Bagging with veneers

I’m looking at veneers online as a possible alternative to balsa, and I just wanted to get some input here before I spend any cash. I am not doing it for the “noble” reasons, ie. strength-to-weight, structure, etc… I am interested in doing a board this way because it looks just amazingly beautiful.

So, anyway, most of what I’m seeing is listed in 1/32 thickness. Is this thickness practical for bending around rails, or will I need to look for softer woods even at this thickness?. Any input is appreciated, since most of what I have found in the archives relates just to balsa lamming.

check out this thread, some good info…;search_string=bert%20inspired%20creation;#178800

Cobra uses 3/32, deeming anything less not worth the bonding issues and lack of dent resistance.

1/32 seems awfully thin, not structural at all, but worse, might need all the glassing of NO wood with the weight of the wood.

Most builders notch the wood on the inside of the rail curves. They used to notch the outside for better bonding with rail glass. It prolly won’t bend any corners, and memory so strong, it springs off the laminate.

Old tech Gary Young of Woodwinds used to use 1/16th veneers, but for structural strength. He used glass both sides, stiples, and additional 2 layers glass on heel areas.

Possible bonding issues with such thin wood, as it’s sorta like semipermeable cardboard, not fully saturating for bond, but just enough to change it’s initial properties.

Try some on the flats first, before dealing with bagging around rails.

check both the inspired thread and bert’s vacuum forming and sandwich construction thread great info in both. My understanding is most don’t rap the veneer around the rails. They just use the veneer on the deck and bottom with a wood rail sandwiched inbetween. similar to how paul jensen does his rail on his hollow wood boards. Sab in the inspired thread hints at this in how he did his: veneer the bottom, add the wood rails (3 strips), and then veneer the deck. (I hope I got that right).

b.t.w. Sabs if you read this, do you have more photos of a board in progress.


I have been wrapping the rails with 3/16 and thinner wood since 1985. The early days was with wetting the outside wood and glue and a serious tape job. Also making length wise knive scores on the inside to help make the turn. Now it’s business as usual with a vacuum bagger. I am doing 20 boards this month using a combination of bamboo(lahala), obechi, and balsa. Bottom line in wrapping rails is how brittle the board is. Lahala, koa, obechi are too stiff. Balsa, bass, and paper backed thin veneer(what you are looking at) does fine.

If you combine different wood types, try to keep the thickness the same to avoid sanding time. After reading the Bert Berger posts and talking to oneula, I have now started to inside tape(down side not out side) the pieces of with general purpose 1 inch masking tape(the cheapest you can find). This has shaved off probably 3 hours of total sanding time trying to get the expensive blue tape completely off.

I have seen the veneers that surftech uses, I didn’t measure, but I would guess they are 1/16". I am currently doing a repair on a robert august surftec wood lam for a customer. It’s a Two tone wood with fake stringer. I actually found a seam where the top and bottom meet. Looks beautiful, but mine are stronger and less expensive and custom.

I will post a picture tomorrow with a fresh pull on a rail to show you the problem areas and some ideas on how to finish what you cant wrap on the initial pulls.

Next time you are on oahu(i think your fiance is from here) contact me through my website and I can personally walk you through the process I do.

warmest aloha,



Ditto on Surfgear’s comments.

Three other lam top secrets (i think)

  1. Solid 1/2-1" Balsa or Palownia rails using 1/4-3/8 strips like Sabs showed (this is key)

  2. 2oz glass on the interior side of the lam for strength especially with the thin veneer

  3. if you go thicker use veneer softener on the rail pieces before bending, vac to bend then dry out then vac to glue.

Oh yeah tred softly with the sander if you go that thin…

Sounds like alot of sanding to do over at Surfgear’s…

I presume you are building that fish template you got on the surfermag bb…

You want a paper version of my double bump? We made a template last weekend.

I kind of like the shape you got sent…

Oh yeah I get you the fin placement measurements…

Building a bunch of 9x5 hardwood fish keels (bubinga/maple/padauk/koa) using Honolulu’s technique 1/8 wood-mat-1/8 wood. I’ll send you a set if they come out okay. Gonna try wood quads as well.


Yeah, I was afraid that veneer would be problematic. If it was easy, then all wood boards would have birds-eye maple and ebony racing stripes!

Looks like it’ll be balsa all the way, with the 2oz under, of course.

Thanks for the info cmp, I’ve actually been an admirer of your site and boards since well before discovering swaylocks and starting to shape. So, when you tape the bottom side of the lam, you’re just using cheap masking tape? I’ve noticed myself that masking tape doesn’t stand up very well to RR epoxy, seems to soak it up, but I’ve never thought of using it as part of the permanent structure. Does enough resin still come through to fill the gaps between the strips? I wish I was coming to oahu soon, but its not likely. My only hawaii connection is my father in Kona, and he’s moving soon. And my fiance is from mexico, so no help there either. Oneula has given me lots of tips on the process already, though, so I do feel pretty comfortable with giving it a shot. I’ll definitely be in touch if I run into any problems, though.

Oneula, I have my template all cut out, and it’s going to be a monster. 5’11" 18-22.75-17 12 between pins I’m actually going against the advice I gave you and am going to use a homemade eps blank again, but this time learning from my mistakes… No glued-in rocker, glued up with epoxy, etc… Between the cost of a blank and shipping, it is saving me better than $100, so there’s my motivation. I’m still undecided weather to go keel or quad on this one, but I guess I have time to decide yet. Here’s a pic of the template (to go way off subject on this thread). Thanks for the offer of the template and fins, I might take you up on the template just for future reference. And the fins… Like I’m going to say no, right? What kind of template are you thinking of on the keels?

wow 22.75" that pretty wide…

Wider than most 9’0"s longboards ridden here, but then again you are in texas…

How thick?

How do you fit all this board building in with your school and stuff?

I mean my mon-fridays are completely shot with work and commuting unless I want to stay up late and pay for it the next day. Also I’m sure my neighbors wouldn’t want to listen to power tools going off late into the night. Kind of ruins the American Idol experience if you know what I mean…

Weekends are also tight keeping the house/yard in order…

Free Time always seems to be the forgotton gem…

Anyway I’m using different sizes of the Lis template from the Surfboard Design book.

I’m also going to use my custom quads as templates for those…

So far I see it there are 4 basic building variations:

  1. The “Honolulu Method” wood-mat-wood (double foiled)

  2. The “Bert Burger Method” plywood+ropebead+glass (double/single foiled)

  3. 1/2" solid hardwood with ropebead+glass (double foiled)

4, 1/4" solid hardwood with ropebead+glass (double/single foiled)

I already have the wood and mat cut for methods 1-3 for Lis-style fish fins. The hard part is building the (future) box tabs which I’m doing with mat extensions and and and add-on build ups with strips of glass to the wood. The other idea is to use a wood post extension on the solids and hammer some sheet metal around the tab then glass over that to the wood. That way the screw down has something solid to push against. I’m with Paul J in using metal versus plastic/resin for the tabs.

Need to pick up some 1/4 for method 4 but this is what I selected to use:

  1. Bubinga outside Maple inside (using black opaque tint on the mat cut 1/4"-1/2" bigger than the wood)

  2. 1/4 cheap ply

  3. Padauk and some Curly Koa (plan on lamming thick rope into a groove on the leading edge before profiling the fin)

I think next will be to order some 3/8 sheets of this stuff:

and use method 1. It looks pretty awesome although not as natural…

Seems like you could build a double foil rubber mold and use RichardMc’s technique with some of that mirror epoxy for table tops. Dropping and suspending the wood with a cradle vertically into a mold (after taping togther the top and bottom side of the form).

I’ll keep you posted.

I’ll be out of town in SF next week traveling on business so it may be a while. At least I didn’t have to go to Boston this week with my boss.

Aloha from Ewa

Hi 4est

Tell me what you would like photos of and I will see what I have

The last board I did was a dyvinicell skin 5mm 80kgm3 man its strong and light 2.5kgs!!

3 oz glass and feels way over built!



Full sheet veneer is o.k. to use. Sorry if you misunderstood me. It’s the stiffness and how brittle the wood is that dictates if you can get the rail or not. Thin paper backed veneer usually can be wrapped. The epoxy will soak through the paper.

Regarding cheap tape on the down side of the pieced together veneer seams. I want the epoxy to penetrate the cheapo tape.

If you only place enough resin to laminate or put some 2-4oz glass between the foam and veneer, the end result is a nicely sealed wood lam with minimal sanding of the wood only, no tape to sand.

Once you shape the blank, take some butcher paper and imagine that being your lam. Examine carefully where you need to make cuts and wedges out to make the critical part of the rail. When I get the picutres in I will show you my technique. Essentailly I wrap the rail to the point where the bend becomes critically(the nose and tail) needing special wood slicing. I then post pull, add tail and nose pieces or blocks I didn’t initally cover.

Go for it with the veneer lams. I usually stay away from them due to the $$$$$ need to cover. The on island supply is limited for big pieces and the shipping for 3’ x 8’ sheets to Hawaii is costly. On the mainland shipping for you will be nothing. My way approx15-25 dollars. your way with full sheet maple 100-150 with the shipping consideration.

check out Veneer

Hi 4est

Tell me what you would like photos of and I will see what I have

The last board I did was a dyvinicell skin 5mm 80kgm3 man its strong and light 2.5kgs!!

3 oz glass and feels way over built!


Mike, no particular question, just doing my homework before I start my bagging project. My question was inspired from the followingsnip from the “inspired” thread:

"Pics wont show a lot on the finished board Ive started a new one and will thake a few pics as i go "

Did not see any follow-up pics and just thought if you had more showing the process it would be great to see. Maybe in Bert’s vacuum construction thread just to keep that material together and easy to find?


cmp , you just brought back horrible memories of detaping …

it was the worst job that no one wanted to do , especially if the tape got really resin soaked …

youd get blisters from trying to roll the tape off , and if you used a blade , could easily damage the wood …

so glad i found an easier way …

ive often thought about doing the method you mentioned in the past , but i noticed when the adhesive gets hot it lets go , so unless you had perforated tape or adhesive fibreglass tape , i felt uncomfortable with doing it that way …

even tho i never did try it just out of paranoia about something going wrong …

so id be curious to see how that technique worked out longterm …

depending on core density , 1/32 would be ok …

all my venneers over p/u foam were 1/32 anything heavier is overkill …

that still works fine even over the lightest p/u foam or the heaviest eps …

its the sandwich concept and how the glass is arranged that makes the difference …



Just trying to visualize the skin bagging process in my head, and the part I can’t see clearly is laying up the strips and vacuum forming them. Do you lay them out, then tape them on the deck side and when you bag it, put a wetted out layer of 2oz. between the foam and the wood laminate? That would hold the curve once it’s cured, then you could pull the tape that is on the deck side that held the strips together before the inside layer of glass was applied. It’s the resin seeping through the cracks that’s the issue with pulling the tape?

It sounds logical now that I type it, but is that the right steps?

Seems like that is where infusion bagging would shine, if you could somehow pre-fasten the balsa strips into one unit. You could infusion bag the inside and outside skin at the same time and be left with a nearly finished outside skin.

Granted then you’d still need to join the other side.

Just thinking out loud now…

Good stuff guys, thanks for sharing and inspiring.

Great thread guys…

The $16 homedepot blank is in the dumpster. If I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to do it right. I’m arranging shipment of “real” eps blanks from right now.

I just re-read Bert’s amazing thread, and the more I wrap my brain around the processes involved with doing the different types of balsa skin boards, the more I realize that Bert’s perimeter stringer method, while seemingly more complicated, will actually wind up being easier to get a better result. Trying to imagine the process of making precise cuts in a flat sheet of whatever type of wood in order to get it all to fit together perfectly as it wraps the rails seriously hurts my brain. On the other hand, if I make the rails separate from the bottom and deck skins, that really opens the doors for using more exotic and stiffer woods as my deck and bottom. I’m hoping that if I use glass on both sides of the lam I’ll still have a strong enough skin even when using only 1/32 thick veneers.

I do have a question specifically for you, Mr. CMP. I haven’t noticed on your website any use of rocker tables. do you find you don’t need one since you use stringered blanks? I’m hoping that using stringers I can avoid having to use a rocker table to maintain my curve, but I’d like to be sure before I flatten one out. :slight_smile:


I will post pics tomorrow of a bottom lay out, and a top with the rails. The longboard top, I got 95% of the rails of the whole board. Hopefully the pics will explain the process better. I am having trouble posting multiple pics and making comments post pics. This is a harder site than most to post pics.

I have 1 and 2 lb eps foam and superblue conventional foam. I routinely do not use a rocker table. However when I get my 3/4lb in I will use a rocker table from the cut bottom as described by Bert. I plan on using no stringer also. Of special note, I can add miinor rocker adjustments to my stringered boards when vacuuming the bottom by adding weights to the board on top and manuplating my holding racks to acheive this. After the bottom is set up the new rocker is in place.

1/32" you should be able to find full sheets of something. I did 2 boards today. One in 1/16th (all balsa)and the other in 3/32(mixed woods)

Lastly you could go full on surftec mode. Foam, glass, wood vacuum bag. When toatlly finished with sanding do a epoxy or polyester finish with no fiberglass on the outside??

Wish me luck with the photo upload tomorrow.



I’m glad your taping days are only memories. My cut fingers are healing from December still. So far the inside taping with the cheap all purpose stuff is holding up nicely. The tops I still keep a small amount tape going width wise to help hold rail pieces.

The top tape seems to come off more easily than before because I have less leakage due to the inside being taped.

I am looking forward to making some boards per your techinque. Your interesting and informative posts made me think through a lot of the processes I use. Hope to have a break and the end of Feb to start getting serious about light weight boards. Currently I have 4 tow boards I am putting BB’s and Mondo metal nuts in the board to make them heavier. At least I have the average weight board technique nailed!!!


im the ginger bread man …

pre fasten

pre shape

pre fab

pre arrange

pre pare

pre senting the almost finished article …bar fins and a gloss …




don’t waste your time trying to upload here…

Sways can’t carry the bandwidth so you’d have to rework your graphics alot.

Best thing to do is go post them in your user’s gallery at the Surfermag forum (let them carry the graphics load), then doible click to open the picture, right click on the pictue and select “properties”. Copy the URL or URLs from each of the pics you want to post here into notepad labelling them so you know what the are.

Then come back here and do your post or private message. You need to use the advanced editor and when you want to post your picture click on the picture on the far right top, then go to your notepad document copy the URL of the graphic you weant to post and yoila! the picture will appear in your post as a link. The storage bandwidth is handled by the surfermag server while the sways server just links to it.

Tanner showed me how to do this over at the surfermag forum but it can be used here. The surfermag photo upload process can handle graphics of any size and reformats them for online posting automatically. You can have a small, medium and large version depending on which pictures URL you select. One method is to save the URLs of all you graphis on a word doc that you just pull up to grab the url of the picture you want to post when you need it.

This method has worked best for me so far for posting pictures.

Anyone else here who’s had trouble either attaching or uploading jpegs because of size should use try this as well.

See you later…

Oh yea I got my thick (1/4) wide (6"-8") balsa in this week for my perimeter rails for my StubbVector. I just need to scarf join them into 7.5’ and 8’ long pieces to cut the stringer profile out to bend/glue to the sides of the semi-finished and narrowed blank like Sabs and Bert does.

Hey Bert/Sabs:

How thick do the rail bands needs to be to support the top/bottom shells? I’m figuring 1/2" but I could be wrong…


Hey CMP, not to sidtrack this thread too much, but in response to your comment: “Currently I have 4 tow boards I am putting BB’s and Mondo metal nuts in the board to make them heavier.”

I remember about 4-5 years ago seeing tow boads with BB’s added. Now they all (or at least the ones I’ve seen) just use heavy cores, multiple and/or large stringers, and lots of glass (3x6oz, 4x6oz). Better weight distribution that way…