Making stuff

Personal Projects

How I spend my time outside of a typical workday

Hollow Core Wooden Surfboards

When I first got into woodworking, I told my father I wanted to make a guitar. He suggested I start with a box. So this is the story of my first box.

It was 2007. Clark Foam, the world's largest supplier of surfboard blanks, had closed its doors just two years earlier. The cost to buy even a used surfboard had skyrocketed. From this example of the law of scarcity, emerged a new kind of surfboard shaper, a builder. I jumped into the community and started down the path of research and fabrication. 

For this project I used a surfboard shaping software CAD product called Aku Shaper to design the boards profiles. I then used adobe illustrator to take the output from the CAD and clean the lines up for feeding to a CAD assisted router. It was then a task of gluing up the pieces and sanding them into a surfboard. 

One of the more difficult challenges was figuring out how to run a vent into the air chamber of the board. It needed to be durable and easy enough to stand up to regular long term use. 

I accomplished this by drilling out the center of a redwood dowel to a specific depth, and using a threaded insert and screw to seal the port while in the water. I originally used a hex screw for this, but after misplacing the hex key, I switched to a standard headed screw that could be turned with a penny.

This was the result hundreds of hours of research and experimentation (and some very bad boards.)