Remember the rules for the Hotseat Threads: You ask the questions. The guest answers them. No exceptions. And mind your manners. In this format Mr. Loehr is our guest. (And shapers who might be asked to join us in the hotseat in the furture are watching. Don't scare them away.)
Bio: Home town, Cocoa Beach, FL now living in Tucson, AZ. Built my first surfboard in 7th grade shop class at 12 years old in 1964.
Became involved with Swaylocks about 15 years ago at the invitation of Jim Phillips. Back then it was all pro builders.
Jr. member of the Dewey Weber surf team in the 1960's, surfing and traveling with Mike Tabeling, Dewey Weber, Nat Young and Harold Iggy. Sebastian Inlet early days were unbelievable. Built garage boards with Tabeling and my good high school buddy Scott Busbey today of Natural Art Hatteras. Traveled with Gary Propper and Hobie surf team in 1971, East Coast and CA. Had a model built by Hobie, Greg Loehr Seaboard shaped by Terry Martin and Mickey Munoz. Got my first mag photo's published, Larry Pope photos. Placed second behind Charley Baldwin in the East Coast Championships. Dyno surf team 1972, traveled with David Nuuhiwa, Corky Carroll, Charlie Baldwin, Mike Armstrong, Kem McNair. Represented the US in the 72 World Contest in San Diego.
1969, worked for Morgan Yacht on the line. First experience in production composite manufacturing. 17 years old.
Lived in Cape Hatteras for most of a year doing odd jobs (garbage man for the park service and dish washer extraordinaire) and building a few boards. 1973 Catri surf team, Traveled with Catri, East Coast, CA and Hawaii. Started board building professionally at the Catri Factory with Johnny Rice, Larry Pope, Tommy Maus, Richard Price and Fred Grosskrietz. Surfed my first winter on the North Shore and was invited to the Duke Classic. My first heat was both Aikau brothers, Barry Kanaiapuni, Ben Aipa and a very young Shaun Tomson. Shaun and I got schooled. Roommates with Rick Razmussen, lots of good surf days. Built boards with Michael Peterson that winter, MP shaped, I glassed. Also glassed for Reno Abellira, Barry Kanaiapuni and Owl Chapman. Rode some awesome boards shaped by Owl too.
Took over shaping at Natural Art 1974 from Pete Dooley who became a very savvy business manager. He promoted NA to the largest surfboard company in the history of the East Coast. Won the East Coast Surfing Championships in 1974 and the IPS Lacanau Pro in 1978 while with NA. Shaped there until 1980.
Shaped at Ocean Avenue and for their incredible surf team through the 80's, Matt Kechele, Jeff Klugel, Jacky Grayson, Tim Briers, Bill Hartley, Lewis Graves and many more. We won every team event for 10 years and consistently had 10 of the top 12 ranked surfers in the fledgling APS Pro Tour. Development of the first thinner, narrower, concave three fins started there with Bill Hartley and Mike Notary in about 1985.
Shaped at Fox Surfboards and started development of epoxy resins for surf and windsurf boards in 1981. Opened Resin Research Inc. in 1982.
Windsurfed through most of the 80's winning some events including the Sundek Pro. With Ed Angulo and Randy French ran the Aruba Hi Winds, a Professional Windsurfing Association tour event for three years.
Have shaped over 35,000 surfboards. Glassed thousands, glossed, sanded, as well.
Was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 2000.
Built my own board brand, Loehr Design, till 2002. Retired.
Moved to AZ to concentrate on Resin Research in late 2002. The Clark Foam closure of in December of 2005 changed the business forever, made us a production OEM supplier. And then just when we thought we were busy SUP happened. OMG! Our business exports to 15 countries along with our 12 US distributors. We have manufacturing facilities in Tucson, Arizona, Guangdong, China and Melbourne, Florida. Today we offer 48 different resin formulations and 11 hardeners. From our start in the board industry we've branched out into numerous other industries but I'll always remember my roots which brings me back to Swaylocks.
OK, boys, ask away.
OK, to get the ball rolling... One of my favorite things about swaylocks is the pictures - would love it if you could share a few of: you surfing, hanging with the surf gang back in the day, boards you have made, and collector boards in your personal collection.
Would like to know your opinion of glassing polyurethane foam with epoxy resin - I have heard some frown on the practise.
And would like to know what your current viewpoint is of the best way to seal an eps blank for glassing?
Thanks Huck. I'll post some pictures from my computer at work when I get back. I'm in FL right now, just finished Surf Expo. Just finished development of our new Ultra resin so Sam Barker and I mixed a drum and Sam glassed a board for himself at our FL factory. Came out nice. Tomorrow is Golf with Ed Angulo, Don Bowers and Steve Walden, should be fun. Tuesday I fly back to AZ.
I still seal boards with spackling compound, always found it to be quick, easy, and cosmetically better than other methods. I know not everyone agrees but that's the way I do it.
Glassing urethane foam takes a very high modulus system. Most epoxies are a but flexible for this and the one we sell which I like best for urethane is Kwik Kick.
Is that all you got?
Seriously, that's one impressive resume!
One of my favorite projects of yours that I've seen (on Facebook) was your little wooden 'river boat' for shooting the canyons out west. Care to share any details on that little beauty?
Love my boat. It's 16 feet, drift dory, beem is 4 feet at the chine and 6 feet at the shear. All the five compartments are water tight and the rowing well is self bailing. The chine has 100 ounces of glass outside and 80 inside. I used a combination of mat, bi axial knit fabric and plain weave in the laminate to maximize impact strength. The shear is 35 ounces of mostly unidirectional fabric for dimensional stability. There are two sets of gunwales and upper and lower. This is unique to this boat. The lower gunwale supports the decks and carries dynamic loads away from areas that are not decked and the upper gunwale, along the shear, also serves to spread load. It is easily removed if damaged so replacing it is easy. The bottom of the bow post is a solid piece of epoxy/chop strand covered with about 150 ounces of glass. The bottom of the boat is an epoxy/graphite powder coating which offers slip when hitting rocks. The structure is semi monaque construction using four bulkheads. The center compares are set up vertically to minimize load shift in rough water. I used Meranti plywood for the laminate cores and ash for all the structural supports. As you might guess for this I could go on and on about this baby. Took five months to build, probably 400 hours. Hardest project I ever did and probably the most challenging.
Kayu, not sure if that was a cover, there was a center fold in the 1971 Surfer Photo Annual that was a yellow board so maybe that's the one you mean. Great board that one one of my all time favorites. Shaped by Gene Cottrell at Oceanside Surfboards in Melbourne, FL. 6'2" X 21 X 17"N X 17" T squash. Really it was just about the shape of a Mini Simmons although it was a single fin.
Had my right done last feb. and it still feels unnatural if you know what I mean, gonna delay the left for awhile. Got a "frozen" right shoulder with a partially torn rotator but no need for surgery unfortunately everyone says recovery is one to two year process.
Sucks getting old.
Thanks for your advice and inspiration since you had both knees done t the same time. It was hard using an HMO like Kaiser.
Question though, have you ever gotten back to where you where you were before the surgery or is it something you just have to give up trying to achieve?
Alsp any possibilty that you'll get stocked as retail one of these days?
I know FBH stocks bio and used to stock resinX sure would be be nice to have RR as an option.
Greenroom has made a big push out here.
finally, what's your opinion on epoxy over PU?
Is that still the strongest build you can get and more of a weight problem?
Looks like Huie's solved the weight issue with Midget's new pink blanks..
"ain't no big ting brudda"
Hey, Greg, long time.. I remember the guy 25+ yrs ago in flip flops who came into the factory and wanted to know costs to custom mold blanks in eps....I quit being a plant manager back then but I'm glad Marko got involved!! Foam Fab is still molding custom stuff, should have jumped into the blank market, $$ lost, too bad...LOL I am retiring from education in Feb. Anyway, since you are kinda west coast, who, in you opinion is making the best bead (I heard BASF is no longer making bead) and molder in block in the range of 1.2 lb to 1.5 lb out here on the West Coast? Any other thoughts on West Coast EPS/Epoxy construction would be appreciated!! Thanks, BKB
Aloha Oneida, my knees came out great. As you know recovery takes a while, thought I was pretty good at 6 months but was better still at one year and actually far better still at two years. I can do pretty much anything I want accept kneel which hurts. I'm snowboarding now and that's great, as good as before. Couldn't golf until now, the twisting hurt but at two years I'm fine. Same with running, at one year I couldn't but now I can. As for surfing, my geometry changed which changed my balance. I get to snowboard enough that I've worked it out there but living in AZ I don't have enough time in the water to work that out. But I always loved body surfing, nearly as much as surfing, so at the beach that's what I do now.
As for FH we do sell to them but I think they focus more on selling their own brand. They've never had much competition and now I hear they do and that's where GR hooked up. Different markets take time and strategy and frankly a bit of luck. We do our best but it's a big world out there and frankly my attention often is on product development and strengthening our existing distribution.
As for Epoxy over PU, it takes a high modulus resin system IMHO so you choices ar limited. What we have is Kwik Kick which works nice but I've never tested any system outside of ours so I don't know. West System would work but would look like you laminated it in root beer in about a week.
I had some leftover innegra (2oz polypropylene weave) so I vacuum bagged it using a fresh bag and no peel ply. Direct lamination-to-bag. The innegra is sandwiched between 2 layers of 4oz on a 2# EPS core. I rollered the lam prior to putting it in the bag and ran the breather on the dry side. On the deck side I ran the lam pretty dry and ended up with a 75% fill, and on the bottom I ran it a little wetter and got a complete fill. I was real happy with the deck side because I like a little texture on my decks, and the bottom came out with a really clean fill coat. I don't see any bubbles or pin air.
Do you have any tips or suggestions or observations on this process and how to improve on it? I was happy with the results I got but there's always room for improvement and I know you've done it all.
As a shaper of foam, I know you have shaped some unusual projects, ie car parts, propellers, mega boards. Would you please talk about some of those?
All the best
Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill
I also wanted to ask about mixing resin usage on a board. I have some 2.6oz S-Glass with a really tight weave that I have been using for deckpads and fin patches. For deck patches I've been laying 2 layers at opposing diagonal bias to spread the load differently from the primary lamination. I also did a deckpatch on one board (PU core) using a 4oz hemp weave. What's your opinion about using a stiffer modulus resin for deckpatches in general and these two materials in particular?
Lastly, (and sorry about being greedy)
Surf epoxies branded as being eco-friendly have become quite fashionable. You're an acknowledged expert on resin composition so I think most people here will be interested in your opinions about the topic.
Without mentioning any company names or other identifiers, can you give us an idea what the spread is between the cleanest vs dirtiest epoxies that get marketed for surfboard construction?
What's the potential for improvement on the eco-basis?
Are you aware of any positive or negative effects on performance that may be caused by eco-related differences in these epoxies when compared to the epoxies that aren't marketed as eco-friendly?
Thanks so much for doing this. I've glassed about 50 boards with RR. Mostly Kwik Kick for the last 30 or so, and primarily over PU foam. One question and one request..
1. Please spill the beans on this "Ultra Epoxy". What is it?
2. Do you have any plans to release some sort of sealer or speed finish or "secret sauce" as a final coat over epoxy? I currently use Behr concrete/tile sealer, but I think the perfect sealer would be a little bit more viscous and be able to cover up minor weave-burns and imperfections a little bit better. It would be great to be able to aggressively sand epoxy hot coats with 100 grit and then lay down a nice thin coat of something to seal it all up. Am I the only one looking for this?
Like yourself, though not quite as long as yourself, I have been working with epoxy resins since early 80's. Saw my first EPS foam blank in 1983 while working for Gary Linden. We called it Styro-foam then. Soon after we began buying extruded foam from Japan. It was called Cross-Tune blanks. I beleive it was before Dow Chemical was selling theirs. We galssed them using that dark yellow West System stuff. Quite the learning curve there.
Been glassing some lightweight PU foam with Epoxy lately. Boards seem to be really durable. Quite happy with the results. I want to try your Kwik Kick resin. It makes sense.
My question is, do you think that a post-cure process is nessesary in surfboard production? I have a heater box in my shop and have them in there for at least 1/2 hour before board leaves the shop. I know many other industries who use this type or resin do this.
Thanks, Barry Snyder
Surfboards made by hand. Not machine.
When I sand epoxy after having only cured at room temp for 24 hours, I get a slight chemical burn on my face. But sanding after a post cure at 110 degrees for 24 hours, there is no chemical burn to my face.
Is there some bad chemical in epoxy that goes away after post curing? Am I crazy?
"Is there some bad chemical in epoxy that goes away after post curing? Am I crazy?"
Must it be either/or? Haha
All the best Dwight
Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill
Of course, but there are exceptions, like laps, and touchup of sand throughs.
Lemat, Dwight, I'm a big fan of both of you and I know it is hard not to jump in on these questions but if this is going to succeed, we need to let the guest answer the questions. Thanks for your understanding.
Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill
One of my fondest memories is Greg pulling up to our factory in Atlantic Beach Fla.He would be driving this huge Dodge Power Wagon with 40 blanks crammed in it.He looked like a wildman.This was around 72' or so.
Most of you know him as the epoxy guy but he was power shaping really sweet PU boards when Natural Art was king of the world.
If you were glassing a dozen short boards a year for yourself and friends, I'm wondering what fibres you think would be the best at the current time?
Foam most often used being USblanks PU foam with a stringer (red or blue), which is what is available where we get them cut.
Kwik Kick resin.
Currently using a mixture of S glass and E glass, but keep looking and reading about all the alternatives.
Thinkin' Mr. Loehr is in transit so don't load him up too much, HA
I would rather be someone's shot of whiskey, than everyone's cup of tea.
Hi Surfteach. I'm a bit out of the loop on bead stock. Nova made the best about 10 years ago which still may be the case but don't ask me what product number, it's been a long time. As for block I use White Hot from ProWall which is right up the road here in AZ. I've heard that the place in Kingman also makes good stuff. The foam in CA has urban blowing agent emission restrictions on it so it's not that good for boards. FL we use Imperial or Carpenter.
Hi G Daddy, sounds like your moving ahead with the bagging nicely. I do like Innegra between layers of fabric which has always seemed ideal. As for higher modulus patches that's something that one of my board building mentors, Ted James of Fox Surfboards, used to swear by. I saw the results and I have to agree with what I saw. Couple of things about high modulus though, using it throughout the board can cause the laminate to be brittle which can cause failures. I've seen this in some of our earlier formulations. Also the modulus should follow the choice of fabric, high modulus fabric goes with high modulus resin, medium modulus fabric goes with a more medium modulus fabric and so on. And your suggestion of bi axial can be used to advantage as well. One other aspect is resin ratio, lower resin ration allows you to use a higher modulus resin because with more fabric content you are effectively lowering elongation.
A few out here are trying for optimum performance in crappie surf. So at the moment and I speak for myself only. Combinations of rocker, shape and the current “flat tucked edge” bottom is where we are at. So Cal.
Considering your FLA experience I humbly ask your take on bottoms that work in lesser conditions.
I would rather be someone's shot of whiskey, than everyone's cup of tea.
For the last year and a half we have produced high bio content resins, about 40%. When we looked at existing bio content resins most contained a percentage of epoxidized oils, tall oil mostly. These resins are characterized with low physical strength and quite low Tg. My opinion is that making a lower strength product in order to be "green" in not really "green." So we were on the hunt for a better way which we found by using a glycerine based, bio deisel derivative, ECH in our chemistry. Using this method left us with exactly the same physicals as we've always had. Unfortunately after almost two years of production a very large European paint concern, Anzo Nobel, bought our suppliers entire production and we were phased out. So we went on the hunt for a new supplier and at this time we haven't found one for our North American production. Our China facility is up and running with a replacement which gives us about 50% coverage. At this point well just continue to search until something comes online, it will and well once again be able to produce bio resins the right way.
Hi Barry, The new Ultra additive is an optical brightener that we can include in any of our resins. It is quite a bit brighter than anything we've made previously which seems to be a trend that some builders are following. It certainly makes brighter boards that any other brightening method. It also holds up very well lasting at least 300 hours in direct sunlight. This was a lot of work for something entirely cosmetic which suddenly seemd to have fallen on the shoulders of material suppliers. Oh well. As for post cure, the can have incredible result but unfortunately we are limited there by what our foam will take. But here's a cool way of figuring post cure. Room temp epoxies cure in one week at 77F. Every 10F added cuts cure by 1/2. So 87 is 3.5 days, 97 1.75 days, 107 20 hours, 117 is 12 hours 127 is 5 hours, 137 is 2.5 hours and 147 is 1.25 hours. You can stop there because the foam won't take any more. When you get above the 127 level your going to begin to see a much different animal than RT cure. Cross link density improves significantly so that your modulus and elongation both go up. To do this takes some equipment and some tests to get it exactly dialed in. To get an idea of what this is like wrap a piece of wet cloth around a soda can and heat at 150 for an hour or so. Then do one at room temp for a week. Demold each and compare.
Hi Dwight, a lot depends on the epoxy your using. It can also depend also on how chemical sensitive you are. And certainly a full cure will reduce the chemicals available that can cause some reaction. The chemicals don't disappear from the epoxy they instead react within the chemistry instead of relating to your skin. Fully reacted resin is inert. But it takes a week at room temperature to achieve full cure. Before that there is still reactivity going on. All epoxies are not equal when it comes to sensitizing skin. Some may cause very significant problems, some cause almost none. I designed ours for me and my crew. It was very important to me to have the safest thing I could get.
Awhile back I ruffled some feathers when I said that working with Resin Research Kwik Kick in extreme heat (over 100 degrees f) I cut back a little on hardener, got a lecture about exact ratios, weakening the mix, etc. So is that a real no-no? I didn't experience any strength issues that I noticed, but wanted to hear it from the source.
Hi Everysurfer, we have a low viscosity system, the Composite Pro System. It primarily for infusion, fabric intensive composites and fabrics that are difficult to wet. Look at our website resinresearch.net under composite pro. 2070 is probably where to start.
I don't like doing that Huck, it does make the board yellow faster. Instead, laminate a side in two batches. Mix the first batch and do the stringer to one rail, finish that, mix the second batch and do the other side. No one ever did this in the polyester days because it didn't work well but with epoxy this works great. I do 12 foot SUP's in summer in Arizona no problem.
Hoo-hoo, glad I asked, thanks!
Awhile back someone gave a tip for avoiding fish eyes on hot coat, thin cheater coat then apply the full hot coat when the cheater coat gels - haven't had a chance to test it, is this a valid process in your opinion?
Cleanliness, I have fond memories of those good ole days too. Things were much simpler back then. Waves were better too.
BTW, had a fun day of Golf with Ed Angulo, Steve Walden and Don Bowers today. At the 19th hole after a few beers we figured that together we had a total of 186 years of shaping experience. Damn we're old.
You know, I've never really had fish eyes and could never figure what people were doing to get them, especially since Additive F. Then I found it. I buzz the laminate with some 100 or 80, then wipe off the dust with a paper towel or old t shirt and the hot coat the thing making sure you brush it out enough times to make it flow. That's all there is to it. It's the brushing that does the trick.
Newbie type question(s), if that's OK?
With all your experience and knowledge, what tips or tricks would you give to someone moving from PE glassing to Epoxy?
What would you recommend for an inexperienced "backyarder" - Epoxy over PU or Epxoy over EPS / XPS?
Thanks for your time.
Surfboard Design and Construction Kook
Hey Greg - back when I was a grom there was a magazine issue, either Surfer or Surfing...featuring "The 25 most influential shapers of all time" or such...and there amongst the usual suspects was yourself, pictured with a big block of EPS. It'd be a spin-out to see that again.
That was my introduction to you, and of course I later worked with you. That was a pleasure - I fondly remember watching you mix the RR formula by kicking a 44 gallon drum up and down the drive...so non-rocket science it was a relief!
All the best
That was a cool time at FW Josh. Surfing Mags top ten shapers of all time, I was very honored but I'm not sure you can boil it down to ten, maybe one hundred but so many have had great influence. I grew up in Cocoa Beach. Pretty much everyone was involved in the space program at some level, all the parents. I would go to parties with my parents and all of us surf guys would be huddled in a corner talking surf while the geek dads would be huddled in a corner talking about launching a Saturn 5. We thought we were so cool but 50 years after we're gone no one will remember anything we did but in a thousand years they'll still be talking about what those geeky dads did. They had a saying back then, "Low tech is high tech," which is pretty much the same as KISS. Rolling drums was a way to get it done.
Hi Wingnut. My opinion on foam has been, for a very long time, that it's all about the waves your riding vs. foam density. If your riding small waves, under head high, you should be riding EPS. Lower density rides better and the lower you go the better it'll ride. As you get into some juice begin to ride higher density EPS, maybe XPS. As the waves get more serious you begin to move into higher densities in urethane and then if you into really big stuff you begin riding wood cores. Watching the pro guys now, especially Slater, they generally are riding EPS and when the swell starts pumping they switch to PU. Then you watch the tow in guys and their using high density PU or balsa. I like epoxy over everything (bet that's a surprise) because it's easier, stronger and nicer to work with. In my latter days of board building laminating became my favorite job because it was clean, quiet and not real physical. I'd go to work in the evening when it was cool, turn on the music and shoot half a dozen sides. PE isn't like that. Rush, rush, rush with a mask on and acetone and vapors. As for tips this place has always been the place to ask specific questions. Lots of good stuff here.
Hi Mattwho, the guys I work with in FL are using wider tails (16") in gutless crap with deep concave running all the way through the bottoms now. 1/4 to 3/8ths deep. Mostly four fins or three fins with a small fin in the back. Just gets down to planing in nothing.
Greg, thank you for your participation and comments. A question regarding EPS/epoxy layups and expansion. Frequently, on my eps boards, I've witnessed the following that I'll try and explain clearly. After a couple of years I see a phenomenon where the foam has very slightly expaned (or the stringer slightly retracted, but that seems less likely since it has happened with balsa, samba, poplar, mahogony...) leaving a micro depression along the stringer from nose to tail. Pretty regular. No delamination, no apparent loss of structural integrity, but on a nice polished longboard it does bug a bit. Heck, even on my other boards it bugs a bit.
Medium density blanks - hand layups usually in 6+6/6 or 6+4/6. Rarely have a chance to heat up as I surf virtually only mornings/evenings because of skin issues.
I've seen this on poly/pu boards as well, but less systematically. Any insights are appreciated!
I have had similar experiences as Jeffrey, but in my case it was only when doing epoxy (RR kwik kick) over a poly blank, and only when pigments were added to the epoxy. My working theory is that the pigment kept the epoxy more flexible than it might have been, and thus susceptible to expansion...mostly likely candidate being either gas or heat (or both) from the stringer/glueline/glass combo. Working solution has been 1) no dark colors for epoxy over poly and 2) less pigment than I'd typically use for good color saturation. any other suggestions? would love to have more freedom to do color epoxy work over poly blanks. Thanks,
...epoxy is not easier and nicer than polyesters as you say...but you are the seller so...
the fact is all the problems that people mention here and using your brand that s appropiate one; more problems with the others.
None problem in all type of weather with polyesters except in extremely low temp...but in that case epoxy cannot play.
then this thread is turning in a publicity of a resin brand.
gotta disagree Reverb - lots of great info here on everything from surf history to shapes and technique. To be clear: any shaper who volunteers for the "hot seat" is allowed plenty of leeway in explaining, and expressing enthusiasm for their own shapes, products, etc. And there are a lot of us, myself included, who prefer epoxy over poly resin, and use it exclusively.
If you have a question, ask up. If you just want to gripe about the forum, or the thread, or epoxy resin, find another thread to post in. The ground rules for the hot seat threads are we ask the questions, hot seat shaper answers. Re-read Greg Tate's first post in the thread.
Agreed. Pretty out of line remarks.
I think a little leeway on the self promotion and product name dropping is fitting for these hot seat features. Why not let a guy talk about what he does without restrictions or sanctions? Putting tight parameters on what's off limits would discourage many experienced guys from participating.
Thanks for being in the hot seat. -J
For surfboards, do you post-cure at the end (after everything) or before final sanding (after all epoxy layers, before any other materials or finishes)?
What do you think of acrylic floor sealers and 2-part automotive clears over epoxy?
http://pushheretosavealife.com/ Be safe, have fun. -J