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Balsa Shortboard... 
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sage

Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Hayling Island - UK
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Unread post Balsa Shortboard...
Man, I dig this forum.... so thought I'd share my first build with ya,,,

I got a lost cause custom kiteboard 5'10'' about a year ago and just fell in love with the shape
inspired me to build my own - just wanted to shape shape shape....
the board needs to be strong and light for kitesurfing, plenty of bouyancy and feel.

found woodyads post on his balsa builds and took up the idea with a few little minor changes...

first - shape the stringers (there an't really any cross struts in this one)
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spread them about 50mm apart and hold together with a few light cross struts
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add the bottom using strips of 4'' x 5mm balsa
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shape the bottom outline
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add a single layer of rail on top of the bottom section so you can glue the deck onto it.
pre-shape the stringers to get the deck shape/oval - this was a tricky part for me. I used the hollow board template program to print out cross sections for my board then transfered these on to cardboard and cut them out in female template form so I could lay each one over the deck in the correct place and get an estimation of my deck shaping process.
and then add 5mm x 4'' strips of balsa to create the deck
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rails ready to go on..
this was such a fantastic feeling - seeing the board take her first shape - left me high and texting pics to all my mates,,,
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added another deck layer (this time lenghtways) of 2mm balsa in the middle and then5mm and then 6mm on the outside.
This top layer REALLY strengthens up the board, butthis is where my next big balls up occured. I weighted the deck too much while the top layer glue was drying (without enough support underneath) so the whole rocker became much more exaggereted (too much) now I'm stuck with how to get the rocker straightened up a bit.
anyhow - it was an important lesson, beacuse now I know I can simply create the rocker I want at this point instead of spending a million hrs getting the initial stringer rocker absolutley perfect.

As I see it I have 3 options
1. strip some of the top deck lengthways wood off and reglue weighted to correct rocker (not a nice option)
2. add a thin lenghtways layer on the bottom and weight it to correct rocker (better option)
3. try to weight the rocker while in the fibreglass stage (no idea if this is possible or will it mess up the glass job?)
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now for the tricky part (for me any way!)
really struggled to put the rails on, made a few big mistakes like using cork flooring only about 1ft lengths available so had to add 6 sections per side and they slide all over the place and set off line and need to be redone.
this part really tested my patience and once or twice nearly threw a temper tantrum and wanted to smash it all up, anyhow got through and it was all really worth it!!
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tail piece ready to go on (balsa and cork)
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now for the best part, the shaping/sanding...
the 2 dark lines are not stringer but wood filler to correct some mismatched/sized widths.
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tail and bottom rails need shaping....


Since begining this build I've discovered that Balsa is not a very sustainable wood. Most of it is harvested directly from rainforests in South America with very little coming from managed forestry.
so....
I've just managed to get my hands on a Paulownia truck and got it milled up and I'm thinking of ways to use this build technique with Paulownia.....

Cheers dudes and dudettes...


Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:10 am
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sage
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:53 am
Posts: 155
Location: Marbella, Spain, mediterranean coast
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
Hi Shane!
I like this build, it gives me some ideas I will try.How much does it weight?

Boas ondas!


Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:42 pm
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sage

Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Hayling Island - UK
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
so far, just over 1.7kg
still have fin boxes, nose piece and glassing to add.

anyone got a rough idea how much the glassfibre will add in weight?

thinking of Epoxy resin with between 4 and 8 oz per side.


Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:26 pm
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sage

Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:05 am
Posts: 38
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
hey mate,

I'd love to know where you got the balsa and Paulownia from in the UK, and in quantities and sizes suitable for board building.

cheers

GC


Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:30 pm
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sage

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:36 pm
Posts: 252
Location: UK midlands
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
Same here, where the hell do you find paulownia over here? I've asked about it at every timber merchant I've spoken to in 5 years and they all give the same response..????????????
Really interesting build method, love the frame idea, and the bi-directional thin balsa skin idea; top marks dude!

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Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:08 pm
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sage

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:36 pm
Posts: 252
Location: UK midlands
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
Oh, and the old beer can and grapes clamping method for the deck skin is inspirational.

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Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:12 pm
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sage

Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Hayling Island - UK
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
heh heh,,,
the grapes are courtesy of my 2 yr old son, who always gets involved and adds his artistic touch!! beer cans are a sure sign that work is in progress!!

all design credit goes to Woodyads on this forum who has put loads of info on his post.

I'm really keen to try hybriding this method with Rich's method cause I'm convinced this frame method can be adapted to really fine tune flex, rocker shape and strength to weight ratio...

any ideas from the more engineering minded???

when you put together the frame and first layer of balsa, it feels like you're building a token surfboard to hang on the wall, but when you add the second layer at 90 degress it strengthens up amazingly....
I have since added a second layer to the bottom to sort out the rocker problems and the fact that I sanded through the bottom in a fit of 'concave shaping exstacy' and the board is now probably too stiff even b4 glassing...

The balsa is all 4'' wide by 4ft long sections in 3mm, 5mm and 6mm thickness from blackburnmodels.com in the UK. Cost about £130 for this board. just scarf them together to get the length for the rocker frames.

The Paulownia was a fluke, found some one who had a 17yr old tree in his garden that was right next to the house and he wanted it out. I had it milled up to 5ft strips by 4'' x 7mm.
I might be up for selling a bit to cover the milling costs!!
the Lumber yard had never even heard of it but were amazed how easy it was to work with.... I also got enough 4'' x 4'' to build a solid chambered board but that is gonna take a year or 2 to dry out....

take care...


Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:29 am
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sage
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:32 am
Posts: 881
Location: Ormond Beach, FL
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
I like the different approach to building this board. It looks very light weight and structurally strong. Nice job.


Boco

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Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:40 am
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kook

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:38 am
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
gidday shane, i have been following this post with much interest, and am wondering what has happened to your board, it seems to have come to a stand still??? the board looks fantastic and i reckon the way you have put it together is really cool. i'm interested to see more progress photos and hear how it finished up and how it rides. i have made a couple of solid balsa surf kiteboards here on oz and absolutely love the way they ride and feel on the waves and cutting through the water. hope to see some more real soon. cheers pete


Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:16 am
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sage

Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Hayling Island - UK
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Unread post Re: Balsa Shortboard...
Howzit Pete,

had a few setbacks
sanded through the bottom in a frenzy of madness so had to set a new layer - then messed up the rails, so had to rip em off and put new ones on. Finally got the rocker sorted out and finished shaping. Now just about to glass her up and set the fins, then ready to ride.
will post a few more pics in the next few days!

I've been thinking of building a solid balsa/chambered board as my next one - any chance you can post your ideas/experiences and tips/pics?

Cheers
Shane


Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:41 pm
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