Monday, December 5, 2011

egg crate framework: complete

It has actually been enjoyable doing this weird experimental build, I go into my shop and just cut and glue little pieces and I'm in the zone, low stress, just tooling around in my own little world LOL. Progress moves so slow you don't even think about it after awhile, hahaha. I plan on doing some more like this, trying some other variations on the theme which are floating around in my head.

I pretty much finished the framework, a couple pieces needed around the vent and leash plug. Next: seal the inside and apply the 'rice paper'. I have ordered some "polyspan" tissue, a tissue designed for lining dresses, it is synthetic, puncture resistant, water resistant, and very strong. It can be pulled tight with heat. It has a smooth side and a rough side, I'll apply it rough side out, to get a better bond with the fiberglass. I need nitrate dope to apply it, and the stuff is hard to find, I'll have to order some on internet.

Once the tissue is on, then artwork, and fiberglass it. My plan is one layer of 6 oz. fiberglass over the tissue, then see how strong it feels to see if I think it'll need more. After I glass the top and bottom, then I'll shape the rails. At least that's my plan. Then I'll glass the rails last. Its been a trip for sure, I bet there are over 1300 pieces in this thing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"the Shoji"

As the board progresses, I've decided to go for a shoji screen type of look, with some kind of rice paper or maybe silk (if I could afford it) covering, then fiberglass.

I want to add some Japanese style graphics too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

egg, Japanese flavored =)

Something different this go-around. I don't want to say too much, because really so much is vague in my mind - gonna have to make it up as I go along. But my tentative agenda is this: to try a new method I've never done before, and never seen done. Based on boards (and other related disciplines) I have seen, as an inspiration.

The idea is to make a lighter board, or more accurately, to find a lighter system / methodology of making boards - but since this one is experimental, I'm not going to worry too much about the weight of this particular board (if its successful, then I can always tweak the details to get the weight down on later iterations).

Also, this is intended to be a personal statement of sorts - dunno if I'm saying it right, but I'm not seeking to find a method that will catch on with other builders. Like most of what I do, its not likely to be very expedient, or practical, LOL.

This method will draw inspiration from varied sources, not all of which are surfboard related. I'm hoping to end up with something like a Japanese flavored egg!

Monday, September 12, 2011

discussion forum withdrawals?

Swaylock's discussion forum is not working! 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 here

Its 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

Saturday, September 3, 2011

what was I thinking?

This board was a result of several factors and influences

I wanted a board small enough to fit in the back seat of the car, but still offer the float / paddling of a longer board (like "trunk boards", but not quite as small)

I wanted to use the square tail / square nose to give it a straighter rail curve than most small wide boards, something I had also seen on the "trunk boards".

I had seen several step-decks on swaylocks, with good ride-report, and figured my rail system lent itself especially well to a step-deck.

I was curious about challenging certain assumptions, wanting to build a board with no ribs - and diverging from the common practise of running the planks lengthwise or diagonally.

Another factor was that I had read several forum posts of builders fighting to bend the deck into the compound curves that rocker / dome created on top. So I decided to design a board that has no bent pieces of wood in it, at all. This was a result of a discussion I started on tree-2-sea concerning my desire to build a wood board that capitalized on wood's strengths, without fighting to make it imitate foam in shape or structure.

I always build my decks piece by piece over the framework, so I seldom have to struggle to bend it the way others do. But in this case, the entire board was to be built of straight pieces of wood.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Craftsmanship: an archaic notion?

(thanks to Mike Torres whose picture I stole!)

What has happened to appreciation for craftsmanship in our modern society? Machines and computers aid productivity, and eliminate or minimize the human factor. Driven by a thirst for increased profit, labor is farmed out to third world countries for pennies on the dollar. By breaking craftsmanship down into menial sub-operations carried out by often underage and largely underpaid foreign minions, it costs almost nothing, and society is taught to value it accordingly.

In the industrialized nations, kids grow up playing with x-box and i-phones, a lot of 'em don't even know how to build a box-kite, or cut a dovetail or chisel a mortise - the stuff once learned in shop class, but they don't have shop class anymore at most schools, do they? For a new generation, digital entertainment has supplanted the now antiquated manual entertainment of creating physical things from human imagination. Perfection is an ideal representing the absence of the flaws of the human touch.

People can't appreciate craftsmanship when they have no real personal experience with the process. I once took a tour of Greene and Greene's Gamble House in Pasadena - tourists stood in the midst of this testament to the inspirational and uplifting power of human craftsmanship...playing with their cell phones.

Because there is very little that we touch in our modern world that is made by the hands of people in our community, we no longer need to think of what is fair for the craftsman - he is, after all, not one of us.

Often, when I speak of this, it makes people uncomfortable (and you know, if you don't like the message... kill the messenger! LOL) and they just get upset and tell me this is progress, accept it, put up and shut up, bla bla bla, which makes me wonder why they react so negatively? Really, isn't the whole issue just a sidebar to the "bigger picture" issues of standardization and mechanization and computerization as tools utilized by the powers-that-be to control the education, socialization, and interaction of human society? If you can't see that, then you won't understand whats happening to the surfboard industry anyway.

I chose to make my living with my hands (in my case, as a self-employed contractor / carpenter / remodeler). I've been watching this whole thing unfold for decades - engineered roof systems built in a factory using machinery and unskilled labor rather than on the jobsite with skilled labor (as a framer for many years, I learned the esoteric art of calculating and cutting complex roof structures, a now irrelevant skill), the cnc takeover of the cabinetry (and furniture) industry, etc. etc.

Of course, the whole process began well before me. Like maybe the late 1700's, with the advent of the first industrial revolution, and the beginning of mechanized production. Oh, and plenty of people have decried the dehumanization of this "modernization" of the creative process, like William Morris, John Ruskin, Gustav Stickley, the brothers Greene, to cite just a few. To what avail? The arguments against them have changed little. Backed by the Big Money, the corporatization of the creative process and the elimination of the "craftsman" marches on apace. Surfboard production was one of the last of the "cottage industries" to fall.

Which brings me back to what I love about homemade surfboards - the indomitable spirit of human creativity, expressed through handcrafted playthings for ourselves and our friends, for the purpose of enjoying the natural uncomputerized unmechanized pleasure of riding ocean waves! What could be better than that?

ugly duckling

finally getting back to working on this one

Monday, August 15, 2011

mermaid tales

Got her at a yardsale the other day, and sold her to a surfing buddy in Australia. But I snapped some pics, maybe I could use them for a logo or something...?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

homemade pivot fin for longboard

Wood Surfboard Supply provided the fin base, I built the fin out of redwood and pine.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

6'6" step deck, a bit experimental

I've been working on this one for awhile now, whenever I get a bit of time here or there. Small board, wide and thick (22 1/2" wide, 3" thick), with the volume of a much larger board, as the deck steps up from the rail.