That's one of the best posts I've read on Sways. Thanks for the back story. Lowel
That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.
Beautiful. Thank you for this tribute to and scoop on Ben's craftsmanship-- I deeply appreciate it. (From the generous deep-dive on board-building technique to the local places-- just hearing the mention of Tuckerton Lumber is taking me back down the shore.) Thanks for your help with dating it-- I know I was definitely still in high school so at the latest it would be 2003.
Look forward to honoring Ben & this board in the juicy waves it was designed to ride! Only wallhanging it in the interim ;)
And wow, check out your beautiful HWBs! Incredible. (Not to derail my own thread but I'm curious about the unusual design of those single fins!)
Thank you again for taking the time to share this with us.
Thank you & agreed-- the bookmatch & grain are gorgeous. No tampering here! As mentioned above, I was just curious about plausability of switching out fins with the extant boxes.
If your Dad bought it in 2003, Ben must have made it shortly after I left NJ in December 2002.
I had not yet tried internal glassing or 3 stringers at that point. I did See Ben briefly in 2005 or 6, He'd bought a house in Brick, and inside, he had a fish with just two 3.5 wide planks on the deck. Meaning same 5 parallel stringer method, 3.5 inches apart. I did not try the 3 stringer and internal glassing method, until mid to late 2004.
One of the things I did when I built my first board in his shop in late '02, was sanding all interior wood, stringers and cross pieces, to 220 grit before assembling the pieces. Ripping the wood into planks would leave saw marks and the cedar rough, which would then soak up more epoxy when one tried to seal the interior at the same stage as when one added the deck planks. I think Ben adopted this practice on future builds, and yours might be the first on which he did so.
The finplugs in Ben's board are more than strong enough to handle the lateral stress of a twin fin. If you really want to try it, but it really is a board designed for the hollow stuff, not weaker fishy type waves.
I think it's OK for the OP to derail their own thread, but will edit the following out, if you wish.
The Tubercle fins in question are designed and built/3d printed by MrMik, who has more than one thread here on Sways about his method.
The smaller center fin on my 6'11" in foreground is one of his G-whale fins, that I basically cut in half and used the top half and made it fit probox fin system. The Singlefin in the far 6'8" is his deaweeder fin, which was an attempt to keep the tip vortex smaller and not drag seaweed/kelp as the higher aspect ratio Gwhale fins do. The Deaweeder is the fin used in my avatar photo, dragging a camera behind the fin.
The 'sharky' template railfins on my 6'11" are my own design, trying higher aspect on my Shortboard. More upright, Less base but more overall area, narrow tips. Experimenting still. They are fast and loose, but less stable. A bit twitchy, very tight turning radius, a bit weird.
Recently saw a video with Kai Lenny, employing some similar template fins in his Nazare tow board, Lending some credence to the 'sharky' template.
My 6'11" that I built, is my last, and likely final HWS build, or any board for that matter, and my interests and future efforts will now lay only in fin design and experimentation on my own HWS platforms.
2020 was written off, but I hope my interest is rekindled in 2021.
So rad-- very much appreciate the fin info & the opportunity to learn from you more generally & honor Ben's work & memory.
Quick query on getting her watertight and ready after [...x...] years of questionable storage in my family's barn, addressing the following:
1) There are two little bubbles in the glass on the bottom of the board (see photo) where it's gray underneath. I'm afraid that's where the wood somehow got wet along the way.
2) Similarly, by the tail you'll see some light whiteness/texture that seems to be degradation of the glass (maybe *yikes* from teenage ignorance about rinsing the board). I'm not sure whether that needs repairing or not.
Do you have thoughts on the best way to repair these issues, if repair is necessary? There's a few scuffs I'd like to address too if you can advise on the proper resin for it.
Thanks in advance.
The one gray spot near the 'glueline' is from a hole. That hole was caused by a small brad nail driven through the plank into the waxpapered table below. That brad was used to hold the planks together when edge gluing them to make the hull panel. Again the 'edge glue' was epoxy thickened with wood flour, not wood glue like titebond or gorilla glue. The wood flour we used was actually purchased from System3 resins, but later on I used what would collect in a belt sander's dust bag, and mix in milled glass fibers when maximum strength was desirable. The finer the grit the more smooth the thickened epoxy would spread, and the color of it, sanding different wood, could be manipulated too, but not always as one expected.
I cant tell if those white spots near the 'knot' are reflections of light, or they are white spots from the fiberglass being sucked dry during the lamination process. Once the board was shaped and final sanded, the board would be sealed with epoxy. This stage was rewarding as the colors of the cedar would pop, but the exact amount of epoxy needed for one side was always guesswork. Some areas of the cedar would be much thirstier than others, and usually the areas near the knots/ burl would be the thirstiest. Ben hated to waste both Epoxy and Mixing cups, and once epoxy starts thickening one needs to stop trying to work it, or adding more atop it. Dry spots could remain dry enough to still suck epoxy from the fiberglass during lamination.
It is possible to skip the sealing stage and go right to lamination, and while this eliminates secondary bonding issues, it can cause issues when the thirsty cedar sucks the fiberglass dry.
I Don't know if Ben laminated this board himself or had someone else do it, but I think it might be the first or second board he made after I left NJ and showed him how to laminate.
Repairing of damage of these boards can be taken to extremes. Once the wood gets wet there is no removing the gray spots that form in the cedar.
My personal strategy, when I notice areas turning gray, is to scrape the entire deck of wax with an old credit card or similar, and then use sawdust to get all the wax off, then wipe the whole board with Isppropyl alcohol 'IPA' until the white paper towel shows no more residue. Then I bust out the strong headlamp and some reading glasses( I do not yet require reading glasses for reading) and walk around the board inspecting from all angles any potential leaking areas. Once found I rip off a small piece of tape, mark it, and keep going.
After finding each and every potential leaking area, I remove the marking piece of tape then confine the area of the damage with more masking tape in a parallelogram/trapezoid type of shape, and then with a precision sanding tool or a dremel, sand within the tape with 220 grit sandpaper to make some mechanical tooth. Often the tape gets damaged. I remove it and replace it before the next step.
I'll use q tips wetted with IPA and clean the sanded area. Any tape residue within will repel the epoxy, leaving 'fisheyes' which are a bit infuriating as they defeat the whole process of trying to reseal the board as they can often form right above the crack in the glass, and often as there is a contaminant pushed inside he crack which repels the epoxy. It behooves one to insure one eliminates all sources of contamination through each and every step.
So once the suspect area is confined, sanded to 220 grit and denuded of contaminants, I mix the epoxy and paint it over the confined area, a thin layer, and then remove the tape while it is still uncured.
Once it is cured, I usually come in with a razor blade and scrap the very edges of the repair, and call it sealed. When I have accumulated many many of these small spots, I will come back with some 220 grit on a flat sanding block and wet sand them totally flat with the rest of the board, then 320 and 400 and on upto as high as 1500 grit with gloved hands. Once rinsed and dried I will mix a small amount of epoxy , about 10ML or less and use a small pore sponge cleaned rinsed and dry, and smear a light coat of resin across the whole hull. The epoxy dries super glossy and I simply leave this as my gloss coat, although it cannot compare to a polyester resin gloss coat that is polished. Epoxy resin does not polish up as nicely as polyester, though one can try and some certainly achieve excellent results. If one wants to polish up epoxy I would recommend waiting 2 weeks before using any chemical such as a polishing compound or car wax atop the epoxy. On my second HWS I achieved an amazing gloss coat, only to have it turn cloudy several days after finishing.
How far you want to take any resealing/repair efforts is upto you. I just want the potential water sucking crack in the lamination sealed. I do not expect it to be perfectly smooth and as undetectable as possible. Once I accumulate many many of these small repairs only then do I sand them flat and do the 'smearcoat' of epoxy.
As far as what Epoxy to use, well, Any really. There are a whole bunch of epoxies available that I have no experience with. I have been using Apex epoxy lately, which is inexpensive as epoxies go, but it is prone to fisheyeing. My favorite resin for laminating, is system 3 clear coat resin, and then filling the weave with system 3 SB-112 resin, but these formulations are now 20 years old, and SB-112 is not easy to acquire. The Sb-112 was marketed as a 'tie-coat' in that polyester resin will both cure and bond to it. It was not prone to fisheyes and was marketed as having UV inhibitors in it. For years I only had experience with system 3 resins, and a little bit of west systems( hated). When I tried Apex epoxy, I then realized how much easier System 3 was to work with regarding resistance to fisheyes and contaminants and curing during high humidity or at temperatures well outside ideal.
I have not tried most of the other epoxy forumulations available, and have no basis for comparison, and would just recomment that you expend all efforts to introduce no contamination that will induce fisheyes, do your work in a temperature controlled environment, on days with low humidity.
Epoxy also requires precision mixing of the ratios, and in small batches is hard to mix precisely by volume. i highly recommend using a digital scale to get the 100:44 ratio, or whatever the specific epoxy you acquire dictates. Make sure it is thoroughly mixed in its precise ratio.
If you have suspected leaking areas and do not have time to do a proper sealing, then superglue can seal small cracks, but I would consider it only a temporary fix. I also like Nashua flexfix 555 tape, but perhaps not when the blues are running.
There are hundreds of ways to fix/seal any damage. It can be taken to extremes trying to make dings disappear, or just covered with tape until one has time to seal it properly.
My personal goals are to primarily simply prevent further water intrusion. My repairs can be seen and felt, and only once a lot of them have accumulated will expend the effort to flatten them, and then do another 'smearcoat' of the whole hull or deck, or both. I try to rely on the gloss of the cured epoxy rather than trying to later polish the epoxy to a glossy finish.
More recently, I've bought a rattle can of some 2 part automotive clearcoat to use as a gloss coat, but have not yet tried it, and might never, as I have no intentions of building any new HWS's, nor seeking glossy perfection on existing HWS's, as such efforts can be considered a waste of time and effort and materials, and those who might be attracted to such perfection are precisely those whose opinions mean absolutely nothing to me anymore.
Thanks for this generous and clear description.
I just want the potential water sucking crack in the lamination sealed. I do not expect it to be perfectly smooth and as undetectable as possible.
I'm with you here-- my aim is to prevent any further damage and keep the board seaworthy.
Two additional questions:
!) the little bubble over the gray area by the knot then, being likely caused by the bradnail, is not an area for concern then, if I'm following you?
2) what if anything do you make of the tiny little white dots toward the tail? They're like tiny white flecks on the surface of the board. At first I thought it was 'barn schmutz' that I just needed to wipe off, but it is not as I've wiped down the board and it remains. Whatever it is, it sounds like it'd only be an issue if it compromises the watertightness of the board (& I don't know if it does)-- in which case would I want to sand lightly and proceed as you outlined above with a thin 'smearcoat' over the area?
Thanks again for your help. I'm happy with a little patina, just want to honor and respect the board now that I'm grown and get her back out in the water to enjoy.
I only see one poorly focused photo.
If those white patches over the knot are not reflections of light, but actual white spots, then the fiberlass has peeled off the knots. Such areas in the cedar can either be very thirsty, or actually resistant to absorbing epoxy. They can also be also a weak spot.
If you tap it lightly with a fingernail if delaminated it will make a tick tick sound rather than more of a thud.
Look extremely closely with magnification at the brad hole. I think it is a possibility that water is not getting below the glass right there, but perhaps could be getting inside elsewhere and then wetting the cedar from the inside. The O ring on the thumbscrew vent, can seal poorly if it gets sandy, and at 20 years of age likely needs replacement anyway.
You can blow air inside the board, slightly pressurizing it, and while holding it pressurized, spray some soapy water over any suspected leaky areas, if it blows bubbles, bingo. A procedure likely requiring a helper.
You'll have to attach much better pics.
When I glassed those first three boards in Ben's dad's garage in Loveladies december 2002, my other friend's board I sanded first, and then wetsanded it, before adding the final layer of epoxy. This board had lots of little white flecks in the glass where wetsanded, which saddened me greatly. My 6'8" and Ben's 9'6" longboard therefore did not get wetsanded before having another coat of epoxy applied and did not have such issues.
It's possible those flecks were there from the day it was glassed, but again I'd need much better photos, and would still be relying on a memory of specks/flecks from 19 years ago for comparison.
Any suspected leaky areas can simply have a layer of epoxy painted atop, but cracked fiberglass might need fiberglass atop. Minor Ding repairs are largely the same as regular ding repairs but need epoxy, not polyester resin. They are just more obvious on dark wood than unpainted foam.