Vacuum bagging wood rails

Does anyone have experience using a vacuum bag to attach wood rails/parabolic stringers to a board? I usually use clamps to attach wood rails to a blank but thought it may be easiar with the vacuum bag. Getting nice tight clamp pressure is tricky in the nose and tail due to the curve of the outline.

The wood rails/parabolic stringers I am attaching are pre-bent/laminated 1" thick paulownia wood.

If you have tried this or know of a better way I would appreciate the tips.


When I used clamps, I’d use an ovesized board and trim the fat at the nose and tail that didn’t get tightly clamped.

Alternatively, if you do not use a bag, nose and tail blocks can be spliced in at the extreme ends where you didn’t get it tight.

Other than that, yes, many folks here have used a vacuum bag to attach rails (of various materials) to boards…you basically tape the hell out of the rail to the board and then bag it.

Don’t think wood would clamp properly under atmospheric pressure readily for the curves tip and tail of a typical board outline, at least not in meaningful thickness imho…

If you use a rocker bed/table you could align pegs on the surface with which you “clamp” the rail material in place. This is a trick some snowboardbuilders use for attaching the steel rails to the polyethyleen base and core layup.

hi kevin, i do it this way. 3 layer 5mm balsa appr. 350mm/p. long both sides in one go with white wood glue.



Watch for sharp corners at the ends. A bag pulling tight can pop a hole in itself. Also watch the bag to make sure it doesn’t pull in between the wood and your blank.

The rails were bent and laminated in a jig to match the curve of the outline so I believe the pressure of the bag will be plenty to hold the rails tight to the blank.

I just worry about being able to keep the rails in the correct position (not sliding forward or back) while the bag is pulling on them.

I’ll have to do some dry runs and see how it goes I guess.


kevin, berts famous multi use tape holds it you need it anyway to staple. you can still slide it a bit in the bag, oversize the sheets in hight, pull slow and check with low pressure.



Well, just did a dry run in the bag- pressure was not strong enought to pull the rails in at the nose and tail tight. Looks like its going to be creative clamping and straps to attach the rails.

I’ve been putting dherrywood/balsa rails on my last 15 boards and the last one was cherry/pawlownia. I use blue masking tape to hold the middle on then use, 15 to 20 foot, strips of 1" wide tire tubing to wrap around the board and hold the rails on till the GG cures.

Get an old blown out car tube free from a tire store. start cutting spiral in 1" width around and around. A big truck tire works the best. Easier and better control than a bag. I use bags too but usually just to get the deck and bottom on.


Tried to add picture of one of my boards with the rubber clamps but not sure how with the new system… any help?

Having seen Tridrles do this in person, i can vouch for how well it works.

it’s very impressive in it’s simplicity and effectiveness.

i just want to restate that it’s the innertube, not the actual tire that you want.

as far as pics Les, when you go to post a reply, click on the “tree” icon in the upper right

hand corner… i did that and kinda stumbled through the rest and was able to post a pic

but i can’t remember exactly how i ended up doing it.

Hi, yes have done this method for a hollow board rail build up , as pictured below. Also used the same technique to glue my Alaia blank up with recently, works very well, it pays to have quite thick inner tube which is more resistant to twisting and you can always add a little masking tape to the spots where it does not clamp together but it should work really well if you have plenty of tube and space the tube close together along the curve.

post some pics of your progress, Id be interested how it goes!

Thanks for the inner tube idea guys. I had heard about that awhile ago but had forgotten all about it. I’ll have to pick up some old inner tubes today and give it a shot.

i’ll post some pics when its done.


If were talking about EPS surfboards here then I don’t understand what the big deal is. If its a an HWS then it’s another deal.

With EPS you start out with a square blank right? OK, so when we cut the inner piece we have cut off right…right. Ok…just do one side. So now we have 1 cut off and a half blank. As long as you didn’t mangle the cut off you can sandwich you parabolic or hd rail between the cut off and the blank. Take a 1 x 3 x 1/2 x whatever the length is, and use that too add pressure to the outter edge of the cutt off piece. This will leave the rocker in the proper position while letting you use less clamps, but get more pressure over the foam. Let dry, do the other side

The important thing here is that you didn’t mangle you cut offs

too many clamps, tape, rubber bands etc just drives you crazy. I even think vac bagging this might be a bit overkill.

No EPS cut offs, its a wood blank I made. The paulownia rails are to be attached to the balsa interior frame. This picture is of the blank before I skinned it with paulownia.

I’m going to play around with some option of clamping to figure out what works best.

I like the balsa core!!!

Show us how you did that!

Also a test for my pic of rubber tube clamping.

Didn’t work… URL? where do I find that.


Thanks, the core is a balsa frame and wood honeycomb. I ended up using clamps to attach my rails. I couldn’t get the pressure I wanted with the inner tubes.


Hiya paul nice to see you are back on sways.

Have you seen Kevin’s work before?

Wouldn’t call him a philistine having seen the sheer artistry this man puts into his work, regardless of whether the technology he uses is “cutting edge” or not…

but on topic, I know you do foam rails nowadays instead of wood, you really have got the flex dialed with foam rather than wood I take it?

was a joke

ask danny hess. he seems to have production wired. send a robot cocaroach with mini video camera into his workshop. find out how he does it and patent it in australia, claim u invented it and them sue him