EPS glue up - Latex Paint FAIL

Around 2006, I harvested a lot of what we call “Wiliwili” here in Hawaii. It’s the closest thing we have that is like Balsa, and I was hoping to make surfboards with it. I did make several veneered boards, but nothing that was only wood. In the time that has passed, a lot of my wood has been attacked by bugs including termites and I’m not sure if I can use it all.

I also bought a huge amount of model airplane balsa from a model airplane maker’s widow, and have made several wood boards with the balsa. I’m currently on my 3rd hollow balsa and probably have enough for one more. But, these boards are all encased in fiberglass and resin.

Some guys are building hollow wood boards with no fiberglass and no epoxy resin. They use a water resistant wood with an oil finish like they did a hundred years ago. Boards end up heavier, but for some designs that is OK.

Great. That’s my goal, a wooden board. For now, I’m reading about different methods. The main problem is that here you can’t find balsa neither paulownia. Balsa it’s sells in little (and very expensive) packages. There are some recent paulownia plantations but still not in wood production. The lightest wood is pine…
I read something about wiliwili’s tragedy. Really sad. Nobody is thinkig to reborn that specie? With all that fire on Hawai, is not a bad idea. Win Wender’s The salt of the earth movie can be motivational. Great movie. Varuna posted a video where they explain their plantation program. Interesting too.
Anyway, when I wrote “eco-wood” I made a mistake. In reality, I was referring to a “plastic wood” made with the rests of eps disolved in thinner. Lot of uses of this shit. It’s a kind of laquer, can plastify paints and other materials, etc. Blended with sawdust and pva glue you can make a “plastic wood”, for fins in this case. In a few weeks I’ll have a little time to make some proofs…

Interesting. I prefer to stay away from messing with the solvents. For fun, you can actually make a board and dissolve the foam with solvents and end up with a hollowed shell. I’ve accidentally dissolved foam, and I’ve done my share of exothermic disasters.
Look for the Agave type of plant if they are near you. If you can find several trees with large trunks, you can make a board. Harvest the wood after the tree is dead, and it will be naturally dried out.

It’s the dilemma of what to do: whether to reuse these plastic things or use natural materials. Maybe should be the both. I have a small cellar full of eps that gave me a friend who works in a veterinary clinic, and about 10 agave stoles that I collected from the hills near my house. It’s full of those plants around here. I cut them during the covid lockdown, still green to left them to dry. A few months ago I did the harvest. They were dry, but some had the central part of the wood milled. Infected by fungis that climbs through the roots. But others are fine. So you enlightened me: I just decided to retake that project and make my first agave surfboard. With plastic-wood keels… I know that solvents are not good, but I can´t throw out the EPS on trash and this is an alternative. There are other things that I’m trying too: blending milled eps with cement you can do many things (lightweight bricks, etc.). And in case of DIY bio-blanks, I have seen some options with mushrooms and other made with biopolyols. A couple of years ago some guys from here made blanks with cochayuyo, an endemic algae. They called it Yuyo surf (the chilean, not the french one that makes 3d printed boards…). I wrote to them but seems that the project died. It seems that in UK there’s a guy making something similar with seaweed. Here’s a video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMZ8sOHaYxg I don’t know if somebody knows something about this. Greetings and be fine

I cut one agave here, but it was green and the drying process took so long. When I cut into the stalks they were soft inside and useless. I heard later that you should let them naturally dry out, then cut the stalks. Problem here is carpenter bees attack the trees when they dry out. The carpenter bees attacked some of my wiliwili, balsa and even my EPS. Ended up wrapping my wood in plastic then storing it inside sheds.

Be careful when you work with the agave. I hear the dust is not good for you, so wear a good respirator.

Agave and Wiliwili have really nice grain when they are glassed. Good luck!

I just watched the video, it was interesting. I don’t think it made much sense to do what they did. It looks like they just added seaweed to 2 part polyurethane pour foam.
I’ve read about the mushroom blanks before. I’m pretty sure the only truly way to make an environmentally safe and zero affect to nature board is using only wood and oils. No fiber or resin to seal the wood. That’s what my grandfather’s generation did, they made solid wood boards from a single piece of wood. Downside was they were very heavy and hard to ride.
Take care!

Ancestral wisdom. I read about sanding agave it’s like to breath needles so I’m aware about that. Thank you!
The seaweed foam. I think that it’s not petrochemical PU. It looks more liquid, it’s not yellow and it’s not seems to be expanding like the typical PU. I’ve being searching in scholar google about biopolyols and there’s a lot of researches that talks about this topic. Algaes have oils and mixed with some kind of sugars or glicerol or something like that, I don’t know, it can react and do something like the video shows. In fact, Arctic foams is already doing algae foams. There are other industries making EPS bio-equivalents with good results that perfectly could work for surfboard blanks (search about Epla or Biofoam). Anyway, trees and agaves are always there growing by themselvs…
All the best and be fine!

This is amazing…who said latex paint would glue EPS? There are only a few legit ways to glue up EPS that are solid. try them all, but in the end you will see a few things in your glue up that will look sketchy, if you want a “Pro Built look” you need to use something that will fill voids… EPS will have voids around the stringer that you want filled and looking proper. So… 1) tried and true mix epoxy with white micro filler, this is bullet proof, lay it in goopy and thick, smushy, then wipe clean. 2) gorilla glue in white or clear, better work time, do not forget to water spray to activate. All other shit will give you limited results…ask me how i know. You will still need to seal your blank with Sherwin Williams light weight spackle compound if you want it to look poly clone. , but it will be minimal if you use this method.


BTW…I’ve made a few combo EPS and Agave boards…I feel this is the way to go, best of both worlds

And being the ex 3M rep, I know a tad about this…do not spray super anything 77 etc on eps…it eats it up and will leave voids between you foam n blank.

Thaks for that tip, resinhead. Barry Snyder uses agave for the rails too. Good option to make more ding resistant boards?