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Wood Surfboard Kit Building FAQs

1. Question: What do the kits contain?  Do they have everything I need?
Answer:
 The regular kits consist of the ribs and spar pieces that make up the frame.  They also include a full instruction manual that covers every step of the
build in detail.  You will need wood for the outside planking as well as glue, fiberglass and shop supplies like sandpaper.  You can buy or build a fin to be
glassed on or mounted in a fin box.  
2. Question: What is the best kind of wood to use?
Answer:
 Recycled lumber is the eco-friendly cost effective choice. Reclaimed lumber such as redwood and cedar are an excellent wood choice as they are
often already light and dry. If you are going for a light board you will want to use soft woods like redwood, cedar, pine, paulownia, or balsa.  If you don't care
about weight, go for exotic hardwoods.  We have used mahogany, ebony, oak and others.  The hardwoods are beautiful and strong but heavy.  
3. Question: Do I have to glass the board or can I just varnish it?
Answer:  If you are only going to hang the board on a wall simply varnishing it is adequate.  You should always glass a board that is going to be used.  Not
only to seal the water out but to give the board the strength it needs.
4. Question: What kind of fiberglass do I use?
Answer:  Our glassing kits contain enough glass cloth and epoxy resin to apply 2 layers of 4 oz cloth to the deck and one to the bottom.  This is industry
standard glassing.  
5. Question: What's a vent for, is my board going to explode without one?
Answer:
 Explode? No.  But if you leave in the hot sun it can puff up and weaken the inside glue joints.  It can also delaminate.
6. Question: Where do I buy wood for the planking?
Answer:
 Lumber suppliers and home improvement stores are the obvious answer.  Most builders love the challenge of finding the perfect wood for their board
and they will search through pallets of wood to find the perfect pieces.  We have found beautiful heart redwood being sold for planter edging in the garden
department of Home Depot.  Lumber suppliers like Austin Hardwoods will even cut a custom kit for you.  The assembly manual lists a lot of good sources and
even tells how you can get free wood.  
7. Question: Is the assembly a printed copy?
Answer:
 No, its a PDF file that you can display on any computer.  It gets emailed to you when your order is processed so you can start planning before
your kit even arrives.  You need Adobe Acrobat Reader software that is available for free download at www.adobe.com but chances are its already on your
computer.  
8. Question: I've never glassed a board, is it hard?
Answer: The assembly manual outlines the process but if you are not sure watch some surfboard glassing videos on www.youtube.com.  This will help you see
glassed and many tell us its not as expensive they thought it would be.
9. Question: What kind of resin do you use?
Answer:
 We think epoxy has an edge over polyester on wood surfboards.  Some builders have reported that Polyester resin will delaminate from certain
kinds of wood.  We have had good results with both polyester and epoxy but epoxy is lighter, easier to use, easier to clean up, and has virtually no smell.  
10. Question: How do I choose the board that's right for me?
Answer:  You choose a wood surfboard the same way you would choose a foam board.  If you want to cruise and maybe get some nose riding in, you
want one of our long boards.  If you like to go wild and really shred, one of the fish will do the job.  If you want something in between the long and short
boards the Mini Mal is perfect.  Then there are the Stand Up Paddle boards that will let you cruise standing up in style. Bottom line is that if a certain kind
of foam board works for you its wood counterpart will work the same.
11. Question: How much woodworking ability do I need and what tools?
Answer:
 This is not the easiest project you will ever try, but its probably not as hard as you think.  If you  follow the detailed instruction manual you will be
fine.  As for tools, a table or band saw is a must.  Also a belt sander and block plane are necessary.  As for a power thickness planer, if you have one that's
great.  Lots of builders have made deals with cabinet shops or local school wood shops to plane the wood for them.
12. Question: Can the kits be modified?
Answer:
 You bet!  That's why we call the Chameleon the Chameleon.  If you build it according to plan its an egg.  It can be modified many ways to make it
faster and more maneuverable.  The kits can also be narrowed somewhat if desired.  The instruction manual has a complete section on how to modify a
board.  
13. Question: How long does it take to build one of these?
Answer:  My first one took about 60 hours.  I can do one now in less than 20 hours.  The frame is the most important part and the one in our kit goes
together in less than an hour because of the precision fitting parts.  From there on your main delay is waiting for glue to dry so you can move on to the next
step.  Figure a couple months worst case from unpacking to glassing and that's only working an hour or two every day.
15. Question: How thick is the deck and bottom planking?
Answer:
 The stronger the wood the thinner you can make it.  For pine, redwood, paulownia or similar woods 1/4" to 5/16  is a good starting point.  Balsa
should be more like 3/8".  We don't recommend full balsa decks but full balsa bottoms are light and strong.