Taking Shape with Grain Surfboards

Grain Surfboards is really onto something. The Maine-based company makes kits for surfers who want to build their own wood boards. They also host classes around the country (Portland, SF, NYC) to teach people their method.

Surfboard shaping is usually reserved for the highly skilled and trained, which is why Grain is so cool. Grain gets you on a board that you made. And it’s just a huge bonus that the boards are made of wood and will last a lifetime.

This weekend Grain teamed up with John Wegener to host a few classes at Patagonia Bowery. I missed out on the surfboard shaping class, but got to get into a handplane class which was an awesome introduction into the Grain school of making.

Nolan from Grain cutting the blank. 

Nolan from Grain cutting the blank. 

Shaping a handplane is pretty basic. Unlike a surfboard, it’s a solid piece of cedar (Grain boards are hollow inside with rib supports). The first step was just deciding on a size and shape. I went with a longboard-ish shape. Once we cut it down, I hit it with the various wood planers, slowly turning the rails and working the nose of the board up to, hopefully, induce superior planning.

Shavings.

Shavings.

After about two hours, when the handplane was pretty much the shape I wanted, I branded it then got the rest of the kit (strap, sandpaper, sealer) and headed home to finish it up. A few minutes of sanding, installing the strap, and a few coats of sealer and the handplane is now officially seaworthy.

See you in the water.

The finisher product ready to shred.