balsa deck inlay?

Hey all… Still running through various ideas on how to keep the decks of dark red lifeguard rescue boards, polyurethane foam cores and polyester resin and glass construction, from delaminating on the decks. Knee paddling, lots of sun… big delams. I drilled/injected resin/clamped the delams last winter, but they’re back this year. Need a new plan of attack. I was thinking carbon fiber inlay, but… black… in the sun… The fine resin expert GL suggested Coremat. Hmm. Hadn’t occurred to me. Duh, just make the delamination-prone area thicker. 1/4" sheet of balsa the width of the deck and three or four feet long set right where the guards kneel? Coremat would be easier, I imagine. Layer of 6 oz, layer of Coremat, another layer or 6 oz? Or balsa… cut down the foam on the deck, some of which is rotted anyway, cover with resin/microballoons/cabosil, lay the balsa down, then set a layer of 6 oz? Or 10 and 6? ~$900 boards, used for work, throwing $50 or so worth of materials at the deck is a no-brainer. I guess I could just throw down four layers of 10 oz, but where would the fun be in that? [smile] Adding a pound or two to the boards really isn’t a big deal. They’re 35 pounds fresh out of the wrapper… Wild ideas welcome. It’ll be a long winter, and one of the boards is practically junk anyway. [smile]

How about this: Use EPS or PU foam. Shape it like normal. Get some PVC foam like divinycell, airex, etc. Route out the area where the delams occure, cut PVC foam to match. Lam the PVC foam in place with epoxy or poly on top of a layer of 2 or 4oz glassfiber cloth. Then lam as usual with poly or epoxy. Should be pretty strong. Some custom sailboard are build this way with PVC foam around fin boxes, plugs, and in the stomp pad area. Alternativly use vacuum bagging and cover the whole thing in PVC, then vacuum bag the final lam too. Have to go with the epoxy route with the vacuum bagging tho. Should be a good opertunity to try epoxy tho, all those “poly good, 'poxy bad” dudes have nothing to say, because it’s not like your going to surf the thing anyway. regards, Håvard

Hi Patrick - fancy meeting you here. A couple of thoughts on avoiding delams in a heavily used deck on a paddleboard. First, of course, is glass it real heavy. Two or more layers of 10 ounce cloth at least, which is gonna stiffen it up and prevent crushing the foam underneath and thus keep the delams to a minimum. Next, well, the dark red color of the typical paddleboard soaks up heat when it’s laid out on the beach. Something like an opaque white deck patch ( it’d be ok to do a clear lamination and an opaque white hotcoat and that would let you do a better lamination ) would keep things a bit cooler, thus the gases in the foam don’t heat up and expand and delam. When you come right down to it, dark red is kind of a dumb color to make something that’s gonna be left out in the sun. Dunno why they do it that way, but… Last - a deck pad, as you’ll see used on many very lightly made competition paddleboards. They seem to do well with them. They are not especially cheap ( typically around $50 US, I think Eaton has them ) and can be a bit tricky to put on ( I have used 3M brand #99 spray contact adhesive per manufacturers directions- don’t use a roller to put it on, as it stretches the pad and you wind up trimming it a lot ) and if you can find one of those in a light grey it’ll help with the solar heat issue too. The problems with balsa inlays and the like is that you really have to go to a vaccum bagging setup to get it to go down nicely around curves and that gets real tricky. A small shop vac type vaccum cleaner will provide adequate suction and the materials you need are definitely available but I don’t know if it’s not kinda making things a little more complex than they really need to be. Hope that’s of use doc

Hey Doc! I should have known you’d be here. Yeah, I guess some of what I was thinking of doing would be more complicated than necessary. Just going brute force and using a bunch of layers of heavy glass would probably do the trick. It’s not like any of the guards besides my surfing buddy would actually appreciate the difference between four layers of 10 oz and some sort of sandwich inlay. But I’ve got one board that… oh man, it’s hammered. Fin box torn out, nose and tail bashed up and hack repaired with Bondo, bottom of the nose worn down to cloth from guards dragging it by the tail handle, two big knee paddling delams on the deck, handful of small dings. Town was going to toss it, but I said I’d take a crack at it and not charge them if I couldn’t fix it. So I figured I’d play around a bit. Right now, I’ve got twelve paddleboards lined up for ding repair. Most are plain old tail/nose/rail dings. There are a few more challenging ones in the mix though. I wasn’t planning on getting set up to do vacuum bagging. The way the decks of the red boards are slightly concave, I suspect I could really just set a stack of books across a sheet of balsa and it’d hold it down well enough. I’m certainly not planning on wrapping it down over the rails. The thing steering me toward balsa instead of Divinycell is the huuuge price difference. Core mat / Baltek mat seems in line with balsa, but I wonder how hard it would be to wet out a 5 mm thick section of it. I guess I could just buy some and play around with it. Did you do the ding repairs to Wellfleet’s hollow carbon Hawaiian Paddleboards pintail comp board? I was talking with one of their paddlers as we lined up before the co-ed run/paddle relay and he said they’d just gotten it fixed up. I guess they sort of gave up on knee paddling it because they were crushing the deck THROUGH the (neoprene?) deck pad. One year old! Sure is fast though. 11 pounds for a 12’ board, I hear. They prone paddle it about as fast as the rest of us knee paddle Force Fields. So, yeah, deck pads… I was toying with getting a roll of neoprene from MSC and making some deck pads for our new red boards before they delam. I was looking at the pads Marine Rescue Products have on their site, but I don’t like the shape of 'em. Any idea what the Force Field knee pads are made of? That stuff is perfect. It’s nice and springy and grippy, and the right color. Boy, I’m glad so many of the rescue boards are still polyester, or I wouldn’t have any side work this winter! [wink]

Hey, Patrick, Yeah, I turn up all kinds of places, like the proverbial bad penny. Ah, you haven’t seen a hack repair until you see the board I had wished on me; some idiot had routed out where the fin box had gotten squashed in and routed and/or cut out vast gaping holes where the FCS side fins were- board got kinda squashed in there but otherwise fine. In any event- nope, didn’t do the carbon fiber repair, and glad I didn’t. Like some of the other very high tech competition paddleboards, I’d think it’s built way too light to really survive very long, plus carbon fiber is kind of a hassle to work with and in most cases I think it’s either overkill or just plain silly. Those things are made so light, just resting the board on its bottom can bust out the fin box. Ahmmm…fin boxes are not that tough if you have access to a router. I usually take out the old one, either add foam and rout a new box cutout or cabosil mix around a new one, bedded in cloth that laps onto the bottom to tie it all together. Bondo- well, grind it down and glass over with red opaque. I have played with the idea of stick-on strips of HDPE on paddleboard noses and tails that get dragged by guards playing Gidget, it’s pretty rugged stuff that is sold in peel and stick form for table saw fences and suchlike. I’d think you could deform it around the board ( with the peel away backing still attached ) wuith the aid of a heat gun, it’s clear or translucent. My problem with balsa is that it is generally a pain. Divinycell is easier to work with, and will stand up to polyester resin just fine. And best of all, from a simple point of view, is plain old glass and lots of it. Uhmmmm… if you liked the Force Field pads, ask Rian at Marine Rescue if he can get you some. He’s a pretty good guy. There’s also and a bunch of others … Well, that’s good to be starting off with. need any resin? doc…

My son left his balsa board under the sun once … Result was a huge delam (a circle of about 10" diameter). My belief is that : - Balsa is a porous material and all the air it has inside expands as temperature rises and therefore tends to lift the fiberglass. - Polyester doesn’t seem to bond well with balsa. Pierre