Tucson, Arizona in fact, in definately not a composites hot spot. Should be, the climate is beyond ideal. As I said before, I came here to market to the west coast. Thought about CA but then a chem plant in CA? No thanks. The oppritunity was to move into another chem businesses building here. It was so easy and it put me in easy striking distance of the market I was interested in. Turned out to be a great move.
As for other industries, surfers get around and word of mouth is a very good advertising method. Especially when other industries have as such poor products at their disposal. I know people out there think that aerospace must have incredible materials and I used to have surfboard customers that worked at the Cape in FL who used to sneak stuff off so I could build their personal boards with it. "Hey man, this is cutting edge stuff from the Shuttle guys." We'd use it and it was crap.
Fact is the surfboard industry gets some of the very best epoxy formulations of any industry. In fact I worked with a guy from the marine industry on a river dory project who was buddies with one of the major marine suppliers. He asked his buddy if they'd ever heard of us and the response was that we had really great products and that they could never touch our pricing. I was very flattered. Not a bad for some old surf dog.
Good question about composites industry. Manufacturing has very much moved to Asia and composites is one of those. Back in the 80's the Japanese were on a roll and the suddenly they crashed. All Asian currency crashed with them. International business could suddenly move into Asia for pennies on the dollar. At the same time the president of China, Dung Cho Ping, created the Chinese industrial zones where capitalism was allowed for the first time. Now you had numerous multinationals with a stake in China. Also a treaty between China and England for Hong Kong was signed and along with that came Chinese business reform that was written by Hong Kong businessmen. It included not just support but unheard of sweetheart deals between business and the government owned Bank of China. The business reforms were VERY pro growth. It was explained to me that you can grow a business five times faster in China than you can in North America. For a long period Australia was cashing in supplying China with raw materials. Fortunes have been made. But now with China slowing everything is changing. Predicting the future is tough but this slowdown could be anything from a temporary pause to another yen type crash, hard to say. But the whole world is connected economically so what affects one country will now affect the world. And your question about domestic composite business? You never know but I'm not sure that's a hand I would go deep on.
hand shapes VS cnc cuts? what you belive in? and what the resons for that.
do you belive all surfboard should be handshape? and should not "make in china" ?
Getting in the water every day, when I lived at the beach, a lot of times was just a half hour after work. I'd ride a fish and I wouldn't even check it. Just grab my board and go ride a few. To stay in it doesn't mean two hour sessions five days a week. It takes constant attention but not intense attention. Where I lived in FL has crap surf but the short period wind swells offer lots of rides in a short time. We used to have heats in contests that were 12 minutes long and we could fill the judges 10 slot score card up. 20-30 minutes after work I could easily ride 10-20 waves especially on a fish. So just this little bit of time kept me in good shape for the good days and allowed me to surf good well into my 50's while also allowing me to have a nice normal personal life. Leaving the beach changed that but fortunately snowboarding came along.
Five fins have the same advantages as three fins do and may even be more effective at controlling the balances that make surfboards work. You alluded to the Theory of Balance and I've always referred back to that as a basis to understand the positives and negatives of any design. To me having external fins and then a center stabilizing fin is the basis of every great design because it allows control of the two main balances, i.e lift and resistance. Seems to work well throughout the fish/whale/dophin world so just how surprised should we be that it also works for us? To me twins and fours work well but struggle at times without a center fin. To me a twin or a four with just a little nub back there cleans up little imperfections I feel in the ride.
LIT, thanks, that was a nice group of questions.
Thanks Greg, I've really enjoyed reading this thread. Outgassing was suspect in the blank expansion issue - though I think in my case color perhaps has a greater role. Keith, great input, as usual. A couple of blanks that waiting a good while prior to shaping still had this issue, but they were, if I recall, a deep purple opaque and a deep orange opaque (rails and bottoms only and I did not have the same phenomenon on the deck)
"Softening the edges in the tail lifts the front of the board when your riding. Hardening the edges creates lift in the tail making the tail ride higher and the nose ride lower. Softening the edges in the nose lowers the front and makes the board more apt to catch. Hardening the edges front lifts the nose. This of course goes directly against nearly everyone's beliefs. Simply put, they are wrong."
Couldn't agree more.
This thread has me wishing I could still glass! But, another ten stitches on my neck this week and a bunch on my ear is a good reminder for me; lots of other things to enjoy in life.
My question got lost in the shuffle, and others have also asked, so I'll ask again:
Any plans to make some sort of finishing "secret sauce" product. IE an epoxy-friendly, thinner type of sealing coating? Like others, I currently use Behr tile/masonry sealer but would love to see something a little more viscous to fill minor imperfections. Would be great to sand aggressively an epoxy hot coat with 100 grit then brush/wipe on some sort of sealer for a final finish.
Hi Plus One, Good to hear from you George. For many years we finished with a spray finish from Fiberglass Florida and I guess that would be my favorite. Very easy to apply, covers nicely. At one time I was a glosser and enjoyed the work but never used a gloss on my own board. I'd always find a way to go around that step on my personals. As board builders I've always thought that finishing was the bane of our existence.
I agree Jamie. I've tested everything I've ever heard of and there's no secret sauce. I've made and sold finishes in the past but really don't have anything in mind coming up. I basically know the chemistry for finishing and I've designed maybe a dozen or so, never satisfied. Retail customers expect gloss/rub out perfection. It became an industry standard back in the 70's and nothing has replaced it.