What you need to know in making your own board

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What you need to know in making your own board

Post  Strange 1 on Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:07 am

The Properties of a Skimboard

There are five main aspects to skimboard design; shape, thickness, rocker, rails and weight. All of these however only make a huge difference when you ride on the water. If you are only riding on the sand then none of these are extremely important.

Size & Shape

Obviously a bigger skimboard is going to float better than a smaller skimboard but there are also other considerations. You want make sure and match the size of the board with your weight and athletic ability (i.e. how fast you can run). Boards that are narrow tend to turn quicker but do not carry as far over the water. Likewise boards that are wider in the middle tend to go far out in the water but not turn very well. Also boards that are shorter tend to offer more front to back control. More important than the boards shape however is it's overall size. A larger board will turn slower but go further and faster. Likewise a smaller board will turn on a dime but you may have trouble reaching the wave!

Thickness

Thickness also contributes to how far a board travels over the water. Thick boards travel further but remember that added thickness also contributes to added weight. Also thick boards do not turn as well as thin ones. They tend to be less responsive. Time proven thicknesses are 5/8 of an inch and 3/4 of an inch.

Rocker

Rocker is the amount of curvature in the nose of the board. The purpose of rocker is to help you make the transition from the sand to the water as smoothly as possible. Obviously a lot of rocker would be desirable for this purpose but unfortunately too much rocker makes a board slow. Rocker is one of those things that varies a lot from rider to rider. Its all personal preference. On the east coast 2 inches is common while on the west coast 3 inches is common. This is because the beaches on the west coast tend to be steeper therefore requiring more rocker.

Weight

The weight of the board is pretty easy to figure out, lighter is better. It is possible to get a board that is too light especially if you live in a windy area but in general just get the lightest board that you can. One other consideration is that in extreme cases the board may be light due to the fact that the fiberglass is not saturated enough, if your making your own board be sure and use enough resin.

Tail Shape

Skimboards have many different tail shapes. The one pictured above is one of the most common, a pintail. Pintails help a skimboard to be very stable in the water. Other common tail designs are swallow (W shaped) and square tails. Both of these tails give a board more manueverability in the water. By using one of these tails, you effectively shorten the board. This gives the board a twitchy feel because front-back mobility is less constrained. One benefit of swallow and especially square tails is that they throw a much bigger spray.



How to Build Your Own Skimboard

Wood or Foam?: When thinking about making your own skimboard you must first make one basic decision, wood or foam. Wood and foam cores each have their own benefits.

Making a Wood Board:

Making a wood board is a far easier endeavor than making a foam board. Since I have never made a wood board and don't really know that much about it, I cant tell you very much.

- Obviously you are going to need a piece of wood. What kind of wood you ask? I don't know. But I have been told that mahogany plywood is best if you are not going to coat it with fiberglass and birch is pretty good for boards that are going to be covered. 3/8 & 1/2 inch thicknesses are common.

- After you find your piece of wood, you are going to want to shape it. First you are going to need to figure out what shape you want. I recommend making a trace of another board that you like onto the plywood. After you do this you can just cut it out if you want to make a "replica" of the other board or you can make slight adjustments to the shape as you see fit. Once you are *sure* you have traced out the shape you want, cut it out. Assuming you were able to cut it out smoothly, you can now begin shaping. Shaping consists of rounding off the rails and making sure all the edges make nice smooth curves. There are many different types of rails and picking which kind is best for you can only be accomplished through trial and error.

- Next you want to put some rocker into it. Rocker is the 'skim' name for the curvature in the nose (if you don't know this, please just buy one Smile ). The first step is to soak the board in water for one or two days in water. This softens the board up so that it is flexible. The best way to actually add the curvature is to use clamps. Lay the board on a table of some sort. Place a piece of wood (or other hard object) about 1 inches thick under the nose. Then clamp the board to the table. It would be best to use another piece of wood on top of the board to get the rocker to be even all the way across. Don't clamp too hard cause it will crack the wood! Leave the board for 2 days or so to dry. An alternative method is to put suspend the board by putting blocks under the nose and "tail". Then put a heavy weight in the "middle" of the board to bend it a little. The amount of rocker can be adjusted by adjusting the height of the blocks. Leave it overnight or longer.

- Finally your going to want to coat it with something to keep the water out. Waterlogged boards suck. Even wood ones. I've heard of people using all sorts of stuff to do this. You can glass it with a layer of 6 ounce cloth or just coat it. I would use some type of resin for a coat only approach. Preferably a polyester based resin (not epoxy). You can generally find resin at a marine or aircraft supply store. Once you have the resin just brush it on in a thin coat and cover everything. If you are using fiberglass you may want to put a sealer on top of the fiberglass as well. You may also consider doing this only on the bottom. When its done, sand out the imperfections in the coat and presto, a wood skimboard.


The components of a foam skimboard:


* Foam: The foam obviously makes up the core of the skimboard. The main things to worry about when choosing a type of foam are thickness and density. Basically whatever thickness foam you get will be the thickness of the board. It is possible to sand down the thickness but generally just try to get the right thickness foam... common thickness are 3/4 inch and 5/8 inch. The thickness you choose is a personal choice. Density however is not such a personal choice. A denser board equals a heavier board. However it also equals a stronger board. Denser foam as you might imagine is stronger lengthwise so it resists breaking. However the real benefit of denser foam is that is resists pressure dings. Pressure dings are essentially just dents in the foam caused (usually) by your foot. Often however these dings result in a delamination, a place where the fiberglass separates from the foam. This separation creates a weak spot in the board which is likely to be where you break it. The moral of the story... delaminations suck. To avoid pressure dings and hence avoid delaminations you want to choose a dense foam. Surfboard foam by comparison is very lightweight. The stuff the pro's use is called Divinycell. Divinycell has different densities. The good stuff is called 'H-80' while the softer but still pretty good stuff is called 'H-60'.

* Fiberglass: Fiberglass is really where the strength of the board is. Actually I take that back. Without the foam the fiberglass isn't that strong. But then again, without the foam the fiberglass isn't very strong either... So I guess it's the combination of the two that make the board strong... I suppose thats why they are called composites. Anyway, there are lots of different kinds of fiberglass cloth. There are different weaves and "weights". The "weight" is essentially the strength of the cloth, common "weights" are 4 oz and 6 oz cloth. As far a weaves go, stick with a standard cross weave to start (that is the weave that just goes back and forth at 90 degree angles). Usually you want to use 3 layers on top and 2 on the bottom. This provides a fairly strong but somewhat heavy board. Once you get better at it you can try making boards with 2 layers on each side. but be careful, they can break pretty easy.

* Resin: Two types are generally used. Epoxy and polyester. Epoxy is a little harder to work with but is better class of resin if you know how to use it. It was developed specifically to replace polyester resins by exhibiting superior strength characteristics. The main things that have kept it from completely replacing polyester resins are elevated cost and difficult usage. Resin, like foam can be found at aircraft and marine supply stores.
* Carbon: Carbon is like fiberglass except it is much stronger and more expensive. To use carbon on a board you just substitute one layer of fiberglass for a layer of carbon on each side. This will yield a stronger board at the same weight. However Carbon can cost as much as 50 bucks a yard so you might want to practice with fiberglass first. My board has Crows Weave Voyager Carbon on it....

Shaping: Shaping a good skimboard is fairly easy. Once you have the foam (which resembles a piece of plywood), just trace (trace a friends board) out what shape you want and then cut it out. Sand the rails to make them rounded. There are many different shapes for rails and boards and its amazing how much a little difference can make. Just keep practicing and you'll develop your own style.

Glassing: Glassing is, like I said, the tricky part. There are basically two approaches, the traditional method (like they shape surfboards), and the vacuum method. Unfortunately I don't know too much about glassing a board using the traditional method. All I can really say is that you find some way to put the fiberglass on the board! It surprises me how dumb I am sometimes. Obviously you have to find some way to put rocker into the board. I would suggest building a table (kind of like a mellowed out quarter pipe for skateboarding). You can lay the fiberglass on the table and then put the resin on the fiberglass (obviously the surface of the table should be something the resin wont stick to). Then put the shaped board down on the resin/fiberglass. Then lay some more fiberglass on top of the board and use resin to adhere it to the foam. Make sure to get the fiberglass deep down into the corners where the rail of the board meets the table. Maybe use some weights or something to keep it on the table and then pray that it comes out ok...

The other way which is a lot like the way described above uses something called vacuum technology. This is a technique for glassing borrowed from aerospace. Unfortunately I really cant tell you very much about it. Board manufacturers would be very upset with me if I did. I can tell you however that the technique is not top secret and you can probably figure out how to do it by spending a day at a good (university) library.


*credits, www.skimonline.com

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Re: What you need to know in making your own board

Post  teji101 on Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:31 am

wow.. thats fuckin long man. i hav read that years ago. explored the inards of skimonline.com before. hehehe.

good information about basics of skimboard making though.
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Re: What you need to know in making your own board

Post  Strange 1 on Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:39 am

idea yan ni pareng boynegro.... and skimonline naman is a very good place to do research about skimboarding...

dun din ako na padpad before when i was starting out....


and heads up lng for you guys out there who are planning to make your own boards... its ture, easy lng yan... kita nyo naman ang picture sa portal natin dba? But coming out with a "good" and "well balanced" board doesnt happen overnight... Wink

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Re: What you need to know in making your own board

Post  boynegro on Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:22 pm

hay kung saan saan rin ako napadpad sa net,,buti nalang may shop un cousin ko,,,hehehe libre ang net,,wan to sawa,,,,48"21 size nya marine plywood,,hanap ka sa lumber un may natural rocker na..babag mo muna sa tubig for 3 days taz pabigat for 2 weeks,,,pwde ng lag yn marine epoxy,,paint then top coat,,,un pwede na,,,skim na,,,
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halohalo

Post  halohalo on Thu May 21, 2009 1:23 pm

ilan oras po ba bago tumigas ang Resin?

iniwan ko un board ko overnight pero hindi pa din tumitigas un Resin... it is somehow dry pero medyo malagkit pa din
sino po nakakaalam ng mixtures/measurements/ratio ng fiber materials? HELP!
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Re: What you need to know in making your own board

Post  redline on Thu May 21, 2009 3:06 pm

kulang ka sa harderner my mixture is 90% resin 10% hardener, pag gumamit ka ng styrene if you want to spray your resin 60% resin 20% styrene 20% hardener. mix firts the styrene then hardener after spraying clean up your spray gun asap with laquer tinner pag tumigas ang resin sa spragun mo malabo ng matanggal at magamit mo pa ang sprayer mo.

eventuAlly titigas din yan kaso matagal pa vbago mawala ang lagit wash it with detergent after drying spray mo ng clear coat pra mawala ang lagit kc kung papahiran mo ulit ng resin yan it will add weight.
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