Customer’s Building Questions
What board thickness are you starting with for the decking?
I aim for 5.5mm panels on the top and 4.5 mm bottom. I do very little sanding after my panels are installed on the board because they have already been run through a thickness sander. Depending on your skill level and the tools you are using you will have to decide if you are going to sand your panels when they are still flat on the assembly table or just before glassing starts.
What is your milling procedure for the top and bottom panels?
I start by milling the boards into narrow planks. I do not dress my lumber at all before this step. There is no set measurement I use as every piece of lumber is a slightly different width and I divide it into equal width parts to begin with. Make sure you add the kerf waste to this initial math. I run the milled boards through a planer to roughly the correct thickness (+1-2mm). I have a thickness sander so I am not too exact at this point because it is easy for me to achieve the a desired thickness after the glued panel. At home It is probably easier to plane your boards to the correct thickness first and then glue up the panel in smaller sections allowing you have better control of the vertical misalignment. Since you are glueing up the panels on your assemble table you can simply add weights to keep everything aligned.
You mention the “outline template” in the layout marks section. Is this supplied with the kit or frame?
The outline template that I use in the tutorials is emailed to you when you buy either the CNC fishbone or PDF plans. I send this with the first confirmation email that I send after your purchase. If you didn’t receive it or notice it at the bottom of the email, I am happy to send it again.
How thick should I make the nose & tail blocking?
I start with 1.5″ material. The blocking at the very nose of the ELEVEN2 is about 1/2″ thick and it tapers to about 1 inch closest to the blocking-rail joint. The height rail measurement is just transferred to the solid blocking by scribing a line along the rail with the blocking held in the other hand. I use this scribed line as my starting thickness and run already curved block through the tablesaw to remove the bulk of the excess. The roughly shaped blocking is shaped by hand after it is attached to board so there is very little measuring.
Have you had problems with small knots in the bead and cove rails?
The rail strips cannot have knots because they break as they are being machined into 1/4” x 3/8” strips. The easiest solution is let them break and then scarf the two pieces back together after cutting out the knot. These 3/8 of an inch scarf joints looks fine on the finished board as long as they don’t line up vertically. I join the two pieces as I attach them to the board with the scarf helping hold the flexed piece in position. The bead/cove joint also helps keep everything aligned before tape of a clamp is added for support.
MY question is the tape on the rail. Do I wait until after the hot coat has tacked up to trim off the tape and cloth with the razor?
I usually try to score the cloth with a razor between the lamination and hot coat (90m-2hrs). I hot coat over the same tape with the glass already scored. IN the past, when I have been unable to do this it is harder to score the cloth but you can still do it the next day if you need. Ideally if you laminate right after dinner you can hot coat before you go to bed and the shop should be cooling off as the epoxy dries.
I intend to add a sail turning it into a windsurfer. Have any of your customers done that before?
Yes, but I haven’t received any feedback on how well it worked for them. Fanatic and JP Australia both have a threaded mast insert (8mm x 30) standard on all their SUPs so it must work ok. The threaded insert would be very easy to install and reinforce the board for but I do not windsurf so I cannot comment on the placement of the mast, etc.
Will the 10.5″ Future fin box accept other brand SUP fins?
Yes. A 10.5” fin box is the standard box used on all surf and paddleboards over 7 feet and there are 1000’s of fins to choose from.
Do I have to cut the part named “gusset” or I leave it?
The gusset is NOT part of the finished board. The gusset is there to strengthen the fishbone during construction and prevent the spar from flattening, losing rocker when the bottom panel is attached. I remove it after the rails are built but you can safely remove it after your first 4 rail strips are attached.
I want to do a TEN from the plan of the TEN 6, which rib do you suggest I remove?
I do not suggest you remove any ribs. All of my shapes are copies of proven foam shapes that are worth building out of wood. The different boards are completely different and do not share any of the same pieces. If you want a 10’ board, it would be best to buy the 10’ size but for whatever reason you really want to shorten this shape I guess (I have never done this and never will) I would remove one near the middle. Fold the paper outline and see how things look 6” shorter.
How much wood will it take to cover the frame?
I usually buy 5 true 2×6’s that are 12’ long. This yields more wood than you need but it allows for some artistic choices. Not all pieces of wood look ascetically pleasing next to each other so it is nice to have options. You could use Guillemot Kayaks Strip Planked Boat Material calculator if you want to be really exact but please note even the calculator recommends adding 20%.
What do you think about using Marine plywood as the outer skin?
I have never used plywood on the exterior but many small boats use 4mm Okoume plywood. I recommend testing a small piece before committing to building a whole board this way. You will probably know by simply flexing a sample over a couple of ribs is this a good idea. Most plywood shapes are very boxy; it is my guess that it is hard to consistently bend plywood and the companies with plywood shapes were not trying to emulate the Stealth Fighter?
Where should I locate the transition line?
I like to locate it as far outward as I can because I think the deck looks nicer when done this way. I see how far outward I can go by flexing a stick that is the same thickness as the top panel but has the grain running in the opposite direction. The change in grain direction makes the stick harder to bend than the real panel will be and provides a safety margin. This tutorial on installing solid blocking has a couple of pictures of the technique I use as there is no set position as every piece of wood is different.
Should I use epoxy to seal the inside of the board?
I seal the insides with the same epoxy I am going to use on the outside-thinned 25% with denatured alcohol. The ratio is 2:1:1. Equal thinner to the hardener if using 2:1 epoxy.
Can I use Balsa blocking?
Sure. I use cedar and foam in my shop but if you have access to Balsa, even better.
I see in your vids that you are installing your handle and plugs after the hot coat. Is it better to do it that way or can I do it after the lamination?
It is perfectly acceptable to do it either way but I do it after the hot coat for two reasons. The main reason is I add my second fill/hot coat 2-3 hours after the lamination coat and do not let the lamination coat fully cure. This saves sanding between coats as I get a strong chemical bond between the first two coats of epoxy. The second reason is if you install inserts after the lamination coat it is hard to remove 100% of the black insert dust from the waffle-like weave of a lamination coat. After the fill/hot coat you have a smooth surface and can just wipe it off.
Do I have to worry about internal pressure in the board as I seal the outside with epoxy?
Yes. I drill 1/8” pilot holes to locate my inserts before I glass so the board is NEVER completely sealed during the glassing steps and before the vent is installed. I also drill holes 2” in from my fin box blocking to eliminate any chance of missing of the fin blocking. After the first side is glassed I reopen the holes and flip the board. On small boards like the 7Eleven the fin box blocking might be full thickness so you might only have one pilot hole to use as a vent but on larger boards like the ELEVEN2 where the fin blocking doesn’t extend the full thickness of the board it is easy to always have one hole open during construction. If the board is completely seal at any point during glassing DO NOT take the board outside to bake in the Florida sun!
My plan is to start glassing with the room hot and then turn on the air conditioning so it will go from hot to cold. Maybe that is enough?
That sounds like a reasonable plan. The fear of the room warming up is to prevent air that is trapped in the wood from releasing under the lamination. This causes tiny bubbles to rise as the resin cures. To avoid this, I usually warm-up my room to about 80 degrees fahrenheit (27c) for 1 hour and then turn off all heat and fans. I would leave the AC off for the final Gloss Coat, as any air movement will increase the chance of debris landing on the sticky surface. I also turn off florescent lights after glassing as they seem to attract dust and bugs.
Can I purchase a fin from you instead of trying to construct one?
I do not sell fins since they are readily available for less than I could sell them for. Here are links to a few that I like: 10” fins like this one are good for surfing because they turn easily. 9-10″ Hatchet fins are also great for tracking in a straight line if you are using you board for fitness or touring. If you want something fancier: If you are paddling through lots of kelp a fin with a slack angle will shed the debris better or if you want more performance/flash go for something like this two tone carbon offering from Future Fins.
Can I use clear Spruce for my side rails? Or clear Pine? Or Hemlock?
I only have experience bending cedar but usually i only have to steam (clothes iron on damp rag) my first few rows. I do not foresee a problem bending a 1/4” x 3/8” strip of Spruce, Pine, or Hemlock but you could easily test a piece first without glue. I think it is a good idea to use a wood that is similar in colour to the top deck as it will hide any mistakes and not highlight them.
Can the top and bottom of the board be flat sawed and what is the availability of yellow cedar for the accent pieces like?
Can I build my whole board out of Yellow Cedar?
I am assuming that the Eleven2 requires about 13 feet of clear, straight grained cedar for the rails.
You do not need thirteen foot lengths of wood. I usually buy twelve foot lengths and cut off any checking before I start milling. The longest rail strips go on first and the ends are later cut off when you install the solid blocking. If you start with lumber that is 6″ longer than your board you will be fine.
I found a fibreglass supplier online that is way cheaper than any store in Calgary, the only thing is that is says the E cloth is 3.7 oz. Is this the same thing in your opinion?
In terms of the Silver Tip epoxy which hardener would you use, the fast or slow?
Would you suggest I purchase the wood now and resaw it so it can dry out for 2-3 months?
It is never a bad idea to mill early but honestly the 1/4” thick lumber will be as dry as needed in the time it will take you to build the board.
Do you mask the box, handle, plug and vent with painters tape when installing them, and if so how long would you leave the masking in place before trying to remove it?
I’m also concerned (having read around the subject) about amine blush and the need to remove that at every stage?
Could you please help me by confirming I have the correct order to the stages in the process? Cheater coat, Rice paper art placement, Lamination coat , Hot coat, (Fin box, handle, leash plug and vent) installation, Gloss coat, Varnishing.
The order is correct. I also sand the whole board after the inserts are installed in preparation for the Gloss coat.
When you say roughly four weeks to build, how many hours a day are we talking?
I have never accurately timed building a board I have many projects on the go at once but it would be possible for me to build a board in approximately 40 hours. I would plan on it taking you longer as I have done this many times and have all my jigs, etc already made. The excellent thing with this project (I also have two kids) is most of the steps are very short and there is no problem starting and stoping as your schedule permits.
Can I use Beatle Kill Pine?
I have planned on trying Beattle Kill Pine myself but have never had the opportunity. My only reservation so far with the Beattle Kill stuff is the blue staining isn’t consistent through out the wood. Structurally this isn’t a problem but visually book-matching would be a challenge. Western Red Cedar is my favourite because it is really light in weight and has huge variations in colour allowing me to build boards that all look different, plus it smells great!
I would like to resaw the planks at the present 12 inch thickness to reduce the amount of panel joints. Is it possible to resaw this thickness accurately?
Where can i source epoxy resin and whats the costs?
Where do I buy SUP fins in Canada?