Building my first Paipo

What works and what doesn't. Share design ideas, references and contacts for paipo board builders.
mwallace
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Building my first Paipo

Unread post by mwallace » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:42 am

Hi everyone,

First off I'm impressed with all the amazing knowledge here on the forum. I'm a furniture designer in Canada, and I've become addicted to body boarding. I tend to spend a fair amount of time in the summer on Cape Cod and this summer I met someone who'd built his own Paipo. His was a flat bottomed board with a bullshark nose on it. It was made from a hardwood he called colonial. He seemed to float really well and was able to manoeuvre really well. After coming home I've decided that next summer when we go back I hope to have two boards to ride.

Since I deal a lot with old growth reclaimed wood, I've set aside some beautiful cedar that I pulled out of a barn from the 1840's. The cedar was milled from beams and now the planks range from 4" - 12" wide. I've milled them down to 2" thick. I was planning on building 2 versions, one with rails on the bottom and another simple flat board. Being this is the first time Ive attempted this I'm hoping people on the forum don't mind me asking lots of questions.

In the past Ive only ridden the foam cored body boards. I'm 5'11" and 185lbs, is there a certain length I should work towards? From what I've seen online Paipos also seem to range in thickness from .5" up to 1.5", since it's solid wood, I was thinking the thickness should be kept to a minimum. Is it possible ok to glue strips of the cedar up in order to create a design with the grain, or should I try to keep the planks as wide as possible and to a minimum?

With regards to the design, I'd love to build one with a fish tail and keep the other one squared off at the back. I'm hoping to make boards that will ride well and ride fast.

Looking forward to getting started on these boards!

Thanks,

Matt

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by mrmike » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:35 am

for the first board I would keep it simple. cedar is nice I have some out of it 1" cedar strips looks good the glue joints are stronger then the wood but cedar sometime like to split on the grain so keep it about 1" thick 12" to 14" wide and about 4' long keep the rails square at about 1/2" and the bottom flat try that for starters. don't worry about the wight it does not matter that much in the water.

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by mwallace » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:54 am

Thanks Mike! How does the length of the board help the ride? I've seen shorter ones online too, are there tougher to handle? Would the rails just be the outside strips of wood along the edges? Should they be a tad deeper than the rest of the planks? Thanks again!

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by kage » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:16 pm

Careful of fish type tail. Certainly possible but think about that pressing into your groin.

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by rodndtube » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:25 pm

Xylem Surfboards (Joshua Klein) incorporates some solid design principles in his board --they have received very good reviews by several forum participants. Check out his website. http://xylemsurfboards.com/TheBoardRoom.html
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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by mwallace » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:29 pm

Thank you Rod! I just took a quick look and Iove the look of his boards. I'm really excited to Get down to work. I saw that they just oil their boards, I know that's an Eco based choice, but I guess doing that would lead to a lot more maintenance, rather than using fibreglass?

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by spudnut » Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:31 pm

The amount of maintenance required is negligible and that means a lot coming from me! I know nothing about working with wood nor do I have the patience.

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by mrmike » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:10 pm

I would skip the glass just a big mess I use minwax poyurethane clear gloss or semigloss about 6 coats It will be water tight for years and if it get bashed up it is easy to fix. at 4' length will give you speed not hard to turn. you can alway cut it down but you can't make it longer. on a 1" thick board I would start 2" in on top and roll the rail down with a hand plane till the edge is about 3/8" to 1/2" on the edge keep the bottom flat. as for a fish tail I have made one or two but I agree it could be a problem with your manhood. I cut the pointey parts off it still has the fish indention but no pointey parts

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by rodndtube » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:37 pm

Focus on Josh's design shapes and not the manner in which he makes his boards at this point. He actually adheres to the old style of building a board more than most -- using old methods. Mr Mike and others have tons of expert knowledge in building materials and finishing/sealing. Opinions on design are wide and deep and more a matter of personal preference vs. technical knowledge of craftsmanship. All designs encompass trade-offs and preferences in style of riding--they are all good.
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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by airboy808 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:49 am

On the minwax poly I got a few questions.

-does it work with paulownia wood?
-paulownia paipo I have has linseed oil on it. Do I need to strip it before applying minwax?
-minwax aerosol or brush on for application?

Mahalo in advance

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by ClanB » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:03 am

I have used "fish/swallow/stinger" whatever tails for about 2 years with no problems.I have used it more than any other tail design. I like them a lot. However I am making my next board a tombstone type with a wide square tail just cuz. I have gone from almost 23" wide boards to 20" and the next will be 18". All around 47" to 48" in length. Seems I get more control on steep waves the narrower I go. Its all fun to try stuff out. Everyone here has helped me a lot. I still suck at getting my boards sealed well and was thinking of getting the next one glassed.

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by mwallace » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:50 am

Thanks for all the awesome info everyone! I've resawn my cedar and I figure I'll make 2 over the winter. Since the boards will be less than 1" thick anyways, i thought i may as well cut down on the waste by resawing the lumber. I'm going to try sealing one with Tung oil and the other with a waterproof spar varnish. I'll keep both designs simple and go from there. This is going to be a lot of fun. I'll start posting some photos in the next week or so.

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by mrmike » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:26 am

minwax works on paulownia I would rub the board dowm with mineral spirts before you start

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by Nels » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:34 pm

I never saw the point in a fish/swallowtail paipo since my lower half is still hanging off the back. I figured less drag is better so left it off prone boards. I did do a very slight diamond tail on my first wood mini-paipo (Cubit in Poobah terms). Meh. Maybe a very slight swallowtail? Straight across is probably my preference now, but it's all fun to play with.

Min-wax Polyurethane has been great for my paipos and handboards. Easy access, easy application, easy clean up, good durability. Only "complaint" is a bit of yellowing when done over art. My old 1/4" birch ply "Alien Gonzalez" paipo has needed some reapplication along the bottom edges but that's it. And that's probably from poor storage and handling ;)

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by bgreen » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:30 pm

I've tung oiled four boards and used a linseed/turps brew on another. Must say the spar varnish board I recently made (to fit Surffoils hydrofoil) looks really good. Even if the board is ordinary, the varnish makes it look great. These were all paulownia boards.

A layer of glass will stiffen the board and was the favoured finish in years gone by, especially on plywood boards. If you were surfing somewhere rocky, maybe it could be an idea, but for the weight, the oil or varnish finish would seem the go.

You don't need much nose lift on these boards but a little helps.

Regarding thin strips, there is a appendix to Bud Sclesca's paipo interview showing paipo made out of narrow strips of wood.

Do you ever surf the lakes? A mate of mine visited Canada in the 60s or 70s and while he lives in one of best areas for surf in Australia, he still talks about his lakes surfing trip. I was hoping to get some waves on Vancouver island next year but didn't realize it was so massive. 5 hours from the capital to Tofino.

Bob

mwallace
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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by mwallace » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:34 pm

Thanks Bob! I'll try to lift the nose a bit. I'm sure I can hand plane that down. I'll probably try one board with oil and another with glass. I'm super excited to get going on these. I haven't surfed any lakes around here, I imagine your buddy meant the Great Lakes, the surf is supposed to be amazing in places.

If you're heading to Vancouver island, you'll have to make the trek to Tofino, it's amazing there. Make sure you pass through Cathedral grove, stop and enjoy the ancient Douglas fir trees. It's one of my favorite places on earth. Tofino is a whole other world, the water is cold, but the waves are brilliant!

Thanks again for your help!

Matt

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by rodndtube » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:09 pm

bgreen wrote:I've tung oiled four boards and used a linseed/turps brew on another. Must say the spar varnish board I recently made (to fit Surffoils hydrofoil) looks really good. Even if the board is ordinary, the varnish makes it look great. These were all paulownia boards.

A layer of glass will stiffen the board and was the favoured finish in years gone by, especially on plywood boards. If you were surfing somewhere rocky, maybe it could be an idea, but for the weight, the oil or varnish finish would seem the go.

You don't need much nose lift on these boards but a little helps.

Regarding thin strips, there is a appendix to Bud Sclesca's paipo interview showing paipo made out of narrow strips of wood.

Do you ever surf the lakes? A mate of mine visited Canada in the 60s or 70s and while he lives in one of best areas for surf in Australia, he still talks about his lakes surfing trip. I was hoping to get some waves on Vancouver island next year but didn't realize it was so massive. 5 hours from the capital to Tofino.

Bob
Bob, if you are in Victoria you can drive out along the Strait and maybe get some surf. Watch for the right tides.
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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by bgreen » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:01 am

Matt,

It doesn't need a lot of lift. 12-18" from the nose just plane off some thickness to a more tapered nose.

It was the great lakes. Thanks for the VI info.

Rod,

I'll get some more details. The 10 hour drive didn't sound too appealing especially as I wasn't going to take a board there. The North Cal leg was going to rely on the generosity of Robert. Maybe I should pack a mat.

Bob

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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by rodndtube » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:47 pm

The drive out along the Strait from Victoria is rather nice. Your wife should enjoy it. Nice park at the far end and you can hike down to some cool pocket coves.
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Re: Building my first Paipo

Unread post by Poobah » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:42 pm

Without debating the merits and unmerits of nose kick, I think it's worth mentioning the methods. The scarf method involves gluing wood onto the very nose end of the deck, and then shaping the kick. You get kick and a nose handle. In some case the handle might be your bigger goal.

Then there' s boil bending for kick. There's an existing thread in the old forum that shows two different but similar jigs for the bending. Some people don't know there is an old forum/arcive that goes back to 2003. Maybe we neeed a sticky to get people to visit the home planet more often.

This one is bending 1x12 poplar:

http://rodndtube.com/paipo/forum/viewtopic.php?t=881

And here's an old post that shows one of Mr. Mike's cedar crescent tail boards with scarf nose and tiny tailblocks:

http://rodndtube.com/paipo/forum/viewtopic.php?t=919

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