First build conundrum

I'm cogitating on my first build for recycled fir.  Slowly setting up my shop (moving the missus' horse tack into the frieght container) and playing with  BoardCad.  Due to limitations in the length of my material, I've set the overall length (straight-line) to 6'00".  So 6' L x 21.5" W x 18 3/8" T (she's got hips) x 15 7/8" N x 2 9/32 thick.  I've got ~4" of rocker at the nose and ~2" at the tail.  Both nose and tail go to flat in the middle third (so rocker in first and last 1.5' of the board.  This will be a mush rider (north Florida) and I have no idea what to do with respect to rails or fins (number or placement).  Any & all ideas will be most appreciated.


Please describe recycled fir.  Do you mean old framing lumber?  Don’t do it.  Way to hard and brittle.  And those splinters! I put one right through the palm of my hand once. 

Is this a hollow wooden surfboard?  Chambered or plank-over-frame?  A compsand board?  Just a fir stringer in a foam blank? 

I agree with everysurfer - fir is generally not the wood of choice for wooden surfboards.  Clear vertical grain fir is a nice wood, 'tho.  Maybe a bit on the heavy side.  I definitely wouldn't let length of materials dictate the length of the board.  Maybe you should search the archives for wood boards (esp. check out wood ogre's fish with an attitude).  Also visit the tree-to-sea forum for wood boardbuilders.  Look at Tuck's website

Everysurfer also has a system for rocker that could be modified to suit your conditions, its in a recent build thread of his.  Bottom line is that (and this is the general consensus) its best to avoid completely flat lines in your rocker - a very gentle curve is better.  For small mushy waves, look at mini-simmons, mini-mals, step decks, fishes, longboards, lotsa options.  Pick one that strikes your fancy, study a few, and you're on your way!


Listen to Everysurfer he knows materials.

Huckleberry mentioned various shapes.

The one I’m posting is just a suggestion for what you might be looking for?

Fins: Let me know the fin set up you like? Thruster, Twin, Quad?

If you think I’m pretty close to what you want and trust me I can send you some rail slices to follow for your rail contour?

I hope this helps?

You can design your own Butt Crack!


Kind regards,



The fir is from recycled gym bench seats.  I've plained some down and it doesn't appear brittle.  It is fairly clear with some very tight grain on some pcs and rather wide grain on others. Huck, not sure what you mean by vertical grain?  I can certainly work a slight curve through the middle third of the foil where it is currently flat. 

Sorry, it will be chambered.

i not sure what you calling fir. we have douglas fir over here. which is fast growing oregon. both pretty good woods for board building . cypress and pine are also ntb imo.  fir is light, naturally resistant to water damage , tools well, is cheap and stable, glues fine. all in all a good choice for a compsoite skin if a little heavy

Paul is right about fresh fir, if you don’t mind the sap. 

It’s the recycled part.  Working with old dried out fir can be a nightmare.  Beautiful stuff, but really prone to splintering.  Also a lot of work to sand. 

Forget hand tooling.  Trying to work it, it wants to follow the grain.  You would need to do the bulk of the rails with high speed power tools.  A hand plane to smooth out the bands would tend to bind and tear the wood.  I guess power plane to belt sander.  Maybe a router with a round over bit to work the rail tuck.

Just not a friendly material for first projects.

Gym benches?  After all those years of being polished by sweaty asses you won’t have to worry about sealing it!  Sorry.   But, I do think the source is funny.  Good old American Doug Fir is heavy.   I have a friend that picks through the really nice 2x6’s and builds beautiful surfboards.  Boards to hang on the walls and ceiling of his house.  He never tries to surf them.  You need a caddy to get them to the water they’re so heavy.  I bet they would make beautiful garden benches if you can seal the joints so moisture doesn’t collect and stay there.

Glad your back, Paul. Mike

I was out in the Low Tech Lab tonight.....I working on two new tools...The Cyber Slapper and the Cyber Grinder.

Everytime someone wants to do a leash loop I'm sending out the Cyber more leash loops! I hate those things. The Cyber Grinder will rid the world of leash loops!


Everytime someone has a misguided idea about anything wooden I'm sending out the Cyber Slapper...Slap Slap Slap....

I haven't perfected the Cyber Slapper yet but you better beware....

Spend the $65 dollars , buy a blank , shape a surfboard...You can thank me later








yeah heavy i dunno it doesnt seem to bad to me . thats why they build boats out of it . bit heavier then yellow pine is that right?  i milled up some old beams of oregon and it was lovely to work with . very close straight grain almost like cedar  i used it to seat a little dory and made some laminated beams. i thought i wouldnt be to bad for a compsand . i would choose it over any exotic that comes from a rainforest . but if having a choice im a huge fan of paulownia and have used cedar. balsa and totara in boards . i would say that oregon would be easier to use than the totara i used.

If it all fails

a couple bottles of  "conundrum"

will make it all better

great bottle of vino

Hey Paul et all,

Are you sure it was Douglas Fir?  We use it to frame houses over here.  Anyway, your all invited to my house to drink a couple of cold beers on my rotten Doug Fir deck.  Yes, the previous owner used fir instead of red wood and its rotting and falling apart.  Your a ‘beauty’ Ray.  Mike


 All joking aside.....The chairs I posted are about 60% recycled timber...paint hides everything....

You are set on building a surfboard with the wood you have. Go for it! But don't build a Plane Jane Pine surfboard. Mix it up a little. Get some Redwood binderboard from the garden department and some Cedar from the fence department.

Just because the benches were 6 foot does not mean you have to build a 6 foot surfboard......You can do lots of stuff with wood....

...and....WooodShops throw away plenty of good scraps that guys like you can use....Keep your eyes open....

Don't get distracted by smart asses on the internet....Do what's right for you



To all, thanks.  To Ray; I was going to lump you in with #2, but after your last post, you seem to be an odd combination of #1 and #3 (in a good way and with different plumbing I suspect).  I'll likely forge ahead at the 6' plan elsewise I could cogitate 'til the cows come home and not have anything to show.  Pics forthcoming.  Thanks again guys.