Ken's Paddleboard Project
Looking through my notes for this project, I see that it was back in early January that Mark and I went looking for lumber. I figured it would be three or four months and the board would be ready to launch. Finally, after seven+ months of working on the board as time allowed, I was out on the water for my first wobbly paddle. I've been out three or four times now, and I'm feeling a bit more steady. Great fun!
So now three coats of epoxy resin have been applied to the board. The surface has a few runs in it, and it looks a bit wavy. This will all be sanded smooth before the varnish is applied.
Before gluing the top panel on the board, blocks of cedar with cutouts for a carrying handle were glued to the skeleton.
With the top now glued on, the handle inside the board has to be opened up, and the top panel blended into the shape of the handle blocks. After checking over my notes and measuring three or four times to determine exactly where the handle blocks are, I drilled holes into where they're supposed to be. Luckily, I drilled right into the center of the blocks.
Here's the handle after removing most of the top panel above the blocks with a router, smoothing it all with files and sandpaper, and then coating the bare wood with epoxy. The striped area you see in the bottom of the handle is the plywood spine of the framework.
Now the entire board gets sanded smooth, removing any imperfections in the epoxy coating.
This is what the board looked like after a couple coats of varnish. The four green dots are masking tape covering up tie-down fittings. To install the fittings, holes were drilled into the top, and the fittings were epoxied into place.
Before varnishing the bottom of the board, I installed a fin box, a standardized fixture that will hold, you guessed it, a fin. I made this template to guide a router to cut the slot for the box.
The fin box and the completed slot.
The routed slot, masked off to keep any extra epoxy from sticking to the bottom of the board. The pink material is foam insulation that I glued inside the board before gluing the top on. The foam will keep the epoxy used to glue the box in place from running down inside the board. I'm pointing to a rib inside the board.
The fin box glued into place. The tabs near either end of the box are there to hold it level and slightly above the bottom of the board. After the epoxy set up, the box was sanded down flush with the bottom.
Next the bottom of the board got two coats of varnish. That was left to fully cure for a few weeks before the board was once again sanded smooth. This final sanding smoothed out any runs or rough spots in the finish, and made a good surface for the last coat of varnish to adhere to.
Sanding the varnish.
Last coat of varinsh.
Applying peel-and-stick non-slip material. Without something on the board for traction, it would be very slick when wet. The material came in rectangular sheets. I rounded the corners to minimize the chance of them peeling up, and cut out around the handle. The blue tape is there to help align the non-slip pieces.
Black bungee cord through the tie-down loops.
It was warm outside that day, and hot in Mark's shop, so I brought the board home and into our kitchen to finish up these final steps.
First paddle, early morning on Silverton Reservoir.