Friday, November 5, 2010

Dave Dewitt's 7ft 2" quad fish under way.

" The board is a 7'2" quad fish 21" wide made from 6mm Paulownia and western red ceder accent strips and will have a 4oz glass all over. "

This is Dave's own design , similar to the Grain kits with bead and cove rail method.

To explain to the following ... " I'm a Car designer at Ford, we use a Software called Alias which I used to create the data for the Hollow wooden fish,
The process involved starting with designing the exterior surface of the board and then working from this to create the internal structure including the frame, rail profiles and timber thickness allowances. This all then gets unwraped or flattened. which translates into 2D data for templates."

I agree with Dave that computers and people who know the software can make the whole process so much easier and far more accurate. I to started building boards by drawing them up on butchers paper and bending long lengths of thin wood to get my curves and flow I was after. But hand lofting plans and then copying them onto wood to hand cut out is a long process. Very rewarding and a great learning experience. But like most people I would say the hardest part is creating the rail band shape if you are building a board with laminated rails. It is such a complex curve and a very important one as it ends up being very visible in the finished board.A computer can create this for you in no time at all.The other thing that becomes quite obvious is that there are so many design elements and decisions to be made as you go.We have spent countless hours sitting on boards and probably only felt the rail as we slide it in and out of the board bag. It will certainly help if you have an appreciation of what you have been riding and what you like when it comes your time to design a board.I am sure that once you have made your first board that you will have a greater appreciation for the hand shaper who has carved out your board by hand and eye.
My greatest learning came from hand shaping a couple of boards and feeling the sculpting and hand crafting of the foam shape. A great feeling.
Another great tool is downloading AKU Shaper which is the free software that many shapers use to design boards and then have computer cut from foam.You can try all sorts of ideas and 3D model them for free. Even buy a blank and have a foam board cut from foam as a trial horse prior to building a wooden version. You could buy a seconds blank and get it cut on the computer for $25 for a short board or $50 for a longboard.Glass it and surf it or cut it up to make templates for your chambered board ? There are many ways of using technology to help in the process. Yes some will say what about the hand craft side of things. A computer is also a tool and there isn't much these days that they can't do or help you with.You are on one now, so you know the power it has.There is no easy way of building a wooden board , but there are plenty of ways to help make some of the decisions you are faced with along the way.

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