Cornwall style board

What works and what doesn't. Share design ideas, references and contacts for paipo board builders.
Nels
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Cornwall style board

#1

Unread post by Nels »

Somebody posted a video clip from the Original Surfboard Company I think, of a rider on the Cornwall style belly boards. Over the long summer I poked around a lot, looking at that whole style of equipment. The Dick Pearce and Friends business had a bunch of stuff on social media, and I really liked their whole vibe. But it was COVID-19 Summer, right? I'm not going to Cornwall any time soon and wisdom had me not going anywhere in contact with anybody much.

So I scoured the garage and came up with a goodish-sized chuck of plywood and some spray paint. It was nearly the worst quality ply, underlayment for flooring, and my usual .25" thickness. I've made other boards from quarter-inch ply. I gleaned that the full size Pearce boards are about 47" long and 12" wide. I had enough ply to do about 40" long and maybe 12.1" wide.

The wood was a challenge but ultimately I had something that wouldn't rip my hands apart, sanded, a little filler in some spots, and with two coats of Rustoleum spray paint. It was dumb fun with no expectations and didn't cost me a dime and didn't require me to go out among the festering masses. Good times!

Ride report: One and done! I'll consider it "proof of concept". It got one session in. The actual ride, the design, was goofy fun. Surf was nothing special, beachbreak. I wore flippers but didn't need them. The ugly bit though...the narrowness of this design made the whole board flex and undulate while on the wave. That was a catastrophe. Like I said, I've done other boards with .25" ply, and that was never something I had encountered. I can only think the narrow nature of this design allowed the undulating flex. The usual 22" - 24" width on my other paipos seemed to protect me. Another downer was the flippers, trying to stand up while holding the thing was a bear in shallow water. Hard to explain, maybe.
Corn1.jpg
The final "learning experience" was with the ply. I'm done with .25" ply for anything more than maybe handboards. Also, no more playing with this lowest end. The undulating led to layer separation and water intrusion which I have never had happen on the wider boards but always expected. The board is toast. Pleasing to my eye, but toast.

Within a week upwelling had knocked the water temp from 63 degrees down to the mid-50's, so I'm done with anything that doesn't float me a bit. But for next warm season though, I'm thinking there is some serious dumb fun to be had in something made with better material.
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Corn2.jpg
CHRISPI
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Re: Cornwall style board

#2

Unread post by CHRISPI »

You are lucky, breaking stuff is the best way to understand structure limits, it’s easy to over engineer.
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OG-AZN
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Re: Cornwall style board

#3

Unread post by OG-AZN »

It's a shame that board broke. You could've sold it for a good price to some hipster with that cool paint job. 1/4" Ply was always too flexy for me, and even if the board was glassed to keep it from breaking, the rails feel way too thin. Most of my boards are made from plywood way worse than what you used, literally garbage. However in 1/2" to 5/8" thickness + an epoxy coat, they hold up really well. The ply board I rode for a few hrs this morning is 10 yrs old now and has been mistaken for beach debris a couple times when I left it laying on the beach to go bodysurf.
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rodndtube
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Re: Cornwall style board

#4

Unread post by rodndtube »

It sure looked purty, but to be a true Cornwaller Bellyboard it needs a good sized nose flip.
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Nels
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Re: Cornwall style board

#5

Unread post by Nels »

That's why I called it "Cornwall style board... ;)

Roughly the real Cornwall boards are just shy of 48" long, 12" wide, and usually made of 1/2" ply of far better quality.

I know they usually have a nice bend in the nose. That would have been helpful here but I didn't think the thinner material would handle the steam or soak and dry. And I'm pretty sure I was right. But also I've found with 1/4" ply they can be bent up front as necessary to catch waves. This thing I made though, like a sea serpent. I missed on length too (scrap from the garage, right?). Mine was 40" long, which was fine for catching waves but at a threatening length given the undulation.

Seeing OG-AZNs post got me thinking. On my wider thin boards...on the good one I sealed the edges all the way around with a marine epoxy product my friend Roger Wayland had told me about, which he used copiously on his own projects (and he sometimes used thin lauan ply for proof of design projects). A second one, which I posted here some years ago, was completely epoxied though not glassed.
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rodndtube
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Re: Cornwall style board

#6

Unread post by rodndtube »

LOL, steam bending it might have broke the scrap ply you had! A foot wide seems SO narrow.
rodNDtube
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"The sea doth wash away all human ills."
-- Euripides.
Nels
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Re: Cornwall style board

#7

Unread post by Nels »

The 12" width seemed plenty to turn my V Hull body shape into a more efficient planing surface... :roll:

In fact that maybe is the most interesting part of this experiment. This isn't a "turning" design I wouldn't think. It gets you in quick and going fast, which is what I was looking for as I tried to find an odd corner free of Zs in the waning pandemic summer. World-class performance was not a criteria.

If you watch enough UK vids of these boards you see the culture behind them is one of...joy in the ocean, really. Looks like 90%+ of participants just wade out and push off on white water. And smile a lot. When was the last time you saw surf types smiling a lot? You know what I saw a lot of over this past North American summer? People going out for an hour or so and wiping out on every wave. People with more skills and decent equipment going out and getting one or two turns before falling off almost every time. On rare occasions given my reduced beach time I saw somebody really competent get a few good waves before the crush of other people overtook them.

The people smiling and having fun were usually goofy kids with crap bodyboards playing in the shallows, thrilled to be in the water. EEf I think it was way back in the day posted the phrase "lowering the bar" and I've always loved that, even though my mind warns that if you go too far in that direction you end up flat on your face in the non-salty manner. But at this point I'm not sure that perhaps lowering the bar raises the spirits...
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rodndtube
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Re: Cornwall style board

#8

Unread post by rodndtube »

Honestly, those are the conditions I usually take my finless wood board out in.
rodNDtube
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"The sea doth wash away all human ills."
-- Euripides.
Poobah
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Re: Cornwall style board

#9

Unread post by Poobah »

I have a couple of vintage British boards. I think they're 3/8 inch thick, and most likely marine plywood.

I've made a few from 1x12 poplar planks. Here's one I soaked and boiled and bent with a couple of C-clamps. I copied the template directly from a vintage Crest. I planed and sanded it down to about 1/2 inch thick. Maybe less in the concave. I can sometimes feel it vibrate, but it doesn't visibly flex. The poplar tail block is actually the first step of the project, because it needs to be done before the nose is bent. I used five foot pipe clamps for that.
penzy01.jpg
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penzy04.jpg
Poobah
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Re: Cornwall style board

#10

Unread post by Poobah »

bendblocks.jpg
My custom bending table. Two thickness of 2x12 douglas fir glued together. The two curved blocks are knot-free redwood for ease of shaping. I trimmed the corners of poplar 1x12, to prevent the plank from swelling and getting stuck in the soaking pot. Usually I soak the board for three days in the same cook pot that I use to boil the plank. I bring the water to a boil, and then put the plank in the pot. I cook about 15 minutes.

Note: the presoaking for a few days is important. The moisture is important for heat transfer. I once oversoaked a board for a week, and it distorted...got wavy. I let it dry a couple of days before I boiled it.
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