50/50 rails, concave

I’m about ready to shape my second board and I would like to do a 9’ 8" noserider. Any advice for doing the rails (50/50)? I practiced on an old stripped longboard and they came out bad. Real bad.

Would it be true that a 10’ & longer, fairly heavy longboard with 50/50 rails through-out, especially around the nose, will have a tendancy to pearl more? I have ridden an old school (1967 circa) 10’5" single fin tanker (with a nose concave),that seems to plane the water as easily as its nose submarines. I know that a lot of it is due to adjusting to a different riding style for this heavy board, but I also believe that it isn’t as forgiving as a lighter weight board with a 60/40 rail etc.

Yeah, I think it would compared to other boards. I guess. I have a 9’ 6" single fin, concave, very heavy, and I’ve had relatively no problem with pearling. If the waves are real hollow I’ll take out something smaller. When I’m riding the tanker it’s because the waves are small. Do you know how to do 50/50 rails? I keep getting thin boxy rails. Not the same.

50/50 rails or “egg rails” are usually soft, rounded rails. This is compared to a turned down rail such as the hard rail on the tail section of a modern shortboard. If you look at 50/50 rails directly from the side of the rail, perpendicular to the rail edge, the convex meets at mid point along the rail. There will be equal amount of foam above the mid point as below. I shape-in most of my rails with “dragon skin” and various sand papers.

Most of the problems that younger shapers have is that they are used to shaping pretty flat bottoms.If you lay a straight edge across a 50/50 rail board you will see that the bottom has roll in it.I usually foil the blank (thickness) and put the bottom roll in first before getting into the deck.Shaping the roll is nothing more than a couple of wide,shallow,tapering rail bands.By doing this you avoid the problem of getting the nose too thin.Its best to use the planer for this step.Some 50/50 rails are pretty thin (Phil Edwards model) and some are more egg shaped…its a judgment call on you.Hope this helps some. R. Brucker

Totally Lost, (great name…we’ve all been there). Dragon skin is good for shaping rails, but I’ve found that a sanding screen, the kind they use to sand drywall compound on walls, also does the job. Get one as large as you can and as rough as possible. To get to a 50/50 rail, start by skinning the board, which is simply removing the crust so that you’re into the clean, white foam. Then cut your plan shape (the shape of the board as you look at it from above) right on the money. I like to use a Japanese pull-saw, but there are many ways to cut the plan shape. Just cut it a little wide at first ( about 1/8") then finesse it exactly to the line with a surform or a sanding block. Create the rocker you want, and make the bottom flat rail to rail. VERY IMPORTANT: The rails at this point should be at 90 degrees to the bottom. Now you have references to work with. Next, bevel the rails on top using your planer. No planer? Use a sanding block…it takes longer, but it works. At this point let me tell you how to make a the best sanding block I’ve ever used. Buy a sanding belt: 4’x 24" works fine, but larger sizes are also useful. Now make a wooden block exactly 4" wide and long enough so that you can place it inside the belt and the belt will be stretched tight. Then take the block out and cut one end at a 15 degree angle across the width of the block, removing about 1". The block will now be too short when you place it inside the sanding belt. Next, make a wedge, cut at the same angle as the block, so that when they are put together, they make a rectangular block again. Set the large block inside the belt and slide the wedge in. The goal is to drive the wedge down, tightening up the belt so that it’s stretched completely tight with no slop. Drill a pilot hole in the wedge at an angle into the block and put a screw in to hold it in place. The belt gets old you just change it out. I have several of these, the largest being 4" wide and 18" long. Great for fine shaping, and straightening and smoothing irregularities in the foam. Back to the rails. Rails beveled on the deck side, do the same on the bottom, but always do each step about 80% complete, then go to the next step. It’s very easy to finish that last little bit later. Watch the rails closely as you do them so you get the shape you want. Count your passes on each side and duplicate that number of passes on the other side. To get the curve around the rails you can hold the sanding screen letting it bend as you pull it. More tension, or less tension will remove more foam ,or less foam. Also, the longer the screen, the easier it is to get rails with minimal irregularities. I hope there’s something in all of this that you can use. Have fun. It’s all a journey of discovery. Doug

Doug- you have the gift of teaching.

Thanks a lot guys! Doug, I’ll take your advice tonight when i get home from work. Thanks again!