What Do I Need?
• Plywood 1/2" Thick x 6" tall x (board length) long or 4'x8' sheet (for spine)
*For 8’+ longboards, you can use an 8’ length and patch it together. See Pg 7
• 1/8" Luan door skin/thin plywood/underlayment 4' x 8' sheet (for ribs)
• (8) lengths of cedar (Board length) x 1/4" to 3/16" thick, 6" wide (for
bottom and deck skins) *you can purchase (4) 1”x 6” thick cedar planks
and rip them into (2) thinner pieces, then plane to desired thickness or
ANY combination of widths adding up to 24” wide when glued together (or (30" wide for the SUP)
2”x4”s can be used but it just takes a lot of ripping and planing.
• (1) 6"Wide x 3/4" thick (thicker for SUP) cedar board to cut into rail strips. See pg. 14
• Gorilla glue or comparable (Epoxy if you have the money)
• 1 can of Elmer’s Spray Adhesive or comparable (to glue blueprints to materials)
How much does all this cost?
Well, it depends a lot on your local prices and your choice of wood (reclaimed lumber saves you a lot of money) but locally I can get all the material from Lowe's or Home Depot for a bout $200 which includes resin and fiberglassing matting.
• Dewalt Handheld Jig Saw (Or comparable)
• Table Saw
• 12" Table Planer
• Handheld Planer
• Small Block Plane
• at least (20) medium/small spring clamps
• about (20) 8" to 24" bar clamps
• (11) or so Pine 2x4s (2 at board length- for rocker jig, pg 8-9)
• 4' length of 4x4 (for ripping jig, pg 10-11) Be sure its straight and square!!!
• 2'x2' thin Luan plywood (for ripping jig)
• Rubber gloves (Gorilla glue is very difficult to get off of your skin!)
Choosing the right wood:
Choosing the materials for your new board can be tedious in itself, deciding which species to use and then finding workable stock will take some searching around. I highly recommend using cedar for these boards due to its light weight, mold resistance, and strength. Pine can also be used to save money, as it is cheaper and stronger than cedar, but weighs a bit more. Thin luan sheets can be used for decking, but the frame should also be filled with foam to reinforce and avoid soft spots on the deck. Luan also poses a problem with shaping the rails since the plys will show as wobbly stripes, and the lack of thickness give you less leeway while shaping. I have not experimented with other woods for this construction method, though I am pretty sure that redwood would work, but Balsa is too soft. Hardwoods such as Oak and Maple could be used, but it might turn out to be VERY heavy.
In any case, I recommend using knot free pieces when possible, as the knots have a tendency to get knocked out while planing, and make it more difficult to get a consistent rail, although you can replace any knots that are knocked out by wetting and rolling up planer shavings and gluing the material into the hole. Also, be sure to find pieces with minimal splits and blemishes, and as straight as possible. Luan door skin, underlayment OR comparable thin plywood should be used for the RIBS, and a good knot free sheet of 1/2" plywood should be used for the SPINE. Solid wood should not be used for the ribs and spine, as they have much more tendency to split and flex. Plywood is a lot more rigid for its size since it is made from several layers of wood stacked in cross grain patterns.
You are only as good as the tools you are working with. You can find out the hard way (like I did) or take my word for it. A cheap scroll saw will give you wiggly wobbly cuts, and dull blades will just make the work harder for you and more dangerous! I just upgraded to a nice solid DeWalt tool setup, and I cannot believe the difference in workability! Be sure to get a nice set-up and keep you tools clean and sharp.
Take your blueprint files to the local print shop to get a copy printed out, either get 2 copies (one for cutting and one for rail reference) or just one if you have computer access to check out the rail layout on the original blueprint file if needed.
If you are using the "tiled" version of the blueprints to print on your home computer, you will need to tape the sheets of paper together. The best way to do this is to lay your piece of plywood out on a pair of saw horses and mark a nice straight line down the entire length of the board. This will be your reference point for lining up either the horizontal line that is printed across the sheets, or edges of each sheet of paper. This will help you lay each sheet nice and square across the length. I prefer to start at one end of the lumber, laying the first sheet down and lining it up. Tape the top edge of the paper to hold it in place, then fold the sheet up, spray some glue on the wood, and then set it in place. Each sheet should overlay its neighbor until the cross hatch pattern lines up. You can repeat this process until your plans are all laid out to your liking.
My father always told me, "Don't be in a hurry to be a failure". This has helped me find the patience in most every project I have taken on, whether it be mechanics, art, or woodworking. This dedication can be seen in the construction details and finishing touches that make each board a work of art as well as a useable tool. The primary material used in construction is cedar, a very light weight wood with a variety of textures, colors and grain, providing excellent contrast and distinct patterns.
I have made surfboards of most every style and shape with various construction methods including foam, chambered wood, balsa, and pine, all of which have their pros and cons. All of these techniques and ideas have been combined to produce a board that is as fun and rewarding to build as it is to ride. Not as light as a foam board, but lighter than a comparable chambered board. They are more rigid and durable than most and, with proper care, a truly Timeless Design than can be cherished for many many years.
Hey!! You got this far. Here is a free Classic D-Fin Template!
(Set on a 1' grid, right click and save)