judge this yourself. Fold one side under and determine where you need to cut, then do the other. The final cut should look like this:
The same goes for the tail. My tail is a litte complicated but roughly the same as the nose, only two more cuts.
So tonight we poured the first layer of epoxy on the bottom of the board. We were going for a seafoam blue color but it turned out to be more of green, which I like even better. So this thread will definitly be renamed to "Project Frog."
Started off picking up a couple of supplies at the local hardware store: A few mixing buckets, cheap paint brush (to be disposed of after use), plastic syringe (to mix Additive F), and some laytex gloves. Hunter took me through the steps of mixing the resin. 2 parts resin to every 1 part hardener and 8 CC's of Additive F. We decided to mix 16oz Resin, 8oz of Hardener, and 8 CC's of Additive F (*Note: one syringe is 6 CC's...picked up a 2-pack for $1.50 at the hardware store). Mixed in the color and stirred for 2-3 minutes until it was evenly mixed.
Once mixed, threw on the laytex gloves to keep from getting messy and began to pour it evenly down the middle. We basically spread it out nice and even and really gently, letting it soak in on its own into the glass fabric.
As you can see it came out a nice light "Tree Frog Green" tint. I'm digging it. Using the yellow squeegees, we spread it out evenly. I didn't get pictures of the paint brush as my hands were full. However I took a little bit of the resin and "painted" the rails under the overlap. That way when we wrapped the glass under, it would stick nice and evenly. The brush was cheap...roughly a buck so its a one-time use. I painted the resin on all the way around the rails. We smeared the resin towards the edges making sure all of the overlap was saturated with no dry spots. Once this was complete, we started wrapping the overlap under and around the rails, starting from the middle of the rail and working towards the nose or tail...either way is fine. I used one hand to wipe the resin towards the rail getting rid of any bubbles or lumps while the other hand wrapped the cloth under. Fairly easy process....just pay a lot of attention to detail.
While it was drying, we walked out of the garage across the street to the beach to check out the waves. Little thigh to waist coming through. Nothing great but nice being out there discussing the different ways a 4 mile strip of island can break so differently from other places. After awhile, back to the board.....
The board started to firm up after about 45 min. Take in mind it is about 90 degrees F in the garage with 90% humidity so its hot.
After it firmed up, we started to cut the excess overlap along the tape line with the exacto knife (make sure it is super sharp). **For future purposes, don't use the blue masking tape. Its sticks a little too good and tends to pull up some small pockets of foam. Nothing too serious that couldn't be covered up with spackle...just cosmetic spots..but annoying. The blue tape was all I had at the time. I believe Hunter mentioned there was some better tape to use but I'm not sure of what type or name as of now. We used an exacto knife to cut just deep enough to go through the glass fabric layer. Carefully going all the way around the board making sure to keep it as straight as possible. I believe Hunter suggested we do a pinstripe to cover up any unevenness. Remember, this is my first board so cosmetically I'm sure it won't be perfect by a long shot. As long as it rides, I will be happy. Not to mention I will have learned the process after its all said and done so I can work a little more smoothly.
After cutting all the way around, its finally starting to look like a board!!!!
So far so good. Hunter's approval.....
More pics to come!!!!