Hey, I love wood boats. A lot. But sometimes I get distracted. Like this spring when our friend Greg Loehr brought a couple Stand Up Paddleboards along on our wooden boat regatta. I was skeptical, but I gingerly climbed aboard one and paddled it around a bit. Damn it all. It was really fun.
Then Greg, former rad surfer, rebel board designer and shaper, heretic epoxy chemist, said, “Well I can show you how to make them. Let’s make a fleet of them. It’s easy.” Double damn it.
We started out on Friday morning with a very large block of foam. Six-and-a-half cubic yards of foam. We took some scrap lumber, screw-eyes, nichrome wire, and an old extension cord and hooked it all up to Greg’s Frankenstein machine, the Variac. Using Greg’s masonite templates, we sliced up the giant block.
We jury-rigged a huge blade into my jig saw and cut out the perimeter of the slices. And then Greg showed us how to true them up with his way cool ancient Skil 100 planer–the tool of the trade for pro board shapers. Tool lust–I need one of these.
Next step was to cut symmetrical bevels–called bands–along the edges. Then break the bands into nice curves and sand them smooth.
Saturday got off to a slow start as we got fussy with our graphics, masking out cool lines, spray painting gradients, forcing my recalcitrant printer to make pretty logos on delicate curly rice paper, etc. Greg showed us how to make cool hawaiian flower patterns out of paper stencils and spray paint.
With the paint on, we rolled the boards over and put a couple layers of six-ounce fiberglass cloth.
Sticky time. Mix up a bunch of Resin Research KwikKick CE epoxy, Purple Haze variety, complete with optical brighteners, UV stabilizers, the mysterious Additive F, a few other secret ingredients, and slather it on all four boards. That was it for day two
Sunday, day three, started a little rough. First we had to get over the annual AzRA Boatfolk’s Christmas party (a low-key, stodgy affair) of the night before. A few highlights…um, make that lowlights:
What better way to recover than to grind fiberglass? With yesterday’s edges smoothed, it was time to lay up the topsides with three layers of glass and our cool artwork.
By late afternoon they got hard enough to roll them, cut in the fin boxes and, once they set up, roll the boards back up and put on the handles. The LiftSUP handle required me to invent a router jig, but it worked slick. Then let them kick for the night.