Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas fellow board builders. I hope you all have a break from work and get some time with family and friends. But done forget to sneak in the shed when you can to glue some wood. And if you are able to make it to next years Wooden Board day at the Byron Bay Surf Festival, it would be great to see you there.Thanks for all your support and please send any project you would like to share for me to post up.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Next years Wooden Board Day will be part of the Byron Bay Surf Festival

It is great to be joining forces with the Byron Bay Surf Festival next year, as it is by far the best surf festival at one of Australia's iconic surf towns. A place we all love and where we have had great times and waves. With their support, we will be part of the "Woodshed" precinct.

"Australia's largest gathering of Wooden surfboards and those that make them!! We've dedicated a special area of the Surf Art Markets to the wood sniffers. Chat with master shaper and designer Tom Wegener, along with Joel Fitzgerald, Andy Ceglinski, Grant Newby and more. If you dig wood don’t miss this timber buffet, including workshops, demo's and the latest and greatest in innovation and  designs of wooden surfboards!"
 There will be lots of people and lots to do and see. Anything surf related with be on show once again.

 So guys save the date and get that latest project board finished to bring along to the Woodshed. Be part of what will be a great weekend to showcase your passion, your hobby and spend time surrounded by others that love it as much as you. It is the same format as what we have had at Currumbin for the last 8 years, in that it is non commercial, non competetive and a great chance to meet others that have dedicated the time and effort that goes into building a wooden board. There will be a diverse collection of people to answer all those questions that building wooden boards throws up at you.

Saturday we will be in the park from 9am to 4.30pm, with all the other markets and activities. Sunday you will be able to surf and swap boards at Wategos Beach at the " Freestyle and Stoke surf sessions".

"On Sunday we invite you to join a day of fun and unique surfing sessions hosted at Australia's most easterly point, Wategos Beach. Open to young and old, including finless, tandem, logs, mermaids, fish, soft, and the new surfer/shaper! Unlike other surf festivals this is not a competitive day, it's all about the pure stoke of freestyling your own creative way across the wave on a surf craft of your choice. Lots of cool happening, including $1000 for the winner of the Party Wave Dash - for Cash. A fun one to watch!" 

If you are thinking of being part of the day and have any question please feel free to contact me.  and check out the for updates and details of all that is happening at this great event.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Nice deck

What a great looking deck on this board in the foreground. This is a class of happy board builders after one of Stuart Bywaters board building classes. It is a great achievement and a very rewarding experience to build a board for yourself. If you love your surfing take it up a notch or two and build a board. And what better way of doing it than with a master craftsman such as Stuart. A great range of boards for one class but lots of smiles and high fives.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kiwi Wood

 It has been a little shaky in New Zealand lately but that hasn't stopped Adam Lloyd from building his wooden boards. I helped him get started with the vacuum bagging and now he has done a couple of simmons style boards and this retro twin fin which is 5'7'' x 20 1/4 and 2 1/2 thick . He has another one on the go at the moment which is a 5ft 11" performance shortboard.  "Hopefully it turns out as well as this one. Got this one made just in time for the smaller summer months. "

Adam runs 'The TimberBoard Shop" in New Zealand and has a range of kits ,timber and all you need to build wooden baords.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wooden surfboard classes, do it yourself or it makes a great gift.

4 Day Wooden Surfboard Class for 2017
March 23 - 26   2017   &   May 25 - 28      2017
Stuart Bywater is holding classes in the New Year, there are limited positions and they do sell fast, so this will be a first in first served basis. So if you are interested please let him know as soon as possible.
It is a 4 day course and each day is from 8am - 5pm. You will have all the materials and tools you need to fully assemble your board.
You will start with the full assembly and gluing of the frame. Gluing the top and bottom skins on. Vacuum bagging your board. shaping your rails. Fin placement. Sanding and getting the board ready for glassing.

Contact Stuart for all further information. This is a great experience for yourself or build a board with another member of the family. It is also a great gift for someone special. A lot of us surf, but not many of us surf on a board we built ourselves. It makes your time on the water pretty special.

Stuart Bywater  -  0414 283818  or 
Address : 182 Crockford Street,  Northgate, Queensland.
( Just north of the airport.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New board by John Purnell

" Hi Grant ,
hope this E finds you well, I’ve sent a few pics of one of the 2 boards I’ve just finished, “The Key” I made it for a long time surf buddy’s 50th Bday,   8’1” x 21” x 3”  single,  6mm thick steamed Paulownia strips over ESP blank shaped by Dave Reeves Ocean Shapes in Newcastle."
 "The blank is "blue foam" from Dion/Bennett, the 3 stringer lines are Australian Red Cedar with the rail band pin lines Western Red Cedar,  Australian White Cedar nose tip."
"And a custom John Devereux fin. A tung oil finish with my special bees wax/lanolin polish. It tips the scales at 6kg.

"I'm very happy with the results although there’s always a few things to improve on,
cheers,  John"

John builds a nice board and I am sure his long time friend will be very happy with his gift. That's what mates are for, share the stoke of surfing something different made with love and soul. Nice one John and thanks for sharing.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wooden Greenough edge board.

Nathan Grey from Sydney has never shied away from building a difficult shaped board and this is no exception. He has just got this new one finished.
"I had a go at at doing a Greenough style edge board.Vital statistics are. 6'1" 21" 2,5/8", It has got the single to double concave running the the central plane of the board, and I got myself a nice 8" hull flex fin from Alkali fins.
The Construction is hollow with rib's and no spine, the deck is paulownia and the rails and bottom skin are balsa. Glass job is 4oz top and bottom, entropy super sap epoxy."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fish Fry Floripa Brasil

Last weekend sawthe first Fish Fry in Brasil that wasa organised by David Webber. He builds wooden boards and it looks like there were plenty of wooden boards there on the day

 Felipe Siebert was there with some of his boards as well.
 It looks like they had a great day
David Webber builds wooden boards and holds classes so if you need a board or want to build one contact him.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jon White and Knocker wooden surfboards

"I have attached photos of a 8.6’ Hybrid Fish, which is my latest build and my go to board for all UK conditions. The design mixes the characteristics and performance features of a thruster with the added width and tail design of a fish. I surf it as a quad, but it would work well as a twin. It has a more progressive rocker than the fish, a flat deck and like all my boards it has a hard rail shape.
The board is made from Paulownia timber that is now grown in Spain Having a good European supplier is a real plus for the UK and makes it affordable. Previously the only option was to import from China, Australia or the US.

The surfboards are designed on a CAD program before transferring the outline and profile to plywood templates. Each plank is then screwed on to the rocker template and cut on a bandsaw jig, much like you would make chair legs. This means that the rockers are 2mm thicker than I require, but exactly the required shape meaning that they only require an even sand for the final shape.

The individual rocker planks are then screwed together, with the middle two lightly glued to enable the outline and rails to be shaped. The board is then taken apart and chambered (thickness: 10mm top, 13mm or 10mm bottom, depending on the bottom shape). With out chambering, the boards weigh between 27 and 29 Kilos for a 100-litre board. Chambering a SUP brings this down by around 60%, as there is more area per volume of wood than would be the case for a traditional surfboard.

The board is then glued together and given a final shape and sand down to 400 grit. Depending on the customer, I either added 7 coats of Le Tonkinois oil, or 3 coats over a ‘cheater coat’ of bio-epoxy resin. "

I have looked into this Le Tonkinois Oil as a finish and it is very interesting and a very old formula. But so far have not been able to find it here in Australia. Let me know if you find it anywhere.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beautiful wooden SUP

A labour of love and work of functional art by Tarquin Place

Monday, October 3, 2016

It is time to experiment. It is always time to experiment.

I get lots of people emailing and asking questions about building wooden boards and that is great. There are many ways of building wooden boards and there are no right and wrong ways of doing it. Seeking advice is great but in the end you need to get down to it and just do it.I find that on forums there are more negative comments than helpful comments to help people out.And some I would say come from people who have done very little experimenting and it is all theory and hearsay.You are also likely to come across people who know everything, which is interesting. Sorry, just my experience.

One question I get asked alot about my use of lanolin on Paulownia and how it works.

I have built many boards with Paulownia and a lanolin finish. Paulownia grows very fast and straight so has a very long grain and if it gets a hit it will absorb the impact very well. If it dents you can use a stream iron and and a damp tea towel and it will swell out again. I have done it many times. If you look after your board you will find that it will look like new for a very long time.

Just paint it on and leave it out in the sun to soak up. You will know when it won't take up any more. When it stops being sticky apply some more. No need for wax.
The Linseed oils and nut oils people use are vegetable and plant based oils that feel slippery when applied ( which people find appealing ) and if you wash the board in fresh water then a grey mould can grow in the soft grain of the wood. Where as Lanolin is an animal product and so it will not grow mould. It has a natural wax in it that makes it waterproof and when it hits salt water you will not need to wax the board. If you soak plenty of it into the timber it will seal and nourish the wood. Yes it is raw wood and like any furniture it will need to be treated right and looked after.You are not making a white foam surfboard as a piece of disposable sports equipment. Because your board is finished in raw wood with oil you will need to look after it. Don't wash it in fresh water ever. When you get it out of the surf , just wipe it down with a towel and let it air dry. Store it in a breathable cloth bag. Not a plastic / vinyl padded bag as it will stew in the heat if there is any moisture. Any raw timber will not fair well in these conditions. The moisture and heat will soften and break down the structure of the wood.

4 years old and surfed regularly in New Zealand. Still going strong in the UK now.
If you are are building a hollow framed board you will need to be sure to have good glue joints as the oil will not fill bad glue joints. Also the skins will need to be thick enough and strong enough to do the job.You may want to be safe the first time and seal the under side of the skins with a coat of epoxy or varnish.
I use :  they are a great local Australian company. I use their General Purpose Lanolin.

 I have found that when using polyurethane glue and vacuum bagging skins onto EPS that as the glue foams and goes off it is forced in between the beads of the ESP. This depending on the grade of EPS can be up to 30mm deep. This in turn toughens the EPS and seals the structure under the wood.All positive things. I know this from cutting up boards to rout fin boxes in and cutting shapes into the tails and adding nose blocks.

With all these things you need to experiment and find a method you are happy with and a result you are happy with. It takes time and you may have failures but that is how you learn. That is the exciting part. You will learn a lot. If you change one component you can change the outcome. Human nature being what it is you will more than likely to overbuild your first attempt. We have all done that.You can think about it as much as you like , but at some stage you have to give it a go.

Let me know how you go.

Mark Riley celebrates 20 years building Balsa Boards

Marks vision back in 1996 was to bring back the magic material of balsawood to relive the history and romance of the 1950's. Not only did Mark get swept away with the romance it was the physical properties of balsa with the strength to weight ratio that was extremely high which helped create boards that would last longer and never need to go to landfill. Every board is unique and hand built in Australia and stores carbon to help the environment.

Mark was recently fortunate to meet Ron Cansdell, who built about 150 balsa boards back in the 1950's.Mark had the pleasure of building and glassing a replica balsa board with Ron last month and also shared some great stories and photos with this icon of Australian surfing.
Mark would like to thank many people in helping him get to where he is today in this tough industry and he will do this with a celebration party at The New Sting Bar in Cronulla on the 13th October.

There will be pizza supplied, first release of his inaugural Papua New Guinea video including all info on the next trip to PNG to build a balsa board, all Aussie surf 80s rock beach music, lucky door prizes including a balsa board and Air Niugini tickets to PNG and many more prizes. Everyone is welcome to come down for a slice of pizza and action starting on Thursday 13th Oct at 6pm Sting Bar 3-7 Kingsway, Cronulla NSW 2230
 A great effort Mark and we look forward to the next 20 years.
Riley Classic Balsawood Surfboards
156 President Ave.,
Miranda 2228 NSW
Phone - 0412 376 464
Email -
Facebook -

Monday, September 12, 2016

Great looking paddle board

 This great looking SUP is being built by Tarquin Place in France. He plans to start designing this as a kit for others to build so as more info comes to hand I will keep you posted.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The flex machine

Tom Wegener and I have been swapping ideas and Tom has been experimenting and has now made a board that is on track for what he has been chasing. Unglassed raw oiled Paulownia botton , EPS core and cork top. This combo gives you flex and feel. The cork is soft and has a great feel to paddle on. No wax needed.We have ideas on tuning the flex to suit different needs and look forward to a summer of fun. Stay posted.

Tom's comments
"tomwegenersurfboards Corky experiment #9. I think I am now in the ball park. This board flexes beautifully and bounces out of turns. It is soooo comfortable with the soft cork deck and the oiled paulownia bottom is super slick and fast! No toxic ingredients, only a mask for dust. I love the new methods for making surfboards!  

Loving the vacuum bag! I was the most hard core believer in hollow wood surfboards but now I have opened my mind to EPS core with no glassing. Thank you @surfboardsbygrantnewby for sharing your knowledge."

More comments for Tom's Instgram...
  • flamasurfI'm as stoked as you are @tomwegenersurfboards !!I brought my hollow unglassed paulownia technology to the limit and I still believe for certain designs it's terriffic. But for "weight reasons" Grant's vacuum tech is probably the one with the more future today, 'cause it admits so many variations and materials that it opens a whole new world for experimenting. Wait until we have organic foam available... That day I'll be the happiest man on earth!
  • tomwegenersurfboardsThank you for the awesome comments @flamasurf @papanuisays @schenkles it seems vacuum bagging wood on foam is the future. It is a lot less toxic than glassing and we can hope for green eps and more available eps recycling. Grant Newby is the man! @kioboards I am still learning but aspire to share what I have learned in a video. @nille5promille I use PU glue and seal the paulownia with raw linseed oil, apple vinegar and gum turpentine 1/3 of each. Thx for you comments.
  • treetosea_ausYes @captjackg we at @treetosea_aus have been working on this method for most of this year. Just like @tomwegenersurfboards we believe it's the future of wooden boards. However flat boards like Mals are a lot easier than short boards with lots of rocker. We use recycled EPS foam blanks and NO fibre glass.
  • schenkles@tomwegenersurfboards I noticed that you've just got the board "naked" in the bag. Personally I've not been able to get the deck to draw down well to the core along the rails without using a breather cloth. I use garden shade cloth, which is some kind of synthetic mesh, get a tight draw down every time. How's yours go?
  • flamasurf@shenkles I don't use breather cloth, Grant doesn't either. I think it's only a matter of having a good pressure and a pretty thick pvc bag... But I'll try that garden mesh and see how it goes!
  • tomwegenersurfboards@schenkles I am just learning and the vacuum bag sucked a couple of mm under the wood. Sometimes I put the board in a bag and sometimes I tape the edges of the plastic to the table and have a the surfboard one a frame so it does not flatten out. Thank you very much for the help with garden shade cloth suggestion! The trip we are on is fantastic. Another person suggested carnauba wax on the inside of the bag so it does not stick to the glue. Thanks.
Great to see everyone sharing their ideas and results so that we learn from each other and take this to another level. It is exciting and only just beginning. We are in for a summer of fun.