I hope to be able to lead you through the fairly easy process involved in going from a pile of wooden sticks to a very nice riding Mako/Paipo/Shinnster type of board. These instructions will be written for the guy who has never built a board before, so for you experienced builders, please follow along but keep your comments to yourself, as I’m sure you would’ve done things differently. What I am showing here is how I made MY board and in no way am I saying that this is the only way to achieve a good board. I used the tools that I own and I’m comfortable with, utilizing materials and building processes that I have experience with.
First things first, SAFTEY! You will see that I use a full face mask, cedar dust and epoxy fumes are very nasty stuff, so please protect yourself!
You will need clear cedar deck boards, 1.25”x6”x12’ (for a 63” long board) I bought 4, 12 footers and ended up getting two boards from the strips that I cut. Wood glue Epoxy, West Systems is what I used. Small paint brushes, rollers etc. 10oz glass cloth, enough for two layers on both top and bottom of the board. Cardboard for offset template Basic hand tools like a jigsaw, belt sander, *hand held thickness planner* Big tools – table saw and a fullsized thickness planner.
I used the clearest cedar deckboards that I could find at my local lumber store. You want the least amount of knots as possible in your boards. The yard guy let me pick through the pile and I was able to find 4 great boards. I ended up using 1.25”x6”x12’(33mm x155mm x 3.6m)long boards. The board I am making is 63”/1.6m long so I needed the 12’ length boards. This gave me some wiggle room to avoid some of the smaller knots. I found that the deckboards varied greatly in their density (weight) get the lightest you can find.
You can see that I have my table saw set up outside to avoid the dust in my shop.
Rip the boards into .75”/2cms wide strips. If you don’t have a table saw, get someone to cut the strips for you.
You can see that I have placed the cut strips onto my workbench so that I can put them in “order” to create the look I want with the different colour and grains in the strips. Also note that I have created two gates or fences on the one edge and one end of my workbench, this makes gathering the strips a lot easier! I butted the ends of the strips up against the end gate.
I have laid out the strips in the order that I want them in the finished board. You can’t see it in the photo, but I numbered the strips just in case I move them off the bench. Makes it a lot easier to place them in correct position when they are numbered, ask me how I know that one! This will be your last chance to remove any strips that have knots or other imperfections that you don’t want in your board.
As you can see, I have now placed the strips on their edges in preparation for gluing. Also, see how handy the fence is for gathering the strips together on the bench. Nothing fancy here, just good old wood glue and a disposable roller. I actually clamp the strips together like this so that no glue seeps down onto the face of the strips.
Remember you are gluing the edges (narrow) of the strips, not the face (wide) of them! Don’t ask, just go by what I tell you…LOL!
Apply a liberal amount of glue to the strips and get rollering! The cedar sucks in the moisture from the glue like crazy so don’t linger at this point. Make sure you get good coverage on the entire surface of the sticks. Notice the clamp holding things together.
After you are happy with the coverage of glue on the surface of the sticks, its then time to lay them on their sides and get them lined up squarely on your bench. Again the fences make this job very easy. Remember the numbers you put on the strips, are they in order?
Time for clamping the strips together to form your first board blank. As you can see I used bar clamps and utilized the fences on the edge and end of my workbench to help in keeping things nice a tight. One thing I want to stress to newbie board builders, DON”T over tighten the clamps! If you do, you will starve the joint of glue. You want the clamps just tight enough so that you get good contact the entire length of your blank.
Also, I use a rubber mallet to hit any high spots that might have been created when tightening the clamps. Use a short piece of wood as a straight edge and look for any high spots, whack them down if you see any.
I will leave things here for today, and let people respond with comments/questions etc. You can see the strips on the left that didn’t make it into a board blank, too many knots and I didn’t want to get into splicing sticks together to get rid of the knots. That is a Mako King sitting beside the blank. I will show you some interesting photos next time in regards to how similar the King is to the Paipo…..stay tuned!