Saturday, December 4, 2010

wood surfboard invitation

All builders are invited to our Southern California shop every Saturday to see the new boards, ask questions, get tips, etc.

Workshops will be held between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM

Workshops may also be held at the beach or at other surfing- related locations.

Call ahead to see where it will be.

No purchase is required to attend!

Build methods are not limited to Brad Tucker method or Jack Young method. All wood board builders welcome including Alaia shapers, Chambered, hollow of any method etc. Bringing your current project is encouraged but not nessecary.

Brad and/or Jack will be there working on boards and ready to answer questions.

Due to liability issues we can't let anybody use the equipment.

If you are thinking about building a wood surfboard, are having problems with your build, or just want to see the shop and hang out, call to make sure we are here and we'll show you around.

The shop is in Santa Ana , CA but sometimes it will be held at other locations.
Call (714) 834-9968

Brad Tucker
Wood Surfboard Supply

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reefpoint Beach Surfboards

Reefpoint Beach, sounds like a scenic slice of California coastline - but its really just a play on the three coastal conditions that produce rideable surf: Reef breaks, point breaks, and beach breaks.

Thinking about names for my surfboard building endeavors!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

every once in awhile...

I take a break from building wood boards, and build a foam one. Well, actually, this is my first "all foam" surfboard, it was fun to make, and went a lot quicker than a wood board!

9'0" by 23" by 3 1/4", it was the second time I played around with tint, and the first time I did resin pinlines.
Based on a friend's recommendation, I'm going to buy or build a pivot-fin for it, and besides, they look cool!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

solid wood rails class-workshop offered

Since I've had and responded to many requests to explain my "bahrman rails" system, I've been thinking about how best to present/explain the system to an interested group. So after a year of using the system, I am offering a step-by-step workshop / class to interested persons. Cost will be minimal, at $15 per person. This is an online class, so all the teaching will take place at your computer, and in your own working environment whatever that is.

Bahrman rails are so named because many people asked me if my board had Jensen rails, and I had to explain it was my own rail system. So to distinguish it from any other rail systems, I began calling it the bahrman rail system. I don't claim to have invented anything new, I haven't patented or copyrighted it, and don't doubt something very similar has been done by others before. In fact, I know one shaper who posts pics online has a similar system, 'tho not identical.

With the bahrman rail system, the rails can be built first, and the strength of the board is in the rails. The rails effectively become the perimeter stringer, and a very strong one at that. Because of this, the remainder of the board can be filled in with a variety of different methods. If you normally work with foam, you can build your board with foam. The method would work well with compsand, and is probably similar to many compsand boards being made today. If you like the "fish bones" method of most hollow wood surfboards, you can build accordingly. To test the structure, I even built a board just using the rails and a piece of plywood glued top and bottom, it works fine so far.

The weight of the rails is comparable to most wood rail systems, and is dictated largely by the wood chosen. Balsa or paulownia are probably the lightest, although I have always used 2x6 Calif. redwood, sometimes combined with 1x6 cedar, because they are available very inexpensively at my local big-box stores. I recommend using an inexpensive wood that is fairly light and easy to shape for your first time. Later, once the process is understood, you may go to more expensive woods if desired.

If you want to get experimental, this is a good method to know. Because the rails carry so much of the strength of the board, the options open up for the actual remaining structure. Use your imagination. Once you understand the system, you will see that it can be modified in numerous ways, and you can proceed to customize and experiment on personalizing the process on your own future builds. A rocker table is not required for this system, but a solid flat workbench top is. Also recommended is a good set of shaping racks, like shown in the bottom picture.

This is a solid rail system, that is carved or sanded to shape. To build the rails, you will probably want to use a handheld jigsaw (which is what I use) or a bandsaw (which I would use if I had one!). Clamps are helpful, although screws can be used instead, and then taken out once the glue dries. To shape the rails, a belt sander, 4" handheld grinder with sanding disc, and power planer may be used. Although they could be shaped without power tools (carved and sanded) if so desired. Although not difficult, if you are not comfortable with "shaping" your rails, this is probably not the system for you. And you should be aware that there is a certain amount of "waste" when carving or shaping, that differs from the minimal sanding required of rails built with strips.

$15 U.S. cost of class, no refunds for withdrawal. I will set it up so that payment may be made by PayPal, credit card, or you can send a money order by mail. Everyone will have access to a step-by-step detailed explanation of the process with accompanying pictures / drawings as needed. You can proceed at your own rate, but will be expected to keep your project moving forward on a regular basis.

Classes will be conducted through a private Delphi forum not open to the public, so you must join Delphi (free), and you must be able to post pics. A separate photo-hosting site is highly recommended - like flickr photobucket or picasa, (most are free), as Delphi picture size and space is very limiting, but with a separate photo hosting site, there are no limits. I cannot answer questions very well if I can't see a pic of your project, and I will expect every student to post pics of their progress. To see if you can use Delphi and post pics, you are welcome to try my free public Delphi forum Surfers Surfing Surfboards.

I will walk everyone who joins through the process. You must have a full-sized board template (plan shape) and rocker template (stringer shape) to proceed. Because this will be a group forum, we will learn from each other also, but without the distraction of outside observers and trolls.

Registration will be open until the end of the month. At the first of December, class will begin. What you will end up with is a wood surfboard perimeter rail. You can build your board using any method you want. While the class does not concern itself with the remainder of the build, I will answer questions and discuss the options for those who desire.

If you are interested, email me at, and title your email "bahrman rails class"

- Huck

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

let's talk about it...

My new forum is for everyone who cares to discuss the designing, building, and riding of surfboards. Come join us if you'd like.
Surfers Surfing Surfboards (forum)

Monday, November 1, 2010

converting retro-fish to twinzer quad

This is a board I completed awhile back, but it hasn't been ridden much. I do recall it feeling "stiff" the few times I had it out.

So to get stoked on it again, I decided to convert it to a quad. I received some ridicule for the idea - one message board poster said "Does J.C Whitney still have those Rolls Royce radiator add ons for Volkswagons? Or maybe a continental kit for the motor lid... Quads are more than just two more fins. Ask a quad guy."

Yeah, I know, its the nerdy thing to do. All were in agreement I shouldn't do it to THIS particular board. "That's a pretty board to start cutting into, though." "I agree..., leave the other (yellow) board alone, beautiful board.

Nonetheless, I proceeded forthwith. I cut the keel fins down, so the quad fins I added wouldn't increase the overall fin area by much. I cut 2" off the swallow tails, to give it a narrower and more contemporary swallow-v. I added probox fin cups.

The probox cups need a "well" to sit in - with a hollow wooden board, there is no foam to create a well. So I had to build one out of fiberglass.

Then I set the cups in and glassed them in the normal way. While not required, I'll probably glass over them, just a little precaution I like to take.

Working on the board in my spare time, I'm getting closer to having it ride-ready, and being able to try my first and only quad-fish. Hoping its not a dog!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

coming to a rail - ization

The rails are stepped up to accomodate the rocker, once they're shaped you'll just see a fluid line.

The stringer in the center is there as a visual guide to help shape the rocker into the bottom of the rails.

a new board begun - 6'6" step deck

This one will be a bit more experimental as far as board shape - its short (for me) at 6'6", but I'll add volume in the step-deck. I was going to go 23" wide, but I'm now leaning toward maybe 22".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

hollow - I mean completely hollow - wood surfboard

I decided to push the limits on this one - so I built a board with no internal structure. Rails, top deck, bottom deck, that's it. I used redwood for the solid rails, and 5.2mm plywood from Home Depot for the top and bottom. Glassed the whole thing with 4 oz. e-glass and Resin Research epoxy, then glossed with polyester resin.

Right now its a single fin, but I plan on adding sidebites at some point. First ride report: rides solid - easy standup, turns smooth and responsive, trims well, and doesn't show any signs of riding differently because of being completely hollow. Hope to get it into some more waves soon!

The board finished at 16 lbs. complete, but weight savings wasn't high on the list of priorities for this one. I didn't hollow out the rails like I did on the mermaid board.

This was really just an attempt to utilize the inherent qualities of the plywood to create the design. Meaning the spring angle of the rails combined with the flex of the plywood dictates the deck dome and foil. No computer drawn cross-sections, no tedious cutting ribs, stringer, etc. Rough-shape the rails, glue and clamp the plywood, finish shaping the rails, that's the surfboard, glass it and ride it.

My intent also was to see just how much interior structure is needed, no way to know unless you start with none, so that's what I did. I wanted to challenge some of the assumptions that dictate wood board "fishbones" structure.

Here are some of the comments my build inspired from the internet:

Nice work Huck,

Have you considered just placing a few small blocks between your skins, rather than having a complete void ? Would it work at say 18" centers just to give it some additional strength.

Also maybe the addition of an extra layer of cloth in your lam to compensate for no ribs. Just a thought, i know we do get these from time to time.


Huck, for heaven's sake, put us out of our misery and build a nice "normal" board using your original and practical method, nice light 4 oz glass job like you do..... and, for f#*k's sake.........DON'T BLOODY PAINT IT!!


By the way bottom skins which move in and out independently as described don't promote beneficial flex instead they do what is called 'oil canning' . I've experienced it, both on yachts and surfboards and it slows them down while reducing control. . . the very worst of both worlds.

Personally I think that you are barking up a wrong tree with the completely hollow idea. Either the board will oil can or if it is stiff enough not to, will be extremely rigid.

Also completely hollow boards usually rely on performance killing dome in the deck in order to get sufficient skin rigidity to support the rider

They also reduce the direct contact the rider has with the water and the surfboard hull.

The deck and bottom need to be connected.


the biggest question mark for me is with this is... natural twisting, that might be the double edged sword. lying on the beach, it torque into a cruel picassolike facsimile of yer former creation..lets hope not,though!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

delam and filleted bonzer

Because this was my favorite board, I started using it more. And one time, just once, I forgot to take the vent plug out after use. A few days in my hot garage was all it took - major delam on the bottom!

So I had to strip and re-glass. The mermaid was gone, but I decided to paint her again, which is a bit of a project!

However, it occured to me to try something else, while I was at it. Opening the board up, and doing some weight loss surgery. Sounds crazy I know, but I did it, and am just about ready to re-glass.

longboard rebuild - broke in 2 at Malibu!

This longboard was donated to me after it was broken in two nightsurfing Malibu.

Since applying my "Bahrman Rails" method to a foam and glass board, I've been wanting to explore a little more the union of wood building techniques with conventional foam and glass surfboards.

I thought a broken foamie would be the perfect guinea pig - since many of us woodies are into it for environmental reasons, I figured salvaging a petrochemical byproduct from the landfill, and creating a surfboard from a recycled wreck would be a worthy cause.

I did not have a camera during the rebuild. So I have no "in progress" photos. Hopefully I'll get another chance to do this, and I can share my photos of the process.

I glued the two halves back together with epoxy resin. Clamped the two pieces down in place, but didn't mask it off well enough before I poured my resin,and it seeped out and ran over everything and made a mess. But it stuck together anyway, even 'tho it was a weak joint. So then I cut out a 12" section of rail on each side, and replaced it with redwood, epoxy-glued in place, then shaped the redwood to blend in. It was still a weak joint, and you could tell when handling the board.

To beef up and stiffen the repair, I cut a "stringer" slot out of the middle, about 3' long, 3/4" wide, and slid a piece of 3/4" cedar in, and epoxied it in place with 5 min. epoxy glue.

Then I cut a diamond shape out of the composite deck surface, the length of the new "stringer" (3'), and epoxied some thin redwood and cedar planks down, then blended them in once the glue dried. On the bottom, I just filled the glued repair area with bondo, sanded it, and painted it white to match.

I'm sure I've added a few lbs. to the board, but I'm not too worried about it, it still feels good.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

ride report on my wood/foam hybrid

OK, I finally got it out. Just once, in some fun small waves at Malibu. And I love it! Its not really an "easy paddler" per se, because it doesn't have the volume required for that. But it catches waves great - once its in the takeoff position, with the wave lifting the tail, it goes! Which is what I need, with the reduced paddling strength that comes with age.
I need to get some more wave time with this board, but so far I can say it catches waves well, turns and trims well, and looks to be a great, fun board! Got some comments on the beach as well, the wood rails give it a unique look.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Little Miss Understood

This board confuses people! Its wood! Its foam! But its not a compsand! I had some delam issues before I realized the board needs to be vented because of the hollow stringer - the air inside expands in the heat, and has to have somewhere to go. So that's why the deck patch looks different in the two photos - I had to replace it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

"I don't get it"

I posted pics of this on a wood surfboard building forum. This was one of the responses. "I don't get it". I told them, its a foam and fiberglass surfboard, with a hollow wooden stringer and solid wood rails. For riding waves. Don't know what there is to "get" - its not a disease or a math problem LOL!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Swaylock's withdrawals!!

Swaylock's is still down! I thought anyone might like to know that I host a Web community that the Sway's crowd may enjoy. It's called alternative surfcraft - a place to discuss homebuilt, custom shaped, hollow, wooden, compsand, foam, or any other of various and sundry alternative surfboard building methods other than factory produced surfboards.

Everyone is welcome to join in on the alternative surfcraft message boards and I look forward to seeing you there!

To join our discussions, simply go to

alternative surfcraft is part of Delphi Forums. If you've never used Delphi Forums before, you'll need to go through a quick registration (so you can post messages). It only takes a minute and it's free!

Hope to see you there, Huck

Sunday, May 9, 2010

foam vs. wood?

Someone asked me recently, What is the difference between a styrofoam and a hollow wooden surfboard? That's a bigger question than I could answer in just a few paragraphs, so I just put some of my random thoughts on the subject together.

Surfboards have been made primarily out of foam and fiberglass, since about the 1950's. Its light, strong (enough), easy to shape, looks good, and because its the acceptible norm, its easy to sell.

But, its a polluting synthetic petrochemical by-product, and in reality only lasts a year or so under normal conditions.

Wood, on the other hand, is a natural product, non polluting, and a properly maintained wood surfboard will outlast a styrofoam board ten to one, or more.

But, hollow wood surfboards are heavy - heavier anyway - say 10-17 lbs. compared to 7-12. The new EPS foam boards with epoxy resin are getting down in the 5 lb. range. Awesome how light they make 'em. But, they're fragile as heck. (Now, there are guys like Brad Tucker of Wood Surfboard Supply, Inc., shown in the picture, who are building with balsa and paulownia and are getting their boards very close to the weight of foam boards.)

Pro surfers don't care how fragile a board is - they get their boards for free. And the board manufacturers like surfboards to be fragile, because the more fragile they are, the quicker you'll have to buy a replacement. Environmental responsibility is not high on the corporate surfboard manufacturer's list. And most surfers want to ride what the pro surfers are riding, because, after all, the corporate advertising is telling us constantly that we have to mimic the sports superstars in order to be "cool". Now, no surfboard (that I'm aware of) is 100% "green", but longevity of the product is a huge factor in how environmentally responsible it is. If surfboards last 10 times longer, that's 1/10th the pollution, landfill waste, etc. You see the difference it makes.

So that's kind of the deal. Wood is natural, longer lasting, non-polluting, but heavier, and less 'corporate-advertising cool'. Surfing wise, I don't really see a noticeable difference in the water. After all, when you combine weight of surfer and board together, the few pounds difference is a small percentage of the overall picture.

Oh yeah, and hollow wood surfboards take at least ten times as long and are ten times harder to make. You could shape a foam surfboard blank and glass it with UV resin and have it in the water the next day. A good shaper turns a foam blank into a surfboard in a couple hours. A wood board is built over a period of weeks, as a general rule. By a backyard builder, way off the corporate grid.

And I might mention here, CNC has taken over a large portion of the corporate manufactured surfboard market, as well. Foam surfboards are now being shaped by computers, they just sand 'em and glass 'em and stick a popular logo on and send 'em on down the assembly line, knowing the kid's'll buy 'em up!

And I might as well mention also, the foriegn labor syndrome has made huge inroads into the American surfboard industry. Workers in impoverished areas are paid $2/hr (or less, depending on who you believe) to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, one day off a month, room and board provided by the mf'r. (rent and meals is deducted from their paycheck). 12 hours a day these guys spend in a little cubicle making surfboards that they haven't got a clue how to ride or probably even what they're for, day in and day out, sunup to sundown, for subsistence wages. Ship 'em off the U.S. with any logo you want "Malibu Surfboards", "Aloha Surfboards", you name it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

can't leave well enough alone

It's been awhile since I've posted here, I could come up with a variety of excuses. Like, why does my computer make me log in every time, even 'tho I click the "remember me" box, it never remembers me! Arrgghh! And then, if I kept an update, I'd have to admit that I'm tinkering with my latest board simply because I can't leave well enough alone! OK, so that's what I'm admitting.

I finished the blank, and wanted to glass it, but didn't have the money for glass and resin. So it sat there, staring at me. So I cut it in half, and added a wide stringer cut from a redwood 2x6 and hollowed out like a chambered board.

Now I've decided to try to figure a way to get some wood planking on the deck, and around the rails. On a foam board! A lighty whitey!

I do seem to have a knack for making everything more difficult!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

the "f" word...

(hahaha - thanks for the play on words there Squalyboy!)
...yes, that's right, its FOAM.

I'm taking a break from building wood boards to shape a foam blank surfboard. I won this blank at a raffle at the Surfing Heritage Foundation, and promised to build a board from it. I was gonna try compsand (wood veneer over foam), but decided just to shape and glass it as a foam board.

Its a whole different experience from building a wood board. I'm sure I'll get back to building with wood, but this is a great learning exercise. It's an egg, 7'0" by 21" by 3".

Monday, April 12, 2010

selling my scraptacular fish!

I put my wooden fish up for sale on ebay, you can check it out here. I hate to part with this board, I love it, but my wife says if I'm gonna keep building these (I've started two more), then I gotta start making some money from 'em, hahaha. Why is she always thinking about paying the bills, I wonder?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

two more for the quiver!

finally completed these two! Now my shop can be freed up to begin creating again!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

studying under the master

I recently had a chance to attend a surfboard design class / seminar under the leadership of longtime shaper Bill Thrailkill. Bill has shaped for Velzy (1960), and later shaped for Challenger, Hobie, Hansen, Surf Systems, Surfboards Hawaii, and also as Thrailkill Surfboards. He also did some contract shaping for Lightning Bolt.

The seminar was held at the Surfing Heritage Foundation in San Clemente, which houses a museum of 100 years of surfboard history.

In attendance were about 18 serious board-builders, most of them backyard shapers like myself, and one other wood-board builder besides myself.