My first build

What works and what doesn't. Share design ideas, references and contacts for paipo board builders.
bbjork
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My first build

Unread post by bbjork » Mon May 05, 2014 6:36 pm

Just joined the forum as I will be building my first Paipo. Priced western red cedar and found it pretty pricy up here in Maine (I live less than a ten minute walk from some of the best surf Maine has to offer) but I do have a left over piece of Birch plywood, 6'x22"x3/4" and thought I'd start with that as a beginner. I'm thinking the 3/4" would allow me to sand in a bit of nose rocker. Length will be 4' (I use swim fins), I understand back rails should be square and due to the thickness I'll probably try to sand in a concave shape in the tail. Should I varnish or oil and does anyone have ideas regarding a lease plug?
I've spent my entire life enjoying the ocean, lifeguard, surfing, bodyboarding, fishing, sailing, submarine race watching (throw back to the 60's) and four years in the Navy. Broke my neck surfing in the 60's and with it came back and mobility issues so now I only bodyboard but find it more rewarding than standing up, plus my wife will not let me stand up surf anymore which is ok.
Looking forward to your suggestions,
If anyone wonders what submarine race watching is I'll PM you with the answer.
Great forum
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OG-AZN
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Re: My first build

Unread post by OG-AZN » Mon May 05, 2014 7:47 pm

Def build a board with the plywood. I don't care for 3/4" ply anymore because it doesn't have the flex that I like, but countless paipos have been made with it. Like you said, you can take off a lot of wood to get a rocker and concaves if you want. I wouldn't put a leash on it for safety reasons. Don't like the idea of that heavy piece of wood snapping back at my head. When you lose your grip on ply boards, they tend not travel very far from you like surfboards or boogies do. I would do varnish instead of oil on ply. I use marine epoxy to finish my thin ply boards. It provides good durability without needing glass, and preserves most of the flex too.

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Re: My first build

Unread post by Poobah » Tue May 06, 2014 1:19 am

Your question about a leash...was it because you plan on riding in a crowd? If so, then I think it's better to make the board easier to hold onto. You could build up the nose, or go for a spoon style plywood paipo. Well-placed texture deck or cork can also help.

What size passenger for this paipo You can make a big and little board out of a 6 foot piece. Mate the nose of one board into the crescent tail of the other board when you draw out the templates.

Varnishing inside a garage?

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Re: My first build

Unread post by Poobah » Tue May 06, 2014 1:45 am

Hey guys...help me out with some photos of your wooden spoons.

I found the old Waylo thread. Very cool.
http://vagabondsurf.com/WayloPage2.html

bbjork
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Re: My first build

Unread post by bbjork » Tue May 06, 2014 1:42 pm

Poobah wrote:Your question about a leash...was it because you plan on riding in a crowd? If so, then I think it's better to make the board easier to hold onto. You could build up the nose, or go for a spoon style plywood paipo. Well-placed texture deck or cork can also help.

What size passenger for this paipo You can make a big and little board out of a 6 foot piece. Mate the nose of one board into the crescent tail of the other board when you draw out the templates.

Varnishing inside a garage?
I'm 6'3", 210 pounds, will not be riding in a crowd and will probably varnish in my basement. I'll check out the spoon style.
Thanks
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Re: My first build

Unread post by bgreen » Tue May 06, 2014 3:35 pm


Poobah
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Re: My first build

Unread post by Poobah » Thu May 08, 2014 12:35 pm

It's good that you don't have to varnish outdoors in humid conditions...you mentioned it was a short walk to the beach. We've seen some wide ranges on quality and delam issuses with birch ply. So I would varnish rather than oil. Somtimes I oil as a primer coat before I start putting on an oil-base varnish. And I've also done well using Minwax brand quick drying polyurethane from start to finish without any thinning or sealing. Buy some of those funnel-shaped filters for varnish. They get useful after you open and close the varnish can a lot of times.

As much as I like the idea of using wood that you already have, I think you might be better off with a quarter sheet of half inch plywood. Maybe start with a simple trapezoid template with rounded corners. Then you just need a circular saw and a sander. Shape the board in one hour, and spend the rest of the week putting on the finish. I'm a big fan of nose handles...a piece of wood like a 1x2 or a double strip of the same plywood glued on the deck side of the nose. This give you a better grip, and allows for more sanded nose kick. It doesn't add that much more time to the project. Varnishing will and should take the longest. It's also OK to have multiple projects going at the same time, like two paipos and a handboard. I throw away fewer brushes that way.

What sort of wave are you fixin' to ride?

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Re: My first build

Unread post by Nels » Thu May 08, 2014 6:12 pm

The Minwax poly has always worked for me, pretty bombproof. Thin ply edges can be sealed with various epoxy based compounds if extreme longevity is required. I'm with Poobah on the brush issue...you can wrap a brush with plastic wrap and get another day out of it, maybe more if you're careful, but we're talking several coats here. If your brush gets "thick" then it translates into the next coat.

Care should be taken if using foam brushes, too...bubbles in the finish. You're supposed to sand between coats with a lot of it but it's a pain.

Every time I've ever made anything I learned tons...same with paipos and handboards. Sometimes it's with construction, tools, materials, sometimes conditions. I'm usually ready to move onto another one once I finish whatever is at hand. I tend to overbuild so few of my projects have self-destructed and what this forum is about is so basically simple that almost anything works to one degree or another.

Nels

bbjork
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Re: My first build

Unread post by bbjork » Tue May 13, 2014 11:26 am

Poobah wrote:It's good that you don't have to varnish outdoors in humid conditions...you mentioned it was a short walk to the beach. We've seen some wide ranges on quality and delam issuses with birch ply. So I would varnish rather than oil. Somtimes I oil as a primer coat before I start putting on an oil-base varnish. And I've also done well using Minwax brand quick drying polyurethane from start to finish without any thinning or sealing. Buy some of those funnel-shaped filters for varnish. They get useful after you open and close the varnish can a lot of times.

As much as I like the idea of using wood that you already have, I think you might be better off with a quarter sheet of half inch plywood. Maybe start with a simple trapezoid template with rounded corners. Then you just need a circular saw and a sander. Shape the board in one hour, and spend the rest of the week putting on the finish. I'm a big fan of nose handles...a piece of wood like a 1x2 or a double strip of the same plywood glued on the deck side of the nose. This give you a better grip, and allows for more sanded nose kick. It doesn't add that much more time to the project. Varnishing will and should take the longest. It's also OK to have multiple projects going at the same time, like two paipos and a handboard. I throw away fewer brushes that way.

What sort of wave are you fixin' to ride?
Thanks for the tips, will be surfing a beach break primarily up to 4', will check out local marine grade plywood for the next project. I've got the board rough shaped and I'm in the process of sanding for the final shape.
Thanks again.
Use the talents you possess; The woods would be very silent indeed if no birds sang but the best.

bbjork
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Re: My first build

Unread post by bbjork » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:50 pm

Finished my board but it's a log in the water, too heavy and can't control (48" by 22" 3/4 inch left over birch plywood), only tried out once in 3' swells. Will be building more this winter out of red cedar 1/4" to 1/2". I think I need more concave and or some way to build up the rails. Comments would be appreciated concerning build (shape, length and width) and what design would be suitable for surf on the Southern Coast of Maine.
Thanks.
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Re: My first build

Unread post by krusher74 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:29 am

If I were you design and build this style of paipo I would be stealing as much as I could from the recent alaia boom, the wegener brothers really spent their money and time finding out what worked so we don't have too ;) (google tom wegener)

Are you surfing A-frame peeling beach breaks in maine or just shore dumps?

I would heartily recommend some of this http://dev.bitness.com/wp-content/uploa ... s-tail.jpg

In fact I think you have just inspired me to make one as I have been offered some paulownia wood at a reasonable price. :o

bbjork
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Re: My first build

Unread post by bbjork » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:49 am

In my area of Southern Maine there are a few point breaks but it's mostly shore breaks although we do get some nice swells on occasion, here's a shot taken a few weeks ago about a 10 minute walk from my home. Hurricane Gonzala was about 200 miles offshore which created this break.
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Re: My first build

Unread post by krusher74 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:10 pm

So looks like you have some nice surf deserving of a board that's responsive and turns. ;)

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Re: My first build

Unread post by bbjork » Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:40 pm

krusher74 wrote:So looks like you have some nice surf deserving of a board that's responsive and turns. ;)
We do get some nice surf here on the Southern Coast, my daily exercise is walking about four miles a day on the beach followed by major efforts getting through the shore break to body board. My duck diving has improved which is a good thing when you're faced with this kind of shore break. Have spent most of my life on the ocean, fishing, surfing, sailing, windsurfing, four years in the Navy etc. etc.. Broke my neck surfing in the 60's which has, to some degree, limited my mobility which is why I took up body boarding and I wish I had taken it up sooner because I just love being IN the surf not on top of it. Sometimes when we get major surf I'll just put on my Churchills and play in the break zone.
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Re: My first build

Unread post by rodndtube » Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:13 am

A friend from the southern reaches, who surfs mostly SC, GA and FL, has had success with 5- and 6-ft alaias riding kipapa-style. In Costa Rica that didn't work so well and he switched over to a foam/glass paipo which he enjoyed immensely.
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Re: My first build

Unread post by bgreen » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:42 pm

bbjork wrote:Finished my board but it's a log in the water, too heavy and can't control (48" by 22" 3/4 inch left over birch plywood), only tried out once in 3' swells. Will be building more this winter out of red cedar 1/4" to 1/2". I think I need more concave and or some way to build up the rails.
Looks like a real fun wave. hard to tell exactly, but I suspect the board may be too wide and possibly too thick. When you say too heavy, how far under the water are you when you lie/sit on it? Expect to sink a bit.

There is also the issue that you've only surfed it once. The learning curve, after riding more buoyant craft can be very steep. These boards plane and arc, rather than rip and tear. Riding paipo can be like learning to surf all over again.

If you decide to give it another go, find a place you can stand and push into waves. catch a whole pile of waves and see how you go. Edge control and body weight distribution will need fine tuning but will be key.

Bob

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OG-AZN
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Re: My first build

Unread post by OG-AZN » Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:24 pm

bbjork wrote:Finished my board but it's a log in the water, too heavy and can't control (48" by 22" 3/4 inch left over birch plywood), only tried out once in 3' swells. Will be building more this winter out of red cedar 1/4" to 1/2". I think I need more concave and or some way to build up the rails. Comments would be appreciated concerning build (shape, length and width) and what design would be suitable for surf on the Southern Coast of Maine.
Thanks.
If you had bigger surf, that board might be just right. 3/4" ply is what I remember all the old timers using on O'ahu when I was growing up. Boards were similar dimensions to yours, many even wider. Your shape looks similar to what I use. However, I prefer 1/2" to 5/8" epoxied ply. That will give you some flex and save a little in weight. These boards work good for me in surf up to 10ft + on the face. In bigger waves or places you can caught in heavy soup, the 1/2" wood is too thin unless you add glass. This style of board is plenty surfable and maneuverable. Check out the old riding vids I posted. the only suggestion I would make would be to round of the tail corners. I find the sharp tail corners bite too hard.

You might have to adjust your expectations for plywood boards. They will all be heavy. My 1/2"-5/8" thick boards weighs around 7lbs, which is about double a typical bodyboard. A 3/4" thick board will just start to float me enough to arm paddle, but it's not very efficient. Ply boards work best paddled kick board style. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find these boards work amazingly well for their simplicity & dirt cheap cost. I think the extra weight works to your advantage once you get moving. I was laughing last week picking up waves further outside than the longboarders & sweepers and connecting all the way through the shorebreak. If you're getting waves like the ones in your pics, I'd stick to the style of board you made. If you're riding small quick close outs, you might be better off with a narrower ply board with a traditional alaia outline.

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Re: My first build

Unread post by rodndtube » Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:50 pm

OG-AZN wrote: If you're getting waves like the ones in your pics, I'd stick to the style of board you made. If you're riding small quick close outs, you might be better off with a narrower ply board with a traditional alaia outline.
Keep in mind what OG-AZN mentioned above... you might want the existing board for special days such as those shown in the photo. However, if the southern coastal areas of Maine are anything like much of the East Coast, then you might find the traditional alaia outline better suited to prone riding. I am a Marylander, but also do much of my surfing in Puerto Rico where I lived as a kid, so am familiar with a wide range of waves. For this reason I keep one board in FL (thicker, slightly wider for catching the softer and sloping waves of FL) and a slightly thinner and narrower board version of the same plan shape and length, in Puerto Rico.
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Re: My first build

Unread post by Atlantasurfer » Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:18 pm

hi bbjork,

Welcome to the message board! I thought I might throw in my two cents because I also had trouble getting a 3/4 ply board to work well in small waves. Going to 1/2" makes a substantial difference.

But I have had incredible good luck and enjoyment with this beast.

http://rodndtube.com/paipo/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1132

The foam pad came off right away--Gorilla glue was a fail--but it works like magic in small waves (up to about chest high). When the waves are bigger, the long outline hinders more than it helps. No design can really do it all. For typical East Coast waves though, this has been the thing.

As someone else has already mentioned, these neutrally buoyant boards require a little different approach for the takeoff than the approach you might use on a bodyboard.
I hold the board in front of me with both hands, arms extended, and kick like hell with my fins. Think bodysurfing. Then, when I feel the wave lift me up, I pull myself onto the board and cruise down the line. Hopefully that makes sense. As the wave lifts, my hands stay in the same place, but my body slides forward into trimming position.

bbjork
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Re: My first build

Unread post by bbjork » Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:47 pm

Thanks for all your comments, long winters here in Maine allow me to spend alot of time in the shop so will build a few boards in addition to some projects my wife has suggested, I'm kind of leaning towards a longer alaia because we have pretty much standard East Coast surf. The photo's I posted only happen at best five times a year.
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