list of computerized shaping machine users...

I’m sure there are many more that chose not to be included. This was copy/pasted right off the website… Bahne Surfboards Backyard Boards Carvin Surfboards Channel Islands Choice Surfboards Chris Christenson Surfboards Clubber Surfboards Kevin Connelley Surfboards Cooperfish Surfboards Dave Kelly Surfboards DX / Epoxy Pro Surf Co Eberly Surfboards Encinitas Surfboards Evolution Surfboards Inc Frierson Designs G & S Surfboards Hamilton Hawaiian Longboards Hamish Graham Designs Hanley Surfboards Doug Haut Surfboards Hawaiian Pro Designs Linden Surfboards Line Drive Surfboards Lost Surfboards Marlin Surfboards Mavericks / Jeff Clark Surfboards McCrystal Surfboards Mitsven Surfboards Northeast Surfglass / Shane Smith Nezzy Surfshapes Nine Plus Surfboards Ocean Air Surfskates Pearson-Arrow Surfboards Brewer / Plumeria USA Pure Fun / Hank Byzak Rusty Whitlock Surfboards R&D Surfboards, Ricky Carrol Sauritch Surfboards Schroedel Surfboards Secret Spot Surfboards South Coast Surfboards Stewart Surfboards Surf Systems / Bill Thrailkill Surfboards Hawaii Szabad International Guy Takayama Surfboards UM Surfboards Velzy Surfboards c/o Barry Jones Wahl Surfboards Walden Surfboards Hank Warner Custom Shapes Yinger Surfboards

…and your point is?

There has been much talk here of domestic “soul” vs the influx of foreign made product. I’m all for the soul argument. I just thought it might be interesting (and disussion provoking) for everybody to see some of the soulful domestic manufacturers that are putting out computerized machine shaped boards. As for customization, check out the software tour on the same website… it’s just a click away. Do the factory photos give you the impression that the shaped blanks exude soulful properties?

Reminds me of “farmers”- there are shop/business owners who do most everything. Then there are “paper contractors”, who farm out all the work to various subs. No criticism one way or the other. Just a fact of business life. But perhaps the terms, “custom”, “handcrafted”, etc. need to be clearly defined, before they`re RE-defined into meaningless oblivion.

But still, does “handcrafted” necesserily meen a better product, besides the ‘soul’ thing? As long as the maschine can make a custom (and a really good one too). Can of worms, I know. regards, Håvard

the computers and machines are merely tools. the finished board is only as good as the work that went into crafting it. whether that’s done using a CAD system or digitizing a hand shape, someone with a certain skill set needs to layout the foundation. wasn’t there a time when boards were made without planers? when the planers came along, were those boards disregarded as lacking soul? kirk

Good point. I shake my head in wonder when I see a photo of the “good 'ol days” and a guy with a hand plane, shaping on a picnic table in the afternoon sun in the backyard. (or under a mango tree) Precision isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I remember someone here way back posted a that “if it the hotcoat doesn’t have a dog hair or an insect part in it it hasn’t got any soul” One of the first boards I shaped and glassed was done in in my tin roof barn, which was like an oven in the summer. My mom came out for a visit one afternoon as I was in the middle of a “soulful” lamination. I had just poured the lam out and was applying the squeegee to it when about midway down the second pour the resin started to kick in the bucket. That second pour kind of plopped on the cloth when it hit. My mom walked in for a chat as I was beginning to realize that the only way to save my magic shape was to pull the cloth off and wash the blank down in acetone. Glad I had the respirator on, as venting my frustration from A to Z just as she walked up. First thing she asked was “have you ever built a surfboard before?” It turned out to be one of the best boards I’d ever owned and it served me well on 3 trips down South. It turned yellow really fast but it had some soul! Wasn’t Tom Morey quoted as saying once that symmetry in surfboard building was largely a waste of time? Tom S.

…I have seen my share of f**ked-up cnc cut blanks right out of the machines,no finish work done to them yet,and they were basically trash or in need of re-shaping,which takes longer than shaping from scratch.Now this was a few years ago and I’M SURE things have gotten better,but geez,you should have seen these rails on a famous builder’s cnc’d rails,BAD!Herb

herb makes a good point. there isn’t a single board that comes off a machine that doesn’t require some fine tuning (dialing in lopsided rails, knocking off nose and tail clamping remnants, planing down stringers, screening, etc…) so, if i spend 20 minutes perfecting a machined shape by hand can i claim any “soul”? what is the sweat-to-soul equation anyway? kirk

I’ve seen quite a few lost surfboards where you can see stripes on the rail that I presume come from the shaping maschine tool. I guess they don’t sand the rail, or maybe they just forgot and sent it off to Norway… regards, Håvard

In the old days the name shappers had sometimes 3 or 4 guys that strip the blank and ruff shapped it, and they came in and finished it off. That is how some of the top shappers started. At one time Velzy had Yater, Nole, Webber, and on and on working for him stripping blanks. Now it is just being done by the machine right? Time moves on.

Havard, what I think you are seeing on the rails is the grain from course sanding screen. It can have a very even look to it, like it is the remenants from maching.

I still love the fully hand crafted boards. Machines yes they can do it fast and acurate. then the guy who shaped it just signes his name on it. Hmm does that name mean anything anymore. I think that the imperfections in the man made blanks actually make the product better. Maybe theres a tiny flatspot they missed, or the tail is not quite even. But you get part of that person in the board. You know someone spent time and frustration trying to get the board right. And even if not as fast and acurate as the machine. Its from them!! Kinda like crafts. you can buy a mass marketed chair or table or whatever,but then its just a chair. If you get a hand crafted peice, i dunno there is just something more satisfying about it. ANyways just thought id add to this with my thoughts on the Subject. Oh one more thing… i like that about the no bug and no hair no soul. It all ads somthing to the finished product. No one else will have one just like it… Ahhh Yea Dirty Glasser

I was a little confused myself when the guys I’ve always considered the premier “soul” surfer/shapers - Dick Brewer/Plumeria, Wayne Lynch/Evolution, Gene Cooper/Cooperfish and even “Backyard Boards” have gone the computerized route. There’s a good one… I don’t have a bone to pick with them or anything but doesn’t “Backyard Boards” sort of imply the down home spirit of Swaylock’s? Maybe it all boils down to BS sales pitch anyway. Kind of like Neil Young saying he prefers vinyl played on a turntable for it’s “warm sound” when most of us would probably agree that CD or digital music sounds so much better without the hiss, pops and skips we had to live with for so long.

Backyard boards? I saw a couple of these boards when I was at Macy’s in Monterey a while ago used as an advertising prop for summer gear. I have no idea if they sold to Macy’s by BYB but they had an OTB (phantom shaper or shop?) logo on them as well. Weak and very unsoulful. But be nice kids- I dont hear any complaints about the soul of making our 4/3’s that keep us toasty all winter.

john, come to my shop, hang out for a while, watch a board being built. then tell me that i’m not putting enough time(or “soul” as you put it) into each board. i handshape plenty of boards or spend several hours shaping and fine tuning a program. either way it’s a fair amount of hard work and takes quite a bit of attention to detail. and what about glassing, is there any “soul” in that? i’ve enjoyed your posts in the past but feel that your really confused on this issue. a more telling list would show the guys that refused to have they’re names posted on the kkl site. that list would be much larger and would have the names of those with less spine.

I admit to being confused. I’ve heard many arguments here re: handmade domestic customs vs Surftech, Transworld, Cobra, etc. One of my recent posts implies that there may indeed be advantages to machine made boards - “look at the entire product line of Surf Tech and tell me you can’t find something close to what you’re riding now - and if not, does yours really ride any better?” My posting the list and asking a few questions was more an attempt to examine the arguments made against machine made boards than to knock any specific brand - yours included… I have seen and admired your boards and think the shapes and glasswork are top notch. I’ve said as much on this site in the past. To me,it really doesn’t matter if each one is shaped entirely by hand or pre-shaped by machine. My questions were directed more towards the arguments for handmade customs that start to fall short from a logic standpoint. Bottom line is domestic manufacturers will have to stay on their toes in all areas of production and technology to keep ahead of imported product if they are to survive. If computerized shapes are the answer - so be it. Arguments against the machines were really what I was trying to question and that is what brought the Neil Young thing into the picture. By the way, I would like to visit your new factory and see how you are doing things - especially the awesome acid splash glass jobs!

I used to be Jim Phillips “pre shape blank skinning machine”.It was a great way to learn how to use the planer.Big old thick blanks…three or four full depth passes on regular weight foam that we glued up ourselves.How long would a little Hitachi Planer last in that scenario?Just another Geezer memory. R.B.

give a call and come by anytime john. #'s on the site.

Maybe, the stripes are about 3-4mm apart. Would that be it? regards, Håvard