I posted a thread a few days ago about wood fin creations and had one post, not exactly what I was hoping for. That got me thinking about the validity of wood fins other than the “cool” factor. Are woodfins obsolete? Or is it something that you are better off to just buy or make a fiberglass fin? Do you swayites think they have there place or is there truly a benefit to fiberglass over wood?
Oh ya here are a few new one that I have done.
This one has a few layers of glass on it.
Awayting your replys,
Not at all. Have a look in the articles section on tomwegenersurfboards.com
He uses wood fins on all his longboard, and his thoughts on them are quite interesting.
I know what I like to surf and I know what I feel/works well with a lot of shapes that I have ridden. Bouyance of wood or lack there of in some species can help tremendously, in my estimation, but that is not why I asked the question. It was to hear what you all think. I am going to keep making real wood fins for myself and anyone else who wants one, and not the stuff that is paper thin sheets of wood between 14 layers of glass and resin.
I am asking if there is any science or experience that can lay weight to the benefits of wood over fiber glass or fiber glass over wood.
Howzit souln, Not as long as there are trees.Aloha,Kokua
Unless fins are obsolete, the answer is no. Wood can be used to engineer flex and strength in fins to the same degree that fiberglass, carbon fiber, etc is used to accomplish this. But when you can market a molded plastic fin with graphite dust in it and call it a “carbon composite” fin, and sell it at a large profit margin why would you touch wood? I think that you might see more wood in the mainstream fin market, in the near future, namely bamboo… but we’ll see
For me performance is a secondary issue over aesthetics, probably due to the fact that I am the world’s most inept surfer. That aside, wood will always be a relevant material for fins as there are so many variations in the varieties available all of which will likely yield different performance characteristics as well as visual ones.
P.S. nice work!
In the early 1960s, all fins were wooden.
A few years later, all fins were fiberglass.
With a few notable exceptions, this stood until very recently.
I think you need to ask why wood was dropped like a bad habit around 1963.
I prefer wood for keel fins over anything else, if they’re made from top quality ply. I like their flex and weight, especially for big ol’ keels, where a solid fiberglass fin is pretty heavy for the size template and thickness of foil I like. I’ve also done a few for old school single fin longboards, and liked them quite a bit, too.
But for most modern boards - thrusters and quads - I like the “performance core” type fins, with structural foam cores and fiberglass skins, particularly made with epoxy. They’re light, strong, have great flex… what else is there, really, if it’s foiled right to begin with (besides aesthetics)?
I’ve seen and ridden fins made of various materials, and they all have their pros and cons. Wood fins are not obsolete in my opinion… nor are fiberglass fins… or lexan fins… or blah blah blah material fins… they all serve the purpose of what you are trying to achieve with their application.
I like Baltic Birch Marine Ply fins because of their flotation… but I could make foam fins or hollow fins too if I wanted flotation, but they are not going to share the same tinsel strength, flex properties, rigidity, aesthetics, etc.
I like working with wood fins because I don’t have to layer up 30-something layer of glass to build up a fin to the thickness I need… I can just buy or find the right ply, template it, cut it out, and foil it.
As long as wood is available, I will use it.
Dayamn! Those are some nice glue-ups! Great striations and choices of wood species!
Those pics irrefutably answer this question.
Woo…sure does make a good looking fin. I think that sometimes we look too much into stuff. I would imagine that fiberglass. lexan, etc were originally used for fins as a production issue. Lay up a sheet of glass (which was on hand, and cheap in the '60’s) or pour some plastic in a mold. Presto changeo a fin. Instead of planing, glueing, sanding etc., ect., with wood.
So there I am, me and two board feet of mahogany ready to sculpt out a couple of fins when nothing happens.? My 1974 Rockwell/Delta table saw’s motor cuts and does not want to turn back on. The guy at the electric motor shop, who looks like he just left a southern rock convention, tells me at least 200 dollars. Funny when a new motor is only 300 buck. So I’m going to do it my self for 15 bucks off the internet.
To the heart of the issue, I will say that I still love wood fins and will keep producing them until I can’t turn on a band saw or or cut all my fingers off in a table saw mishap. Either way it will have been a great ride. I love working with wood and fiberglass alike, there is something very zen like about it. Anyway thanks for the input all.
I just happen to know a particular fin “Mastermind” that is going to be releasing a line of wood fins in the not to distant future.
So my vote would be…No. Wood fins are not obsolete.
Hell, I hope to one day have my own release of wood fins…but I’ve still got a whole lot to learn before then.