Solid or chambered

miscreant

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2016
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1,171
what do y’all prefer?


I only have experience on solid. Although it is quite a bit to deal with, I do enjoy it.

It is a luxurious feeling trim.The turns feel amazing too. There is something clean about a 10’ board built from only 4 pieces of timber. Also, the lack of a vent plug thingy is a plus in my opinion.

I’m guessing there are those of us that would prefer a chambered board. Why? If I wanted a lighter board I’d go with foam.

I’m challenged to get behind the idea of the Grain style builds. Those kit type boards that use 3,217 clamps at a time trip me out.
 
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Dynaglyder

Member
Dec 21, 2011
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3EA73C04-9EDA-40DF-B93A-2D3A7FABCE7D.jpeg
Check out Danny Hess boards. I have a chambered walnut Moraga with a glass-on redwood fin that works.
 

Driftwood

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
1,285
859
France
I've never ridden a Grain style board... but have been intrigued for years.

Have built and ridden various foam and wood combos with skin ranging from 1mm to 5mm. In terms of getting that wood feel, thicker is better. Otherwise it's more of a lightweight, solid build combo with interesting flex kind of thing.

Now we get to the gist of the subject. My first balsa shapes were solid. And heavy. And while really, really cool they didn't fit into my daily, or even weekly, or even monthly rider categories. That has something to do with the local beachbreaks and something to do with my style. And the crappy wood I started out with.

So I did some chambering, and dug that. A bit of a pain, but you can control how much wood you remove and how you stagger your remaining supports and skin thickness. I learned a lot from following Jim Phillips' posts on Sways on the subject. On my better boards, I felt like I had all the charm and magic of a solid wood build but without any chatter, or fears of putting my foot through the deck on a floater or a weird thing that happens unintentionally, like you can have with a hollow (no offense intended to Mr. Jensen or a myriad of other builders who pull them off beautifully). And the weight was really nicely manageable, like a good vintage rider in most cases. No need to valve unless you're going really aggressive with the chambering or are planing to fly with it.

So much of it depends on the wood you can get. The best lot of balsa I ever worked with with aviation grade stuff that had been stored since the 50s near Lourdes. With the finest of that bunch, you could glue up an unchambered blank and come in close to standard poly/PU weight. Or add a 4" stringer in a foam blank and come out with standard weights.

Have used other methods, like balsa blanks from various makers. Some were great, others had skin thickness issues or weird glue-up problems that left you with a little rattling piece bouncing around in your board. That sucks, in my opinon.

Recently got a couple of really nice blanks from Kayu balsa out of Bali. Can't wait to shape them.

Sorry for the longwindedness. I really like wood boards.
 

miscreant

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2016
2,498
1,171
View attachment 10344 Check out Danny Hess boards. I have a chambered walnut Moraga with a glass-on redwood fin that works.

wild! I thought his shapes were that skinned type construction. I sniffed around on his site and didn’t see any mention of chambered walnut.

http://hesssurfboards.com/full-wood-tech

I’d love to better understand the construction of your board. Is it walnut pieces that were chambered or is it the technique mentioned in that link I just posted?
 
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SeniorGrom

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Mar 20, 2012
3,164
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USA New Jersey
I have no experience with either solid wood, chambered wood, or hollow Grain type construction. I do like heavier longboards except for lugging them to and from the water. I studied the Grain templates online for some time and didn’t like ANY of them. Looked to me like the rail construction limited the fine tuning and blending of curves. They appeared beyond amateur. Stopped looking a few years ago so they’ve probably gotten better. From what I’ve read finding good quality light balsa is very hard today. Maybe paulownia is the answer? At any rate I think I would prefer a solid or chambered board built by a Master with the skills to do it right with glass & epoxy skin. No vent plug please.
 

Driftwood

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Dec 2, 2014
1,285
859
France
Paulownia is cool, but... even light paulownia is heavy compared to good balsa. Has other interesting characteristics though, such as less water absorbent and less prone to rot in the case of infiltration. Tom Wegener works some miracles with it. If I were to order a balsa, I couldn't agree more - go to someone with a ton of experience and who will get it right. Jim would be my first choice, I believe.

I agree that good balsa is hard to come by. Have heard that Frost is still a viable source in San Diego, but I haven't been able to get good raw lumber here in well over a decade. Decent - even good - blanks from time to time, but good lumber?
 

miscreant

Well-Known Member
May 20, 2016
2,498
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I agree that good balsa is hard to come by. Have heard that Frost is still a viable source in San Diego, but I haven't been able to get good raw lumber here in well over a decade. Decent - even good - blanks from time to time, but good lumber?

My buddy Pieter in Australia is getting amazing balsa, he is turning out some amazing boards. Maybe contact him and ask him about his source for wood. [email protected]
 




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