Hi Andrew, You know towards the end of my shaping career I had pretty much had enough boards that I knew what worked for me. Got to where I didn't make any doggies at all. Some real important things were discovered along the way so I'll try to make this short.
Basically the three fin is an incredibly versitile design. Changing the fins allows that nearly every board can be good, even great. Essentailly I had a personal fin placement that always worked for me which was 11 inches up for the back of the front fins and 5 inches to the back of the rear. This is a bit clustered but my surfing was developed on singles which pivot differently and clustering the fins gave a similar tempo. I also found out that the larger the trailing fin is the more it pulls the tail down lifting the nose a bit. When the waves get hollow you use a bigger back fin and it keeps the edges up front free.
So I had four rear fins I used, a 2 inch, a 3 inch a 4 inch and a full size which was 4.5 or so. The 2 inch was for Cocoa Beach style waves, mush. The board glides better and planes easier. The 3 inch was for Melbourne Beach, Satellite Beach type waves. Little more hold and a bit freer edges. The 4 was for Sebastian Inlet. Again more lift for the front edges and more hold. The full size for was for Hatteras. The waves are powerful and hollow so the 4.5 worked great. Same board, four trailing fins.
There is also the subject of edges. As much as fins can change the balance of the board, edges can also do the same. Getting a new board for me always included dressing the edges of the board AFTER I had ridden it. 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.
So for the Gulf I'd be riding the Cocoa Beach set up.
Hi Greg, backyard shaper here from indialantic. My question is what is your preferred way to get a gloss finish with resin research? Do you use a different method depending on the blank material(PU,EPS,Etc.)? Also don't ever close your shop in Indian Harbour Beach! Love having easy access to the resin without paying for shipping costs. Also, I learn something new from Sam everytime I go:)
Hi Idan, The Ultra is an optically bightened resin. Its brand new here in the US and you'll probably see it sometime this summer in Israel. Unfortunately the carpet trick is about the best it gets for clearing sandpaper. Additive F makes it easier to sand a gloss. Somehow the last shipment the Add F disappeared during shipping. I'm trying to get replacement over. Mix ratio should be reasonably accurate. I use metered buckets which I've always had good luck with. A nice digital scale works great too.
Hi Ryan, Sam is so great he can run it as long as he wants. He's been working there since he was 16 .... 30 years. Rips in the water, shaping room and at running the biz. As for gloss, that was something I tried desperately to get rid of. I've done thousands and realized at a point that every one I did cost me money and added weight making the board ride worse. I started charging what it cost, over $100, and somehow everyone lost interest. So I may not be the best person to ask. But If I had to do them I'd probably use that rattle can 2 pak stuff (can't remeber the name).
Hi Notion, The reason epoxies need sanding before recoating is because of blush. Blush is a reaction between the chemicals in the amine hardeners and moisture in the air. This reaction creates a carbomate on the surface which will stop the next coat from adhering. All amine based hardeners create blush, even the so called "blush free" systems. So the solution most companies suggest is sanding and/or washing the surface. Sanding is fine but washing isn't because washing or wiping with a chemical introduces foreign particles which will cause fisheyes.
The best solution to eliminate blush is using Additive F in laminates. Additive F eliminates blush, 100%. When you hot coat a surface that has Additive F you will get a far better bond because surfacing agent won't stop epoxy from adhering, only blush will. When you use Add F in the hot coat resin you can actually sand the surface far easier, in fact just like polyester hot coats. Frankly it's amazing to me that Add F gets critisized by some competitors. It's like they've never built boards.
Your question about polyester hot coats? It doesn't consistantly work so why do it. We have Kwik Kick which is just as fast as poly and using it in hot coats makes a far stronger board that won't chip down the line. So why do a poly hot coat? Again, this is a method being claimed by someone who doesn't build boards.
There are a few comment on coloring resin here. All thermosets have issues with color and in epoxy's case it generally makes the resin more flexible. When I do colored laminates I would always steer to pastel colors. I usually stayed light with opaques leaving the translucent rather than attempting a true opaque. Also if I'm doing color I'll stich with glass. It's pretty hard to get a clean look using exotics in clear much less in colors. Which brings me to something. As professional builders we would always be aware of steering away from things that would make us look bad. That's something very different from DIY builders. Part of that is experience but part of it is stopping for a minute before you start and think over all the things that can create difficulties. It's amazing how many surprises are lurking in that complex build plan. You know, is that four color acid splash with the lightning bolt laps really something you should try on your first board attempt.
For those who are interested, in days of yore Greg addressed "balance" here on Swaylocks in his "Theory of Balance" thread (see here: http://www.swaylocks.com/groups/theory-balance ).
A bit of forewarning; some of my questions may be a bit on the curly side for G.L. to answer, so if I'm crossing the line in asking them Greg Tate, just let me know and I'll delete the ones that may have strayed into the "better not to ask that" category.
I'll start with a nice one first; I was going to begin by asking "what's your reason for going to work in the morning?" -> 'reason being that greggriffin recently commented in a different thread that (at least one of) the reasons he goes to work is "to make people happy" with the boards he builds for them.-> not a bad reason!
Having built several successful businesses over the course of your life I'm guessing your motives may no longer be financial now (although size and appearances don't always reflect what's at the bottom line of a business' balance sheet - e.g. Clark Foam in '05); but I guess you've already largely answered this question when you talked about how and why you jumped at the chance to start making a 'crust as a shaper.... and then materials supplier; the love of building stuff and the challenges it presents.
Are there any other reasons?
Why the move to Arizona? Not much in the way of surf there (i.e. I'd be getting surf-withdrawal fairly soon in such a place), so am wondering if Tucson is a "hot-spot" (no pun intended :-) ) for the U.S. composites industry, and it was a move you had to make for the business (Resin Research) to survive/prosper?
What prompted the move into supplying industries outside surfing and marine sports? Was it because you'd gone as far as you could with supplying the surfing & windsurfing industries, and branching out to supply other industries was the only way of expanding the business? Or was it perhaps due to the drop-off in demand from the windsurfing industry in the early 90's when it plateau'ed/dropped off in popularity with the general public? Perhaps a bit of both?
How hard was it to break into those new industries? With surfing and windsurfing, you knew exactly what your customers needed in a resin product as you'd been literally in the same boat as them for much of your professional life, but outside of that, e.g. the transportation, architectural etc industries; how much did you know/how familiar were you with what they were building and needed in a resin?
From your bio description, RR started really kicking along when Clark Foam took a header, and then went into overdrive when SUP's popped up; so it sounds like RR would have been one of the few places going gangbusters and (potentially) generating jobs during the GFC. In Australia right now, the economy is (finally) starting to hit the skids. What's more over the last year or so, all the auto-manufacturers are officially shutting-down and pulling out (mind you, I'm a bit suss about this - I wouldn't be surprised if they start hiring again before their factory doors close for good, as the Aussie dollar has been falling fairly rapidly over the last year and looks set to continue doing so the more the Chinese economy falters).
As a result, the local politicians are banging on about how they're going to create an "advanced manufacturing" centre (based around the use of carbon-fibre) to fill the jobs vacuum left in the areas where the auto factories are shutting-down. I'm not sure I buy this; the one spin-off business that's been created in this area (from government sponsored carbon-fibre research) has been around for about a decade now, and won't be generating any jobs for a year or two, and even then it won't be remotely close to creating the number of jobs that are currently being lost. Secondly, I don't see how they can expect to compete long-term with foreign competition (primarily China). From what I hear, China is already capable of building pretty much anything a Western nation can do (i.e. they're already a competitor in the "advanced manufacturing" sector, with lower labour costs to boot), and what's more they're throwing huge amounts of money into research and business development of the green/renewables sector (an area where composites play a large role and has been the source of much of the growth in the composites industry) - how can the technical advantage the local guys here are currently enjoying hope to last/stand up to that? If the impression I've got on the situation is wrong, please set me straight on what it truly is.
Where I'm going with all this is this; is there a real future in the composites industry in a Western nation, and can a Swaylocks user reasonably expect to be able to parlay the composite skills they've acquired while building surfboards into a long-term career in the composites industry? If so, are we likely to be forced to move to a composites "hot-spot" within our home nation, or perhaps even internationally?
You've spent a large portion of your life getting wet on a regular basis; any tips on how to combine getting out for an almost daily surf along with having a happy missus and family? It seems to be a common problem for most committed surfers I know, so I suspect any help in this regard would be welcomed by many a Swaylocks user. Mind you I've no idea what your personal/family life is like or has been, so if you'd rather duck this question, that's more than fine.
Lastly, Greg Griffin recently began a thread asking Swaylocks users to explain why his 5-fins work so well (http://www.swaylocks.com/forums/what-makes-these-work-so-well); what's your take on his 5-fins G.L.? He's been making them for a good 30 years now, so I daresay you would have come across them and considered their design while you were operating Loehr Design. Mind you it might be tactful to G.G. if you just pointed out a piece of the puzzle that noone else has picked up on yet rather than putting the whole thing together as it's something that's been keeping customers coming back to G.G. for a long time now. Bert Burger's already had a bit of a crack at it and has promised to come back and explain a bit more of his idea's about it in a new thread (on how to solve the glitches with Quad's) soon.
Okay I'll stop there; I've probably already gone way over my allotted reasonable number of questions to ask :-)
I'd like to ask about veneers, balsa/wood compsands and cork. As a garage guy I've done a number of veneer boards and found those to deliver the best strength to weight combinations. Stringerless EPS core + HD PU rails has been my personal favorite, but I've also done veneer deck pads over PU to great effect.
Since you showed us all how to do veneers several years ago, can you share with us what else have you learned (or already knew) about the process? Any preferences for core, wood or for glassing schedules? How do you think veneers compare to the balsa compsands and cork builds?
LIT, nice organized set of questions, I'll do my best.
Getting up in the morning? I like being challenged in everything I do. Love being told I can't and then doing it. Surfing, sailing, skating, windsurfing, board building, snowboarding, boat building, etc. I could go on for pages on this alone everything from East Coast surfers can't really surf, to East Coast surfers can't ride real waves, to epoxy can't be used on surfboards and plenty of other subjects in between. One self realization I've always been sure of is its not about money. If anything money is a means not an end.
The move to AZ was a decision to market to the west coast. We had an opportunity in Tucson and we went. Turned out to be a good move for many reasons. I live a different life here and it's a very good one. I was gettingstale in FL and needed new challenges. Here I have business, snowboarding, boats, canyons, rivers, photography, travel and golf to keepme busy. I certainlyloved surfing as much as anything in my life, board building too. But part of surfing to me was the challenge of doing it well. At my peak and in my range I felt I was as good as anyone. A big part of the enjoyment was doing it as well as I did. It a very free feeling to be that good at something and the creativity you can express on that canvas is something very special. Almost hard to explain the zen aspects of that focused conscious state your in starting at that moment you paddle for the wave. Now, at my age, I'm never going to be able to feel that intense focus surfing. But I can feel that when snowboarding and it's the same feel of surfing. Windsurfing was also the same for me.
Been a while, use your stuff daily. I want to ask about Finishes. I see the range from Poly gloss and polish (using a tie coat) to raw/wetsand, and yes, still floor wax and a rubout. What are some of your favorites, and the best overall to seal and protect?