Boards · Shaping · The Baby Egg Experiments

Another board for the quiver

Very excited to have finished off The Rainbow Fish yesterday. I made a fin for it about a month ago from plywood, and I managed to sneak an hour or two last week to cover it with a couple of layers of 4oz glass. All that remained was to fix it in position on the board, then hotcoat and sand.

Mem took the kids to a local sculpture exhibition first thing yesterday. I would have liked to go as well, but it gave me an opportunity too good to miss to finish off the first of the Baby Eggs. So I stayed home and donned the protective gear and got to work.

This was my first attempt at glassing on a fin and all things considered, it went quite well. I didn’t have any rovings, so I cut a couple of offcuts into rectangles and dismantled them string by string, until I had enough to lay up against the fin’s base. I dipped these into the resin and put them in place, being careful to get all the air bubbles out with a paddle-pop stick. After that it was a simple matter of laminating a couple of pieces of 4oz glass to bond the fin to the bottom of the board.

I think the hotcoat is my favourite stage in shaping a board (probably because it’s so quick). As long as you’re organised, it’s all over in about a minute and, once the sun has done its work and kicked the resin off, you’re left with a smooth, seemingly complete board. Of course, there’s still the crucial sanding stage left, but for a couple of minutes you can sit back and imagine that your work is done.

The family came home just as the hotcoat was setting, so I packed up and got back to being a father for the rest of the afternoon. Later that evening, once the imps were in bed and the dishes done, I set up the stands on the shed’s brick porch and pulled out the power sander. I’m still a bit wary of that machine, after a near-disasterous first attempt on my first board. But I’ve done a lot of research into where I went wrong since then, so I was ready to go last night. I took it slowly and made sure I didn’t stay on one spot for too long and I got the whole board done with no sand-throughs. I started with 80-grit and cycled through 120, 180 and 240, finishing off with 320. I had to do the rails by hand, which was a pain in the arse. But I didn’t want to ruin it at the last hurdle.

I came back in at around 8.30 with a thick layer of white dust from head to toe and a grin that you couldn’t wipe off with a litre of acetone. Number two complete, now on to three and four, which will be for Felix and Tom. I’ll post photos once they’re uploaded from the camera.

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