Surfboards out of larch or douglas fir?

Discussion in 'Surfing' started by high pockets, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. high pockets

    high pockets Member

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    So myself and a mate has been having notions and we were thinking of hacking at some wood in the name of surfboards.
    He made a piece recently that incorporated an awful lot of ceder shingles which was what inspired this slightly.
    (https://www.instagram.com/p/BeKzzDcHMpX/?taken-by=mossgaynor)
    The only problem is, ceder shingles are cheep as chips in comparison to blocks of ceder. I have been quoted €1300 for 12 lents @6'x4''x4'' where as the same in fir or larch, is less then €150

    Anyone has any experience in boards made from either? Am I on a hiding to nothing with it?
     
  2. NJ Longboarder

    NJ Longboarder Well-Known Member

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    Jan 3, 2005
    If you want to surf it, it will get probably be too heavy. Wood species have difference density and specific gravity (G). Doug Fir is 0.5 so it is half the weight of water. You probably want a less dense wood so it will float higher. Even if cambering or building a hollow board, try to pick a wood with lower specific gravity. Balsa 0.12, Paulownia 0.25

    https://www.cecalc.com/WoodDesign/Graphics/SpecificGravityValues.pdf
     
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  3. high pockets

    high pockets Member

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    Your a gent, that pdf is a fantastic guide.
    Unfortunately, there is pretty much no hope of getting balsa or paulownia sourced here. Iv never met anyone outside of surfing who had even heard of paulownia here.
     
  4. Driftwood

    Driftwood Well-Known Member

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    Balsa is great for a lot of reasons, paulownia is a nice wood to work with - straight grained and pretty even densities - and you can find some light pieces. Certain bits of poplar are nice, and samba is a decent wood to build with and cheap. Are you planning a chambered build? If so, the weight adds up quickly. Frame constructions are relatively light but have never been my cup of tea though I respect those who build them.

    That's about all that I've personally used. A buddy build a board out of maritime pine and even heavily chambered it was heavy... great surfer and it make that board look more functional than it was for us mere mortals.
     
  5. high pockets

    high pockets Member

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    Yeah, chambered all the way, the frame would require skills, and we are both, very much, hacks.
    Poplar could be a posability, Iv never came across samba wood?
     
  6. Driftwood

    Driftwood Well-Known Member

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    Tons of poplar local to me, which is why I started playing with it a while back. I think samba is sometimes called obeche. Pretty easy to find over here, but I've never looked for it stateside. I used to buy it in 1x4 size, selecting pieces for weight and or grain. If I can find a photo of it, I did a samba speed egg type shape once that rode well. Compsand-inspired but with 1/4" skins and solid rails.
     
  7. Driftwood

    Driftwood Well-Known Member

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    Shots aren't great, but I have never been strong in that area.
    samba egg deck1_1400pix.jpg
    samba egg bottom_1400ht.jpg
    I actually ran into this board on the beach last summer. I think it was shaped in '08 and the second owner was stoked. Nary a ding on it.
     
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  8. high pockets

    high pockets Member

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    Ah yeah I know obeche alright. I sourced some years back as a paulownia alternative but again strong strong money here. One of the crowds I'd asked about the cedar said the same amount of obeche would be mad money (and he was over the grand for ceder....)

    Iv been phoning round and for enough for a 6ft blank is coming in around €300 Which considering this was just a mad folly, it may be a bridge too far
     
  9. high pockets

    high pockets Member

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    That looks fantastic! Foam core and vac bagged?
     
  10. Driftwood

    Driftwood Well-Known Member

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    That's wild. Here in France I was finding it cheap a few years ago - often used for door skins and frames, molding pieces, etc. I still have an 8' x 2" x 6" stick in the garage, but not enough to do a whole build. You're more than welcome to it if you ever get by this way. Might be enough 3' balsa pieces to complete a build out there...
     

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