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Old     (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       06-04-2012, 6:52 AM Reply   
NOT! I posted a month ago about building my own board and was hoping for advice on size, shape, thickness, rocker, fins, fin placement, fin size, swallow tail, blunt tail..... I only got one comment. I thought there would be some shaping experts hanging around this forum. Everyone on here just talks about weighting boats.
Sorry about the rant, anyway I just decided to pretty much copy the phase five carbon X(thanks phase five for a great website with great details and pictures) I just went with 2 bigger fins instead of 3 small ones and couln not be happier after one ride on it. Its like a porshe compaired to the broadcast I was riding. Here are the build pics, and feel free to email me if you want advice building your own. Cost about $200
Gluing up blank with stringer, tracing on pattuern and cutting out
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Old     (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       06-04-2012, 6:54 AM Reply   
shapped, fin boxes routed in, glass going on and final product
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Old     (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       06-04-2012, 6:56 AM Reply   
side profile and me riding it. I wanted to see how small of a wake I could ride with it. My vlx with only 700 lbs in the center, 2 adults, an infant and 2 little girls, still rode good.
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Old     (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       06-04-2012, 8:23 AM Reply   
Looks great! Nice job! Did you make the stringer yourself or did you buy it? Where did you get the foam and other supplies from?
Old     (ReSession)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-04-2012, 8:38 AM Reply   
Matt, looks great! I've definitely wanted to try and build a board...I wouldn't be too 'peeved' about not getting many responses since there's not many guys out there actually making their own boards! So props right there...looks like you have access to a great shop??? There's only a FEW shapers that actually post here...SurfDad, Chaos...the rest of us, we're just buying boards and figuring out how to make the best waves Now I have all the same questions that Timmy has above!

By the way, how much does your new board weigh?
Old     (cowwboy)      Join Date: Jul 2008       06-04-2012, 8:43 AM Reply   
I never saw where you asked about building one. I know both jeff, and lake wakes posted out helping me.
I've built two so far one was a sheer expirement and we broke it the 3rd time out along with figureing out what we don't like.
Did you use eps? Epoxy? What stringer?
I'm gonna start on my 3rd board as soon as I finish up some other projects around the house.
You can't beat the feeling of riding your board for the first time.
I need to get the supplies to vacuum bag for my next board to really clean it up.
Old     (22vdrive)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-04-2012, 8:48 AM Reply   
Surfersteve is a great source for building surfboards and where to get supplies from. Check them out.
Old     (brewkettle)      Join Date: Jan 2009       06-04-2012, 9:07 AM Reply   
Mat, great job.
Cowboy I would work on getting yur technique down before you step up to a bag.
Old     (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       06-04-2012, 9:42 AM Reply   
2lb foam eps, $48 for a sheet of 4"x4'x12' left over from a sup i made. made the stringer from 1/4 underlayment from home depot, mostly to shape the board not strengh. Used mas epoxy, medium hardner and 2 layers of 6 oz glass. used one layer of 10 oz on the sup and was too hard to get the bubbles out of, plus I wanted a little more strengh. I teach high school wood shop so yes I have a nice shop The stringer profile came from phase fives web site, I just copied the picture to my cnc router and cut it out. My students have made canoes and kayaks so glass work is a piece of cake, and compaired to sanding wood foam is fun to shape!!! Here are some links to the canoe and kayak and a pic of the sup.
junior girl, second in the entire state od michigan
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Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-04-2012, 10:47 AM Reply   
If I had seen your post, I would have been happy to provide some advise, even supplies if needed.

Couple things that stand out off hand, are the fin boxes, do not appear to be under set or as deeply set as they are designed to be. This is why FCS sells a special jig for cutting the box shape. Very good job, and nice router control for doing it by hand. I have seen a lot of people ruin a piece of foam with a router gone astray...... However, since they are not set as designed there is a good chance your boxes will rip out.

In general, you want to lay the cloth the other direction. Cloth is woven with specific fill/warp threads, and designed to go in a certain direction. It looks like you are using very wide maybe 72" cloth designed for the boat industry, not surfboards.

Stringers, are typically glued to the foam with a polyurethane adhesives/glue. The readily available white gorilla glue is the choice of most home builders now. It looks like you used epoxy, which sort of works, but is stiff and brittle once cured. What happens as the foam flexes next to the stringer it will sheer off of and separate from the stringer in time. The 1/4" ply from the big box, sort of works for a stringer visually, but the glue line with no 'wood' would have been just as strong, in general. You teach shop, and certainly understand the center area of that stuff is just a mix match of whatever crap they can piece together and press between one ratty and one OK piece of veneer. In my experience, with folks that have done this, it is a splintery mess that is nearly impossible to plane properly and flush or ideally undercut with the foam.

As far as the shape, the outline mimics the P5 X, but is much thicker. The honest truth is the board looks OK for a first time build, but far from good. You have a lot of flat spots in the rails, and you need to need to smooth and finish shape the whole board a lot more syncing all the contours and compound curves.

I have said it before on this forum and countless others... any person with a modest amount of hand eye coordination can make a piece of foam look like a surfboard or copy something, but there is a lot more to making a piece of foam perform how it is designed to.

If you like the board, awesome, that is what is all about. Keep making more and have fun. if you want help or advise, I am happy to point you in the right direction.
Old     (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       06-04-2012, 11:10 AM Reply   
The fin boxes are flush with the bottom. The pic was before I routed it flush, I glassed over the fin boxes. I was told not to make the fin boxes too strong, better they rip out then take out the back of the board. I did go the other way with the glass, I ordered 60" wide, but it looks the same both ways. Good to know for the future, thanks. Actually the board was 1 1/2" before glasswork, so now its maybe 1 5/8', it does look thick in the pictures. How do you see flat spots in the rails from cell phone pictures??? There are no flat spots, the final hot coat does have some bubbles, I checked the board with a straight edge and there is no more than 1/32" gaps in maybe one spot.

So use just white waterproof woodworking glue to glue the stringer in? Or do you mean regular gorilla glue that foams up? I have never used wood glue on foam. The board is very stiff at 58" and 2 layers of glass plus the final coat.

I am pretty happy for my first wakesurf board. I am going to make 3 more sup's for people(no stringers) and then maybe a longer wakesurfer for a friend. Keep the info coming!!! Would a surfboard shaping book help me out? Does things from "real" surfing transfer over to wakesurfing? Rail shape, drive.....
Old     (Txjole)      Join Date: Dec 2011       06-04-2012, 11:45 AM Reply   
Board looks good, wish I had the skills to give it a try. The thread kinda came off alittle cocky at first.
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-04-2012, 2:15 PM Reply   
The fin boxes need to be strong. They are designed to stay in and the fins of FCS are designed to break off at the tabs. Whoever told you otherwise is wrong. The boxes need to be about 1/16th to 3/32th under the foam surface. Additionally, whoever sold you the boxes, sold you the wrong boxes, theoretically. Those are center boxes, designed for a center fin that is straight up and down. I suppose this is OK, if you intended for your fins not to have any cant. The rail Fusion plugs come set in 5 or 9 degree cant plugs. You can modify the cant during installation +-1-2 degrees. Generally speaking you want 4-6 degrees of cant in the driving fins, especially if you are toeing them in towards the nose as you have. The 9degree cant plugs are designed for specific fins.

As far as the glass goes it looks like there is a stitched edge at the nose which is generally opposite of what you want, however, yes at 60" wide or 72" wide you can turn it this way, but it changes the strength/flex characteristics. However, it likely makes little difference in this case.

Water curing polyurethane glue (the original gorilla glue is a water curing polyurethane, yes foaming). They make a white version now, that stays fairly white... it will yellow like all polyurethanes with exposure to UV, however.

Is that the finished blank in the picture? If it is finished, then there are clearly flat spots, what appears to be an asymmetrical tail, bump in the center of the swallow, and bumps and divots on the surface of the deck.

The nose, tail and overall board are thicker than the model x, not necessarily bad, but thicker. maybe that was your intention maybe not. The model x is only about 1" thick, so having a 1" or slightly less thick nose and tail is not a big deal, but a 1.2-1.5" nose is thick and odd looking from a modern standpoint. From a ride ability standpoint, it is likely to get hung up in the wash more than wanted. There looks to be much less rocker too. The model x has a 'flipped tip', whereby the rocker gets much more aggressive in the last 6".

Not sure how you measure flat spots across a compound curve with a straight edge effectively. You can see depressions that way. I was referring to the rails. Most first time builders rails are full of flat spots, depressions and bumps, so don't worry, but consider getting side lights.... There is a reason why shaping rooms are painted blue or dark colors and have special lighting arrangements. Bright white foam is blinding, and lighting overhead hides all the imperfections.

There are countless you tube videos these day which can help you plan your shaping experience, as well as give you insight to the tools you might want to buy or build. Most shapers in addition to typical tools like hand planes and power planes, sanders, sur forms, saws, etc. that can be purchased, have numerous jigs, and shaping tools that they built and designed to make their job easier.
Old     (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       06-05-2012, 9:36 AM Reply   
Your right about the fin boxes, I was told to do that with my sup in case it hit something. Good to know the fins will break before the boxes. I wanted center fin boxes because all the wakesurf boards I have ever seen have straight fins.

Those pics were before I gave the deck a final sand, but by no means is it 100% perfect. I went by the specs on phase fives website and my finished thickness is 1 1/2", I was also advised to go 1 1/2" by someone else. I intentionall left the nose thick and blunt because I have seen several wakesurfers smashed up from hitting the transom. The rocker should be the exact same since I went from the side profile pic on their site. I might make myself a slimer board and use this one for guests!
I used a power plane, surform tool and several other sanding tools, I have a well stocked woodshop
Added some pics, this is the biggest gap I could find, anout 1/16" on one edge. I have been hand sanding stuff for the past 24 years and have a pretty good eye, so you have to point out my flat spots.
Keep the advice coming, my next boards will be better, I will definetly buff out the hot coat more so it looks more like an automotive finish, any advice on that?
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Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-05-2012, 10:20 AM Reply   
The hot coat is not just buffed out. It depends on if you are going for a sand finish or a gloss. Sand finished boards typically have 1 or 2 fill coats. Generally, epoxy lamination requires 2 fill coats for the best finish. A gloss coat is in addition to the fill coats and requires a different resin (a non blushing 1:1 epoxy is the most common for full epoxy boards). The vast majority of board with gloss finishes that are called epoxy actually have polyester resin gloss coats. Epoxy does not finish as clean and nice as polyester, even with the specialty epoxies designed for gloss coats.

As far as finishing, you need to sand all the pits, dust bumps and imperfections out, using as fine of sand paper as possible, and progressively move to finer and finer paper, all the way to 600-1000 wet sand, then buffing compound with a power polisher, and then polish.

Alternatives are spray on or brush on acrylics and two part polyurethanes (same as clear coat on a car).

Again, not referring to the bottom of the board, but the rail outline.

Did you lap your top and bottom lamination? and where? The glass on the rails looks kind of thin. In theory, your rails, should have 3 layers of or more depending on glassing schedule, plus or minus the sanding off of some. ie. one from the bottom, two from the top is the most common.
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-05-2012, 10:29 AM Reply   
Again, going from a side profile from a picture or website, and trying to expand that to the real world is not practical from a duplication stand point. You can get close, visually close, but not the same. Again, visually, your rocker is flatter and more gradual in the picture than a model x, but it is a picture and photos 'lie'
Old     (canadawake)      Join Date: Jul 2011       06-05-2012, 10:46 AM Reply   
Great thread, lots of good info. Been thinking about taking on a board building project for a while now. This might just push me over the edge haha
Melvin, can you offer any insight into building a SUP? I think that's a great place to start, any pics and advance would be greatly apreciated.
Old     (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       06-05-2012, 11:03 AM Reply   
Email me cory and I can send you my sup build pics and my phone #, easier than explaining it all by typing.
This was my best resource, and its really not that hard. Difficult to do a perfect professional job, as you can see, but they work for me. They will get better.

Chaos, could I use spar varnish as a final finish? i believe thats what we did on the canoes and kayaks. I know it is not the proper/professional way but would it work? i really wanted this board done so I could use it. I didn't want to put a ton of time in if it didn't work, hence no paint just bare foam.
Just 2 layers of 6 oz glass on the edges, seems ok. I will ride it this summer and see how it goes and improve from there.
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-06-2012, 8:33 AM Reply   
Yes, you can use spar varnish, but the board will be yellow or tinted at first, and gradually become even more yellow/brown... you will need to sand it before applying the varnish, and it will not be a chemical bond, only a physical bond.
Old     (Chaos)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-06-2012, 8:37 AM Reply   
Probably the two best supply resources for the DIYer would be:

There are lots of others but these guys are very reliable and knowledgeable.

If looking for more eco-friendly products or suppliers, I can send info on those as well.
Old     (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       06-06-2012, 9:13 AM Reply   
Thanks, I would rather have a clear finish with some bubbles than one that will yellow or brown. I think was a pretty good site too for building info.
I would like to use nicer glass and epoxy, but for sup's and wakesurfers I think the stuff I am using is fine, If I was an ocean surfer I would definetly spend the extra money though.


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