Hi Sufiber,

I think that you probably would actually benifit form moving the post to the general discussion and are likerly to find a more positive attitude and more people willing to help/share/encourage. PM one of the moderators if they can move it or simply start a new thread in the discusion forum and copy and paste the link from here so people can go back and read the stat of your posts. Changing the title to make it a bit more relavent to the questions your asking would also help.

I’m sure people will be stoked to read your build thread in the discusion forum as thats what its all about.

I can tell youvery keen to learn how to make your own boards, that your super stoked your making some progress and just want to share that with others, but it may come across a little naive at times.

Your outline looks fine by the way but I’d tone down the bottom shape alot, thos concave are far to radical for a longer board unless your thinking outside the box.

It will also help if you upate your user provile with as much info as possible, i.e real name, locations, etc.

hey woody, i really appreciate all your boardbuilding tips, plus of course the useful extras on forum etiquette hehe. just shows how new (read : “naive” ) i am to forum sites, having kept away all these years and suddenly getting hooked after discovering swaylocks & treetosea.org. as previously pledged, i’ll definitely post my progress pics soon as i get started.

i’m still tinkering with my custom template though, and will decide what to do with the planned concaves soon as i finish parsing the bonzer threads.


My limited experience suggests that a much flatter bottom will be a lot easier, particularly in a HWS.

I used 1/8 inch three ply lauan (mahogany) plywood for my bottom skin, that came along well. But when I tried to use 1/4 inch for the deck skin, I couldn’t clamp it well enough to the deck camber and it pulled away. That whole project is on indefinite hold until I get more energy to take it up again. I’m going to have to remove the deck skin, it’s only partly adhered, and trash it. Waste.

Part of the problem was that in the interest of lightness, I used 1/8 inch thick ribs. That would be okay but the camber, the stiffness of the 1/4 inch deck skin, and inadequate clamping just did not come together.

One more thing: before doing this I made a 12" x 18" test box with ribs 5" on center, and 1/8" deck and bottom skins. 6 ounce gass and poly resin. I stepped on it gradually and it was about to crush. Lesson: ribs 5" on center, 1/8" deck skin with 6 ounce is NOT enough. MAYBE if the deck skin had glass on both sides, but I doubt it.

Strongly suggest you also make a test section using your planned rib/skin/glass combination, and see if it will be strong enough. If only interested in wallhangers that will not see actual use, you can go much much lighter.

howdy charlie, thanks for the advice.

that custom template actually came from a 7’6" gun template that came with the free aku shaper program download.

i made it 8’8" to suit my build & preference for easy-to-paddle longboard sizes, hence the combination longboard shape with a gun rocker profile from nose to tail. i might tweak the nose further, adding about 2-3 inches to make it pointier. hopefully it’ll work the way i need it to work in the beach breaks i surf — and the point breaks i intend to take on in the near future.

deck-wise, i’m planning to use 1/4" thick (bamboo or wood, depending on availability) slats mounted on 1/4" marine ply stringer & ribs spaced 8" apart. most of the HWS builders at treetosea.org were able to build their own with those dimensions & materials, getting the decks to bend using steam & clamps. personally i’m not even sure how 1/4" sections can keep my feet from busting through the deck. hopefully the consensus will prove right in the end.

what i’m taking a chance on is abaca cloth for glassing, in place of fiberglass. if it’s safe to glass the whole board without any fiber material, using only clear epoxy (sold in local hardware stores for roofing patchups & used in carshops for body repair), i’d do it myself. but for now i’ve settled on jobbing out the glasswork to the only local shaper based here, who’s given a fair price quote for it. he’s not likely to mess it up, so the add-on cost for oursourcing it would be well-justified.

If you’re willing to pay, Mike Casey might teach you. It’s not cheap, but you will learn from a master. He’s not in California, but on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. He makes a variety of wood boards as well as foam boards, but I don’t know if he does bamboo.

I know someone who’s doing an apprenticeship with him.

OK Surfiber, I take it your just starting out Got no tools. first do a search for Wood_Ogre on sways for some pictures. Oh yes, since when do they use feet and inches in the PI? I thought the US was the last hold out for that. Anyway because you don’t have any tools you might be better off building your first board with the Paul Jenson method that way the only power tool you would need to use is a table saw to rip your strips out of , the rest can be done with hand tools. for your first board keep it simple go back to Aku shaper and use one of there basic shapes. Just adjust the width,lenth and thickness and maybe a little more rocker if you go longer than a basic shape. don’t mess with the rail shape or add concaves, keep the bottom flat. Concaves require some knowlge of your material. Stay away from bamboo for now it is to difficult for you to work with your limited experience. Go to your local lumber dealer and ask for the lightest wood that he has, There are a lot of different kinds in the PI. You want construction grade wood with no knots. You don’t want kilne dry wood because it is not as flexible as air dry. You can rip your wood into 3/16 inch strips any thicker than that and it is not flexible enough. Natural air dried wood bends well and at 3/16 inch it will dry enough before you get to the glassing. Andy Smith Boatworks in the PI uses West systems Epoxy. You might be able to get it from them and glass coth too or they may be able to tell you where to get it Tell them what you are doing, be nice to them. They are a big company so don’t waste their time. Their phone number is (cell) +63-(0) 920-9606030. By all means check out Pauls sight, and be sure to read all the posts on Trees to sea. Collect pictures from the different builds. You don’t need an apprenticeship, You just need to look over the shoulders of the masters and the internet has made that possible.There is a lot to be learned on swaylocks. Ahui hou- Wood_Ogre

howdy, thanks for checking out my very first post. with the tips & feedback i’ve been getting here and at treetosea.org, i think i can manage to come up with a decent first effort. cheers

heya wood ogre, thanks for the heads up on the “local” boatbuilder. at this point i’ve already settled on jobbing out the glasswork to the only local foamsmith here. the price i got was a fair deal; he’ll supply the imported epoxy & supervision while i do the work myself. that way i get hands-on training directly.

mind if i ask for clarifications?

  1. You don’t want kiln dry wood because it is not as flexible as air dry : i may have to go to the provinces just to find air-dried lumber. as far as i know, lumber dealers here in manila only stock kiln-dried wood, often termite-treated. is this ok?

storm-felled trees are common in my neighborhood during the rainy season (june to october) though, but even if i get access to properly-sawn fallen timber stock, it’s mostly acacia & other heavy tropical hardwoods, traditionally more suited for furniture than for boatcraft.

  1. rip your wood into 3/16 inch strips any thicker than that and it is not flexible enough : isn’t that way too thin? the HWS builders at treetosea.org are happy with 1/4" thick decks, using steam & clamps to get them to bend. i can easily get 8’ x 2" x 1/4" slats at a nearby hardware.

  2. you might be better off building your first board with the Paul Jenson method : i’m seeing how this will be easier to do (vs. wegener’s & blundell’s methods) on a correctly-built rocker table. but rather than waste a lot of wood gluing up 8’ x 4" bendable ply sheets into 1 & 1/2" thick rails and then sawing off the unnecessary portions later, wouldn’t it be more economical & more precise if i pre-cut the sheets into slightly-longer versions of the stringer itself? that way, i would only need to sand the outside edges into the proper rail shape after glue-up.

  3. for your first board keep it simple - pls see my earlier post about how i extended the free 7’6" akushaper gun template to come up with my 8’8" preferred length & longboard planshape. i didn’t touch the rocker profile anymore but jacked up the stringer nose & tail segments to about 1/2" to 1’" wider to fit the NZ pine blocks i got for the nose & tail.

so essentially the hollow portion of my HWS ends where they meet the nose & tail sections, with the wood-strip decks overlapping on the solid pine up to 8" on top, leaving the last 4 inches of the pinewood nose & tail sections visible. there’s not much to see in terms of pine grain anyway, i’m jut hoping the deck overlap makes it a sturdier board. also, the solid pine sections are only 2" & 1" thick, so there’s not much to remove if ever i feel like drilling some chambers into them.

  1. Stay away from bamboo for now : much as i really really really really really wanted to use bamboo, rattan & other easily-replenishable tropical plant fiber materials when i started this project, sourcing proved to be such a source of migraine. for those who are also thinking about reducing their surfing carbon footprint this side of the world, let me show you how tough it gets :
  • R&D on native non-timber forest products is so advanced here, problem is, the mindset invested into marketing & product development is still stuck in the 80s (handicrafts/furniture for export). it’s good that local communities close to the source directly get govt help to become more self-sufficient. they come up with all sorts of trinkets & useful stuff, bringing them to the trade shows here & overseas for prospective buyers. with consumer demand driven by the whims of the season, they eventually end up back to square one when their designs fail to sell.

if only they could come up with ready-to-use materials in standard sizes, with consistent quality & fair pricing, and make them available all over. IMO demand would probably be higher if they produced the fiber materials as commodities for construction & interior design uses rather than as consumer goods.

  • direct sourcing? not really an alternative. local labor is pricey, and assuming you could get a reliable chap to gather the materials you need, they have to be processed into usable form. plus you’ll need government permits to harvest & transport them, including getting a truck (or a jeepney!) to bring it to your doorstep straight from the jungle. all this trouble to get 1 plywood-sized quantity of native tropical fiber material. in the end, you’d probably end up burning three or four times as much fuel in the process, compared to what you would use up on a single trip to the hardware section at the nearest mall.

so definitely my HWS will be made of wood, with abaca-fiber cloth instead of fiberglass. the 100% tropical-fiber surfboard will have to wait = )

btw the metric system took me a lot of convincing back in school, having grown up in the 70s. over here we still use feet & inches for height & pounds when referring to body weight hehe everything else metric

Contact Mike Casey (google Mike Casey Surfboard Design). He is a master shaper that can do short boards, longboards, guns, wooden boards, etc. He is in Hawaii and not the West Coast. He will charge you but you will become very good at your craft.


Contact Mike Casey (google Mike Casey Surfboard Design). He is a master shaper that can do short boards, longboards, guns, wooden boards, etc. He is in Hawaii and not the West Coast. He will charge you but you will become very good at your craft.

too late the hero hehe already got the materials to build my prototype where i am. cheers

I see you had a play with the Aku shaper thing, and that you’ve been around the tree to sea forum; have you downloaded the hollow board template maker that someone from there developed to run with Akushaper? I’m at work at the moment and have limited access to the net so can’t give you a link but it was easy to find.

I haven’t used it to build a board from yet but is great to play about with and will be using it for my next wood project.

Also, for a first board have you considered making things real easy on yourself and using ply wood for the skins? Just a thought.

hi jase,

yup already got JedAil’s heaven-sent hollow board template maker, you can get it here (HollowBoard Template Maker). btw an all-ply prototype sounds very tempting, however i’d like to get this baby done right. will post pics soon as i start. cheers

Surfiber, have you heard of an Australian shaper called Richard Matthews? As far as I know, Richard has been surfing obscure areas of the Phillipines and building wooden surfboards from local materials out there for decades under the name Bulau?? (please jump in if anyone knows otherwise)


hi dan,

i think you’re referring to that motley group of haoles down in lanuza bay, surigao province that’s been building boards with woven bamboo skins on handshaped foam. if i’m not mistaken, their boards are branded ‘lanuza bay’ and sold in oz & nz. there’s another foam shaper here in manila, a local who grew up in the US, building boards on the side, and later came back to set up his own shop. as far as i know none of them are into HWS. i met grand ol’ joe larkin one time up north (la union), he’s from oz & occasionally visits an old friend of his who runs a surf resort there. that’s how i got into thinking about building my own board hehe. i only found out that he was (IS!) a legendary shaper after i started googling everything about wooden boards


so definitely my HWS will be made of wood, with abaca-fiber cloth instead of fiberglass. the 100% tropical-fiber surfboard will have to wait = )

howdy fellas, looks like my tropical-fiber HWS is going to get built. i bought enough raffia fabric & woven rattan for the decks & rails, with ply ribs & stringer. been tied up these past several weekends getting my freestanding workbench to work with the removable rocker table, which wobbles everytime i move the whole setup around.

in the process i’ve broken the 1/2" thick, 8’8" long plywood stringer (2 layers of 1/4" thick regular ply) in two places— 12" from the nose & at a rib notch right down the middle. is it advisable to glue it back in one piece or to be really safe, cut up a new stringer altogether?

also, i’m using the 1/4" ply planshape template for my top deck & will laminate 6 layers of woven raffia fabric in between 2 sheets of woven rattan with clear acrylic roof sealant for a continuous, 1/4" thick rail-and-bottom deck “monocoque”. in this way the board curves & foil will be dictated by the rib outlines & the top deck planshape. anything i need to watch out for?


howdy fellas, looks like my tropical-fiber HWS is going to get built.

my new 8’8" spine & planshape, marine ply this time.

had to use water-soluble Stikwell, a local brand preferred by trade carpenters here, when i ran out of elmer’s wood glue for this mid-section glue-up. this means i’ll have to saturate the board interior with sealant.

just in case you missed it in the upper left hand corner of the previous pic hehe. the glue-smothered mat under the pressure release valve is woven rattan.

here’s a closeup of the woven rattan sandwiched between the 1/4" marine ply layers. and tweety bird hehe

and yeah, bonzer tail specs

finally, spine & ribs glued up :

with reinforced joints :

how overconfidence leads to tragedy :

this was before i heard the crack that felt like acid spilled into my gut :

mentor-less HWS builder gets cocky gluing up the sheet cork onto the nose without the rocker table underneath :

and pays the price :

to fix this, i could probably trim my spare regular-ply spine, turning it into a pair of splints running from the unbroken section (4" long) right to the nose tip :

there’s nothing like a good screwup to keep the glue-up interesting!

x )

here’s how the splint worked out :

i made a new rib and bottom ply section, but reused the top cork sheet and the spine for the 2 replicas turned splints.

and here you can see how i added woven rattan gluing strips to reinforce the splinted spine section :