Surf Forever Dude – Making a Wooden Surfboard Phase 4

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Well, Jimbo and I have the majority of the deck done, and it looks nothing like a surfboard.

The last time I posted, we had been methodically adding strips of wood, one at a time, on the right and left sides of the board, hoping to someday reach the rails. It’s impossible in these situations to have perfect joints. One strip of wood wants to move west while its buddy wants to move east. The other side of the family wants to go north while their buddy wants to go south. We’ve got high spots, low spots, glue all over the place, and no shape of a surfboard in sight. Jimbo’s daughters are by this point looking suspiciously at us like, “Are you sure that’s going to surf?”  

Patience, grasshopper.

Seriously, This Looks Nothing Like a Surfboard

So we reached the rails and now it’s time to turn the board over and start on the bottom. Seriously, this looks nothing like a surfboard. Calmly surveying the situation, I surmise that the bottom is quite different from the top. The top, from the stringer on, starts dropping toward the rails, ergo you need to use the 1” strips that can kinda bend both ways – up toward the nose and down toward the rails. You wouldn’t be able to do that if the wood strips were 6” wide. But on the bottom, a surfboard is basically flat with a rocker in the nose and some lift in the tail. Were those Coronas really worth it, Jimbo? Just because I was watching the U.S. Open was no excuse! You should have asked for my help… Um, yeah.

So we decide to cut down on the numerous after-work sessions by starting with a 6”-wide strip of quarter sawn white oak. Now we get to be creative. Stretch wrap is out because we can’t go under the ribs anymore.

Get more clamps!!! And wood, too – pieces of 1 by 2 all different lengths, and hurry up!

The Bottom of the Board, We Agree, Is Going to be Done With Perfect Joints – Ish

surfboard clamp cityIn our anticipation of going gangbusters on the bottom of the board, we were not prepared for the immediate necessity of the aforementioned pieces of 1 by 2, and the scramble is on. Glue’s drying, beer’s getting warm, and we look like the Keystone Cops. But one thing we agree on is that the bottom is going to be done with perfect joints. We learned our lesson on the deck. And after all, the bottom is the key for whether a board surfs well or not. The deck is for looks. Which will be very cool once it ends up on my wall…

On either side of the white oak, we’re back to the 1″-wide strips like on the deck, using afromosia from a job we did at Miller Woodworking a few months back. It’s a West African wood, FSC certified so no blood diamonds were used in its purchase, and man is it strong. It doesn’t want to bend if you haven’t pre bent it. Remember the patio and side yards necessary for proper pre-bending? So this stuff really can take the rocker out of your board – which means you’ll end up with the ironing board-shaped piece of crap you shaped as a kid when you cut down that old log your dad had, or that you found behind that house when no one was looking.

And After Another Surfboard Work Session, It’s Time to Sneak Head Home

Speaking of no one looking, that’s what I was hoping for. Working with all these clamps and 1 by 2’s and Coronas, I had completely lost track of time, and I might have been a tad overdue by the time I headed home. So I boldly strode up the driveway, manfully took the steps up onto the porch, and, when I stopped, listened, and didn’t hear anything, tried to sneak in.

God I hate it when she locks the door.

I can’t believe I failed in my quest to use my ninja-warrior strength and stealth to slip into the house undetected. After all, this is Olympic time. Step up to the plate. Bring it on. Be more than yourself!

So I did the next best thing and blamed Jimbo. What are friends for?

At the end of the day, I did notice the joints on the bottom are turning out much better – and yes, grasshopper, patience is the key.

The rails are next. Does anyone know where we can get cheap balsa? We need 3 by, if we can get it, but wow! Not gonna be cheap, bruddah.



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About Brad

Brad Baker is Vice President of Operations at Miller Woodworking in the Los Angeles area, designers and builders of custom cabinetry and interior millwork for the rich and famous. They make the impossible, and their work has been featured in fancy schmantsy architectural glossies more than a few times. All that high end creative stuff aside, he maintains a strong spiritual belief that the real sign of a good woodworker is all 10 fingers. He and his wife Ann Baker co-write for HomeFixated. Ann is CEO of Publicity Pros, a firm that provides “All Things Publicity” services and training for small businesses. She’s a hopeless nerd who revels in anything and everything having to do with the technology of attracting attention. And, no joke, she loves to bake.

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