Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So Close I Can Taste It!

Wow do I have a lot to catch you up on! (I think my new found focus is paying off.)

Since my last post where I finished the frame I have applied planks to the hull and deck; built up the rails; installed the nose and tail blocks; sanded it all down to a final form; experimented with epoxies; researched bamboo and linseed oil as materials for my next prototype; investigated automation techniques; performed a feasibility analysis; and bought a plunge router to carve out a slot for the center fin box. Phew!

What follows is mostly a photo essay of these activities. Let me know if you have any questions; want to learn more; or go surfing! I can best be reached via email.

The finished frame over the top of the hull planks before gluing them up.

Gluing up the planks for the deck & hull.

Getting the outline.

Figuring out where to put the glue.

Hull planks are now attached with the curvature most noticeable in the "floating" tail.

Time to decorate the workbench.

All done!

Ready for action!

The nose squared off with the belt sander to receive the nose block later.

Plank sandwich made with the crusts cut off.

Clamping the first rail lamination.

Yeah, the first rail lamination is done. I got a lot better at this over time doing both sides at once and turning the board on its side so the glue would stop running off.

Ooops! Missed a few steps with the camera, but you can see the finished rail laminations on both sides in the left photo with my combo square for measuring for installing the nose block at right.

Here I'm using a thin piece of wood to make a natural arc outlining the nose.

And here's the rough nose after my trusty jigsaw was done with its work.

After a first pass with the belt sander. Note the Ryobi sponsorship. They make surprisingly good and cheap tools.

I didn't take pictures of the tail block installation, but here you can see the initial blending of the tail into the rails, hull & deck planks. That's my dog Evie wishing I'd pet her more often.

Stay tuned for the next post documenting the final shaping of the board and the installation of the fin box, vent and leash plug...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finishing the Frame

Over the past several weeks I have finished the frame, talked to a number of people about how I'm going to waterproof the finished board and decided to make the envelope of the board entirely out of cedar. Cedar is nice because it has natural water and insect resistance qualities; it's abundantly available here in the Northwest; and the local tribes revere it for its spiritual significance.

In the spirit of previous posts the following photos and descriptions show how this thing is being built and just how complicated this project I've decided to take on really is.

New tools! A Japanese saw for cutting the tabs of the ribs off where there protrude beyond the rail braces as you can see above to the right of the chisels(!). I bought a new set of chisels to cut the notches from the nose and tail blocks that you'll see later.

On the left you can see the little tab of rib that sticks out past the rail braces. The rail braces are the bent strips of wood that serve as the outline of the board and to which I'll glue the rail material later.

Below are the nose and tail blocks cut out from some 3/8" thick scrap I had left over from making the stringer. The notches for receiving the rail braces have yet to be cut. The shape of these doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to be close. I used the tri-square (below on the right) to get approximate dimensions and then layout the design for the blocks on the wood.

Next I had to chisel out some of the block material to receive the rail braces. You can best see the outline of one of the channels on the lower-right piece of wood.

Here I've clamped the tail block piece down while I cut out the notch. I'm about half-way through this one. Only seven more to go. :-)

And this photo shows the tail blocks after they've been glued to the stringer with the clamps holding the newly epoxied rail braces into the notches.

And in this shot you can see the nose blocks being glued to the stringer using a clamp arrangement similar to what I used for the ribs.

I'm getting so close now I can taste it! The epoxy on the stringer-side of the nose blocks has dried, solidly connecting them. So now I'm attaching short nose braces to either side, clamping them down and inward while the epoxy dries. The near side has already glued up nicely.

The nose has been set free. Next I'll glue the rail braces together and then use the Japanese saw to cut off the ends.

My next post will show the completed frame in all its glory!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Attaching the Ribs

After a brief hiatus on actual assembly to research manufacturing techniques, wood glues and sealants I have started attaching the ribs to the stringer. What really triggered the research into glues is that I attached two sets of ribs to the stringer using Gorilla glue and was really disappointed by how easy the joints broke. So I reassessed the question of what glue to use and decided on slow-drying epoxy to give the strongest possible joint at these key structural intersections. The photos show how each rib set is clamped to the stringer while the epoxy sets up.

It was tricky to figure out how to clamp these ribs in place, but I'm happy with the method I'm using. Right now I have these two same rib sets glued in place with epoxy after sanding the Gorilla glue off the butt joint surfaces. The joint is MUCH stronger now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Stringer Takes Shape

I bought a 12' long cedar board and turned it into a surfboard stringer through the process shown below.

Here you can see the cedar board alongside the template I've drawn on tracing paper.

I created the template by transferring dimensions to a big piece of craft paper using a thin strip of wood cut from the cedar board and clamped into an arc. I drew both the top and bottom profiles drawn on the craft paper per dimensions which are derived from Jack Young's 9'-6" longboard design which is based on Rich Harbour's San O longboard.

The next step is to transfer the template from the tracing paper to the board. I used a tool that's kind of like a cowboy's spur to run the line down with micro punctures, guided by the clamped in place wood strip. In the right photo I have aligned the wood strip with the dots and drawn a line on the board linking them up.

Here you can see the outline of the stringer drawn on the cedar plank. Here the X'ed out area represents a cut back of the tail by 1-1/2" to accommodate the tail block I'll install toward the end of the project.

My dog Evie (she's an English Springer Spaniel) is eager to cut the first line of the stringer with a jigsaw.

After the first cut on the deck (top) side of the stringer. On the right the board is clamped down to 2x spacers to allow me to cut the hull (bottom) line of the stringer.

The finished stringer!

Above is a method I figured out to clamp the stringer to my workbench in preparation for attaching the ribs. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Stringer Start

I'm making progress on getting the stringer cut. For those not familiar with surfboard design, the stringer is a narrow strip of wood that runs from the tip to the tail for the full thickness of the board. It provides the backbone support in a hollow-wood surfboard and in conventional foam surfboards it gives the foam blank a solid spine as well.

The paper template with the stringer wood. We're looking at the tail end of the board which has 3.5" of rocker. Rocker gives a surfboard its arc in profile and enables the board to not pearl at takeoff and turn more effectively.

In order to cut a narrow strip off the 10' long stringer board for laying out the stringer template I needed to create a feather board. This table saw accessory acts as a third hand by applying pressure to the side of the board to hold it firmly against the metal fence (i.e. a guide clamped to the table that is parallel to the blade). This is critical to making nice straight cuts on long materials. Here you see the feather board wood on the table.

To make clean cuts I needed to swap out the 24 tooth saw blade with this 40 tooth blade.

Getting ready for the miter cut.

The feather board taking shape.

I've cut half the fingers of the feather board now.

And now all the fingers; these allow the feather board to flex and apply even pressure as I push the board through the saw.

The feather board mounting I used to cut the narrow strip off the 10' stringer board.

And this is how I'm using the strip to define the lower edge of the stringer. Later I'll measure up from this curved line to establish the thickness of the board at each of the ribs and use the thin strip to connect the dots again.

Next post will show the transfer of the stringer template to the 10' board and cutting it out.