Paulownia lamination

As a first time shaper of a wood board, ive noticed on this site and other places that there are two ways to laminate wooden planks to make your blank: 1) simple laminate side by side, and 2) the three layer sandwich that has been discussed that Tom Wegener uses (deck, bottom & middle).

My question is how have newer shapers found the two methods? Ive poured over material and have planned my attack, but it would be good to know from past first-timers what would be the best way of taking on your first project.

I’m making a 9’ x 22 3/4 x 3 longboard from Paulownia wood.

Any usefull info on the laminating question would be good, and any other tips would be much appreciated.


A few thoughts:

Laminating side by side doesn’t require a jig but uses more material and the grain in the bottom doesn’t follow the rocker curve

Using a sandwich construction requires a jig but less material is used and ‘chambering’ is easily achieved without drilling out wood.

Also with a the side by side method any increase in rocker means an increase in the material used, not so with a sandwich construction, probably not an issue with a low rockered longboard though.

With a three layered sandwich for a board tapered profile board you will need to profile the middle layer components prior to assembly and laminating so that your inside layer is tapered.

I use a four, five, or six, or 7 layered untapered sandwich myself.


Thanks for that.

I’ll do a bit more digging around as to how to go about the sandwich apporach, as less material will make it lighter, and it is a 9’.

I checked out some of your boards Tom on your website - Nice!

Thanks again - Grant


What I meant by “less material” is that there is less waste, you might use half of the material or less making a layered board but I’m pretty sure that the finished weight using either method can be much the same. . . with a side by side lamination the board is shaped out of a rectangular block so lots more wood is lost as offcuts shavings etc.

There’s not much in the archives about the 3 layer method, I have written some posts about it but I doubt if you will find much from Tom W as he stays quiet about his construction process, as does Pat Curren who uses a similar system with his balsa… . . haven’t seen anyone else doing it for a tapered board, but the principle is very simple, just parallel profile deck and bottom layers with a tapered middle layer.

There are a few different ways of constructing and tapering the middle layer, I can draw some if you like.

With the deck and bottom, they are made thicker or thinner depending on how much (if any) shaping is going to be done after lamination. If no shaping is going to be done to the deck and bottom then the thickness can be as little as 1/4" on the bottom and deck, usually a bit more on the deck.


I had a look at a thread by Swied, Balsa Fish Project, which was an excellent outline of how to start a project such as mine.

While it seems the sandwich method is probably the more advanced, this thread has given me a sound game plan.

Any new wood surfboard shaper should have a look at that thread if your interesed in some great pictures and a pretty good guide for the the non-pro wood worker.

Thanks Tom for your offer - maybe in a year or so, after i make a few more boards, i’ll take you up on some of those drawings and attempt the sandwich method.

Hopefully i’ll post some pictures later on.

Cheers - Grant