Hello to all… long time roamer…first time posting… im wondering if anyone has any experience chambering a full cedar board… ive been wood working for a while and really want to attempt a surfboard… i dont know any balsa suppliers around here (southern New Jersey) so i dont know what its like to work with but i have a full stack of kiln dried white cedar i picked up from Maine that i use for other projects… just wondering how cedars compares to balsa…

Just do it I say!

Sounds like you have the material and expertise to work with Cedar, so take the plunge and get into it… I won’t be the only one keen to see the progress and the outcome.

I’m no expert but:

  • Cedar is one of the materials that a lot of guys have used for boards. (often used in HWS)

  • I’m sure the approach would be similar to doing the same thing in Balsa.

Find Swied’s thread and go from there.

Stoked for you - If only I have the cedar you have :slight_smile:


Welcome Cheyen!

Cedar is beautiful wood. I have never used it to make a board – just balsa. Cedar is more dense than balsa, so you will have to be aggressive with your chambering to keep the weight down. That said… I like a good heavy board, so don’t make it too light. :slight_smile:

There is a lot of info on chambering in the archives, so spend some time and do the reading first. Make sure you don’t make the mistake of chambering before shaping the board.

I have a few opinions about style with wooden boards. First: There is no place for plastic on a wooden board. This includes plastic fin boxes, and lease plugs. If you can construct a wooden surfboard then you don’t need these shortcut items. Second: Make the board with the intent to ride it. Sure… it looks good on a wall, but its a surfboard. Ride it!

Here’s the link to my thread: Balsa Fish Project

yeah ive looked thru basically everything on the archives… got loads of info… ive shaped a few boards in the past all thanks to swaylocks… i was just wondering about the weight difference between the two types of wood… and yes… of course no plastic… ive never put fin boxes in anything ive made…just glass ons and leash loops… i dont have any intentions on selling any of them… its just something i love to do… i shape everything by hand, no power tools or anything… its my break from reality … and of course im going to ride it! haha… whats the sense in making a board if youre not going to

Southern New Jersey has wonderful white cedar, the used to use it to make the lifeguard boats before they started using fiberglass.

Hi Cheyen, here’s a western red cedar chambered board that has been in the works for almost two years now… The truth is I have no time to work on it anymore, too bad…

Although I very carefully selected lumbers for weight (or lack of, actually), it’s still noticeably heavier than balsa. But it’s probably much lighter than original “olo” boards, too. So, there’s no doubt that it is rideable. Also, the wood is very hard to break, even in small sections, so you can chamber a lot more. I’d say that leaving 3/8" in thickness should be quite safe with, say, 4" long chambers. But more experienced shapers should know better than I.

White cedar should be lighter than red cedar.


Balsa 7 - 9 lbs/cubic foot

red cedar 23 lbs/cubic foot

Here’s a link to some info about the board and the guy who built it.

Scroll down quite a bit to find it.


Take care.

yea you will be solid with the eastern white cedar, it is lighter than the red cedar. at 19 lbs a sq ft it is second to balsa

Hey Cheyen White Cedar is a great wood for boards. Or anything that has to do with the

water. Defintly heaver than balsa but much stronger. Lighter then red cedar, pine,

baswood. If you have the wood on hand go for it

this board is hollow and about 20lbs 9’5" I cut this wood down in south jersey very nice

stuff. Good luck and have a ball. Mike

1 more thing. I bought some paulowina from that co. in georgia and defintley think that w cedar is lighter and bends a whole lot easer. That stuff was a real pain to work with. Mabe that farm raised wood is different than the wood in oz. I dont know. Go with your cedar!!

 The cedar is beautiful stuff, and if you have a load of well dried cedar use it!  I don't know if the lads from grain post here but if you're interested in building a hollow cedar ride check them out at <a href="http://www.grainsurfboards.com" class="bb-url">www.grainsurfboards.com</a>  The craftsmanship is awesome, and you can get an idea of weights in the faq section.   


is it just me is hollow wooden contruction a really good substitute for classic styled longboards?

Great work guys… great to see so many beautiful wooden boards on here.

I just love the way somebody raises the topic of wood on here and all these boards come out of the woodwork (sorry - had to throw that in)

Keep the pics coming :slight_smile:


well im definitely gonna do it now! Thanks guys for all the input… yeah red cedar is great to work with but even after its been drying for a while it still can bleed and get sappy… i dont know if anyone here knows anything about duck decoys but i make them… used to use Jersey Red cedar until i met a guy who sells Kiln Dried White Cedar from Maine… such a difference! so m uch nicer to carve and shape and so much lighter… and its kiln dried so theres no need to let it sit for a year or whatever. I’m prolly going to start on the board when i get back from North Datoka the end of october… ill be sure to post pics of the progression for you all. I was thinking maybe 9’2"x24"x3"…maybe a little bigger maybe a little smaller… any ideas?.. im 6’4", 190lbs

im using recycled cedar and its fairly time consuming trying to chamber however the finish youll get with cedar should be well worth the time and effort it takes. I used brace and bit until i got a drill with 26mm speed bore getting gradually smaller towards the ends. Then i used chisels and finally a rough file. it seems to have worked well enough.

White cedar is about 15-20% lighter than red cedar, but about two to three times as heavy as balsa, depending on what kind of balsa.

Pretty brittle stuff, though.

I’m in South Jersey so it seemed natural to me to use some home grown. I chambered this one similar to Balsa’s picture. I decided to cut out the webs of short grain between the chambers. Then they were replaced with 1/4 pieces of white cedar but joined with glue about a foot apart. Adjacent web spacers were offset so the deck is supported every six inches. I also removed material at the ends and rail pieces to about 3/4" thickness. The deck and bottom thickness was 3/8" before final shape/sanding. Probably could push it to thinner but the idea of sanding though is not so appealing. Besides that only using 1 4oz. both sides so I feel more comfortable with having a good at least a 1/4" of wood everywhere. I had some thick pieces of WRC that I had bartered for a while back so I used those aside the center which I forgot to mention is actually a 1/4" stringer. Looks like an I-beam. It’s been fun I’m ready to glass. Thanks for the pictures and posts guys. Look forward to more.