glassing paulownia


i know the alaia boards are generally unglassed but what about hollow paulownia boards? can you get away without glassing.

toying with the idea of building 1



sean b

If you use a waterproof glue when glueing up the blank (like epoxy) you can get away without glassing paulownia. A good marine varnish will work to seal the board, just need to give the board more care and attention over time.

Both Tom and Jon Wegener have glassed paulownia longboards in their line up. 

I just got an “Empress” paulownia chambered board dropped off to me to repair, the glass is lifting around the rails and on the deck, never been in the sun or water, don’t know if it is polyester or epoxy on the lam, but think it is poly

Oily wood is a problem. I did some resin tables that had teak in them and the resin delamed. I was using epoxy. To remedy the problem I sealed the teak with two thinned out coats of dewaxed shellac and it worked great. Going on 5 years with no problem. …Dewaxed shellac is an organic product thinned with common denatured alchohol. You can go over it with just about any finish.It has to be topcoated with something as it is not a waterproof finish. I go over it with lacquer and varnish in my furniture studio. I also color it with universal pigments. Have fun out there.  RB

Kevin, beautiful boards on your website.

Hey Sean…I’m no expert here (JTG), but I have made a few HWS out of Paulownia.  Skins 3/8 thick, marine ply interior frame with solid rails.  I glassed both boards with 7.5 volan using RR epoxy resin with a ploy gloss coat.  

The 2 boards below are 9’0 and a 9’2".  They weigh about 25lbs glassed…no cheater coat.

 The plan shape is from John Cherry…taken off his Balsa Phil Edwards.

I would definitely glass any Hollow wood board…if you plan on surfing it…and you must surf it!

good luck.



hey kevin, when you say epoxy glue, i take it you dont mean regular epoxy used for laminating the glass? this would be very brittle no?

what would you recommend?

btw, your boards look totally awesome, it was actually your design, found it while researching paulownia, that inspired me to give building a HWS a go. Its a completely diffrent animal compared to kiteboard build but the devil hates a coward.



sean b

Thanks. You can use a West System epoxy as glue; I’ve used resin research epoxy as glue in the past too. 

dont know if you guys would know be here goes,

the kite surfboards are glassed heavier on the top compared to paddle surfboards because of the additional forces.

if i didnt glass you reckon a HWS would need additional internal frame or would the outer skin be enough?




sean b