making surfboards in the 20th and 21st century
August 6, 2009 7:44 PM Subscribe
posted by morganw (7 comments total)
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Clark Foam closed its doors
almost four years ago
due to Grubby Clark's worry
that regulations covering polyurethane foam molding would only get worse, but US surfboard making has survived. In fact, it provided some an opportunity to reconsider board making in a historical context.
Estimates vary from "well over half" to 90% of US made surfboards used Clark "blanks" which were molded polyurethane foam which was hand shaped then "glassed" with fiberglass mat and polyester resin. The alternative is extruded (like blue Styrofoam insulation board) or expanded (like foam cups) polystyrene foam covered with epoxy resin. "Epoxy" boards were originally a cheap alternative because the plug was molded in its final shape
instead of hand shaped.
Now you can shape your own board and and "glass" it with bamboo cloth. Partial instructions at the Make blog
and more complete ones in the magazine.