Hollow Wood Surfboards are great. Building one is a wonderful opportunity to express yourself through your surf craft. Each one is as unique as its builder since you get to choose the wood, the patterns, and finish. They are built in a series of steps with a manual that walks you through the process one step at time. While it may take some time to complete the board, the culmination of small steps will result in something that brings admiration and inspiration.
Below is a quick overview of the process:
Assemble frame kit. Each frame kit comes cut out on a sheet of plywood, still held in place by small tabs. You simply cut the tabs and quickly knock them flush with a sanding block or a block plane.
The frame it is designed in a way that it slots together quickly and easily. all the parts are numbered and on the spar (the piece that runs the length of the board) the frame number engraved next to the slot the frame goes in.
Temporary spacers are glued to the skeleton so that it is held true on the work surface, these in essence are little legs to hold everything at the right heights.
The deck is then built using strips of wood, much like a cedar strip canoe or kayak is built. Once the deck is in place you can flip over the board and start on the bottom. Before planking the bottom inserts are added in areas where fin boxes will be installed (if using fin boxes). The bottom is then planked up just like the top. On some boards thin plywood can be used on the bottom instead of wood strips if so desired.
After the bottom is planked the edges are trued up to match and then the rails are built up using strips of balsa wood to get the desired rail size. Then the rails are shaped in. Rail shape is one of the most important parts of surfboard design and greatly influences how the board will behave in the waves.
After the rails are shaped the board is glassed up, just like a regular surfboard and then it’s off to the waves! (Of course that is after modestly explaining to all the rubber neckers that yes you did make your board and there was nothing to it).