Friday, 12 September 2008

Success - sort of.

A long overdue update:

A few people have asked what became of the boards "Master Shaper" and I were making since the line went dead a year and a bit ago.

The boards are finished, they float, they catch waves, all of which were thoroughly amazing to me when they happened. Really, scratch building a board is an incredibly satisfying thing.

So, why no pictures?
As I've told a few people who asked, there have been no pictures because after taking a good few really nice shots on the day they were first put into the water - my camera went missing.

I have a feeling someone walking past saw it sitting in the boot of the car and took it when my back was turned momentarily. I can't see it having fallen out as I have a habit of looking at the ground when I back out of a space to see if I've dropped anything. Whatever happened though, somewhere between taking my wetsuit off and nightfall the camera went missing - so I don't have any photos to post. There are a few that show it in a similar state, but nothing much. I think the most recent shot might be an incomplete glassing. Hardly riveting stuff.

So - how are the boards?
Well, Master Shaper's board is almost perfect. The rails aren't as smooth as they could be, the thickness isn't quite symmetrical side to side, but overall I'm really very happy with how it turned out.

My board is a different story - mine was the first one into each step of the shaping so if I made any mistakes on it, I could avoid making them on hers. This proved completely unnecessary on all but one point.

I was happily mowing foam with the power planer, got into a really nice groove with it and was kinda lost in my thoughts - when I realised I'd gone a good bit thinner than I'd wanted to. Bummer.
I decided to glass it anyway because "why not?". It works, it's just harder to paddle and catch waves on than it would have been. I can still get onto most of the waves I go for, and it is teaching me to be a bit more selective about my positioning and wave choice.
It's not perfect by a long shot - but it works and I have a blast on it. My next board (and there will be a next one) will be much better - lessons learned and all that.

Is there anything I'd change next time around?
There are a few large points I'll change before making another, the main one being horizontal shaping lights. Having shaped without them I can see just how beneficial they would be. I won't make another one without making some.
I'm also going to put adjustable feet onto the bottom of the legs on the stands too - that way I can ensure a sturdy and level shaping stand which will make a few things easier too.
Other than that - more time. That will be easy now I already have a board to get wet on though.

Watch this space for boards 3 and more. Don't hold your breath though - I've got a few other projects on the go before I get back to surfboards.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

The spirit is willing, the flesh is waek...

I lost about 6 hours of shaping last night - I was due to wake "head shaper" up at 2:30am so she could get back to the task, and I fell asleep at about 2:20am. I got so close and just couldn't make it. I was just thinking I should probably wake her a bit early as I was so tired, and the next thing I knew it was morning.

Oh well.

Anyway - I re-built my stands. Keeping the same end pieces, the former ok looking but functionally only passable legs are gone. In their place are several pieces of timber. I half designed a layout in my head, but what I came up with isn't a rigid shape like (for example) a triangle would be. To remedy it I used a hole saw and a chunky reeded dowel wrapped in masking tape to secure the whole thing.It is now stable, level (leveled with foam off-cut wedges) and generally much more sturdy - while still being fully collapsible/adjustable.

The multiple holes along the bracing arms are there to make the whole thing adjustable. Since we're making two 7' boards I've got it at maximum length to support the thin ends of the board.

I'm back on a break for breakfast and to get more work done.

When I left the shaping room I had foiled the deck, finished the shallow bottom contours (a single to double) and marked out some rail bands.
Master shaper is currently planing the rail bands in, by now she's probably got all the bands on one side of the board done, ready to swap over to the other side.

All that remains then is to shape the rails, nose and tail, check for any final things that need tuning/smoothing and job's done.
Then it'll be a none stop shaping marathon on the other board to get it to the same stage.

The gappy stringer repair failed miserably. It turns out the foam shifted part way through the process (despite the 10 or so house bricks piled on top of it) and I have some big gaps at the deck side, while the base side is pretty much spot on.
I think I will probably just carry on as normal and fill the gap with resin and microballoons when I come to do the filler coat in a few hours time.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Shift work

Well, with work still to finish and a ton of shaping left (the plan is to start glassing tomorrow night and hopefully have it all finished by the early hours of Monday) I now have my very own head shaper (she insists she's head shaper "I'm no assistant!") who is currently in the newly fitted "shaping room".
As you'll see in the pictures below, the room is almost completely wrapped in clear dust sheets so we can shape to our hearts content, around the clock, and not make a complete mess of the room.

I've found a design flaw in my shaping stands. A bit more timber tomorrow will fix that though. They are fine for roughing the shape in, but once a bit of stability is needed they won't be up to the job.
I'm going to swap the 4 leg stands you see in the earlier stands post for a sort of brace between the 2 stands (keeping them about 5'6" apart) and then 2 legs coming down off the pedestal legs out to the sides at a 45° angle. I'm pretty confident that will hold it perfectly well.

The great thing is - I will be able to keep them fully collapsible that way. As it stands (no pun intended) they come apart by undoing 2 bolts (the legs/bases are nailed on right now) - the way I plan to make the new legs should be quick and also a bolt-on piece making them easily stashable and without needing to use concrete.

Being almost midnight it is far too late to be using power tools, so right now all the roughing in is being done with 60 grit on a sanding block I made a few days ago. It's a slow process but at least work on the boards is progressing. I used a hand saw at a very acute angle to hack off some of the foam at the tail end of the board, which has probably saved at least half an hour of shaping ("Head shaper" informs me she thinks it saved more like an hour)
Unfortunately the saw slipped at one point and missing all my own limbs (dunno how) I caught her on the wrist, not enough to draw blood but it did bring a bit up to the surface.
Sorry boss - it won't happen again; next time I'll aim for my own arms.

Anyway - I must get back to work so I have happy clients and money to head to France with. I'll leave you with a picture of Sam hard at work shaping in the newly draped room. More to follow as the build progresses.

Like a kid at Christmas...

I jumped for joy this morning. Now, I don't mean that in any kind of figurative sense - I mean my feet left the floor as I bounced down the hallway.
I have a feeling that the window cleaner (who was cleaning the windows at the time) and the delivery guy might have heard the "woo-hoo" I let fly with while jumping too.

The reason for my outburst of unbridled happiness?

My Seabase order just arrived. I heard a knock at the door, looked out the window and saw a huge TNT lorry outside and opened the door to find this...

The following pictures are all completely unnecessary as most of you will know what Resin Research 2000 resin and hardener look like, what Additive F looks like, what a squeegee looks like, what Fins Unlimited 10.5" boxes look like and (I sincerely hope you know) what two 1 litre buckets look like. I'm posting them purely because I can.

What could it be?

I also got 20 metres of fibreglass (I'm pretty sure that's 1m less than I ordered so Seabase - grr) and a load of rice paper for messing about with graphics/decals.

Anyway - I've got a ton of work to do before I can get on to playing with tools, foam and eventually my new batch of chemicals and fibreglass.

Truly like a kid at Christmas!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Shaping paused and a great leap forward...

No, I've not turned communist, I put the shaping on hold because I was sick of shaping over the back of dining chair backs.
About 16 feet of timber, 4 bolts, a couple of square feet of plywood and some foam later I have a shaping stand and a soon to be shaping stand once I drill it out for the bolts I'll have a pair.

I'm kinda pleased with myself, I've never really made anything like this before - I had to borrow a big enough drill bit, and kinda made it up as I went along, but it has come out nicely. As of now I'll be using actual stands instead of chairs - much better.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Unexpected discovery...

I ended up gluing the stringer in late last night so I'm a bit ahead of where I expected to be today.

While sanding the 4" foam down to the stringer I glued in I decided to see if my Dad had a power sander I could make use of. I found one... and next to it was a power planer - I didn't know he had one so I was pretty surprised when I saw it.

Using the planer I've taken a fair bit of the foam down to just above the stringer and will finish it off with a surform and sandpaper.

Having a planer makes really short work of mowing the foam down to a decent thickness, hand sanding it with 60 grit was taking forever.

The glue (PVA) I used on the stringer has let go near the tail, I'm going to have a go at sticking it back again later but if that fails I might have to give in and buy something like Gorilla Glue, not ideal but I'll get it if I need to.

Though I took a lot of care with cutting the foam for the stringer, and even sanded down the cut faces to take out the high spots I could see, I still have a couple of gaps where the foam was uneven - I'm not really sure how to go about getting the cut face totally flat so I cam get a clean glue line.

Any input on either of these problems would be a huge help.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Finally underway...

Fun fun fun.

Today I bought a 4" thick piece of EPS foam from B&Q for £20. That will be enough for two boards.
I also got a surform, a pack of sandpaper, and some timber for the stringer. Complete overkill but I decided to go for some half inch ply purely because I think it could look good in the board.

I've cut up my foam into strips about 12" wide.

I also cut the rocker and deck profile into the stringer roughed it up a bit and am about to glue it into the foam. Tomorrow during lunch I should be cutting out and gluing in another stringer into the rest of the foam (I'm making board #1 and #2 together) - then in the evening making a start on shaping the foam.

All being well I'll have these boards ready for a trip to France starting some time just after the 6th of August.

Photographs to follow as soon as I can find my camera.