airbrushing vs. glass adhesion

searching around online I found the following statement: “airbrushing may compromise the quality of the glass adhesion…after all, a pigment and some sort of vehicle, be it acrylic, watercolor, whatever, is being sprayed into the crevices and such of the foam, which in turn makes a bit of a barrier coat which the resin can’t penetrate and thus it doesn’t stick as well.” It makes sense. I’m getting ready to glass my second and third surfboards and was thinking about having one or both airbrushed. I’m really stoked bout these two shapes and am nervous about any way I can screw these boards up.

as long as its the right paints then you will be fine.boards snap and delam airbrushed or not. Do it have fun enjoy it, if it breaks make more

The pores in foam blank must not be caked full of paint! Do not apply colours on top of on another over a large area. Some amateur work i’ve seen has been so thickly applied that the glass delaminates. The other risky factor is any large area of black - black shouldnt be left in the sun! Water based paint should be left a minimum of 24 hrs before glassing, and preferably dried with good air circulation and/or heatbox. Don’t be afraid - never in my long experience has paint caused any weakening of a board for reasons other than those above. Josh

As I’m the guy who wrote that quote, on , let me add a bit beyond what’s on that particular page: The foam is permeated very little by the resin, on the order of 1/16 inch or 1 mm. Look at any busted board and check how much foam is sticking to the torn glass. So, anything that compromises that is gonna compromise the strength of the board. As has been mentioned, finely ground pigments in a vehicle that ‘goes away’ such as water is probably the best. The tradeoff is that such paints ( watercolors ) are not very opaque, so an airbrusher is likely to add or apply quite a lot to get the desired effect, which clogs up the foam, etc. And when it comes time to glass the thing, well, will the resin saturate the pigment enough to get to the underlying foam and get a decent bond or is it like trying to paint a house with old, chalky paint on it so that the new paint flakes off rather quickly. Overall suggestions: go light on the airbrushing if you decide you need it at all. Consider tint in the resin instead. Go with light colors that don’t soak up a lot of solar heat. Check the paint/pigments on scrap foam to see if they affect it and then try a little resin on top to see what that does. Just as an aside- the reason they get big, big money for black Dora Cats is that there are so few around any more - they died fast. I played with one for a while around 1971 and if you left it on the sand for a few minutes the wax would melt off and you could almost see it delaminating. You could definitely find new and bigger delams over the course of a day at the beach. Since then, I have seen boards that delaminated over dark graphics. Made a nice combination of graphic and texture, but I don’t think I’d really call it a major selling point, ya know? The first airbrushed board I ever saw was around then, a Plastic Fantastic around 7’4" or so. What had happened was the shape had been botched so they gave it to an airbrusher and told him to go nuts on it. He did, airbrushed the whole solar system on the thing. Looked really cool like something Chesley Bonestell might have done for an Analog cover, we’d get stoned as rats ( not unlike the guy who shaped the board, I’d guess) and stare at it some nights. Was even better with a black light. The board sold, eventually, to somebody who probably put it up on a wall or something, I doubt it ever got wet. All my own boards are clear. doc…

Have to agree with Doc on this one. Paint is inferior to resin on adhiesion. Paint also draws heat and UV. Neither of these are desirable either.