The Baby Egg experiment

As a parent, I’m all about indoctrination. So I’ve started building my 3yo daughter a mini mini mal, a short longboard, if you will. I’ve dubbed it the Baby Egg, because of its eggish outline (below)

I’m also (secretly, so don’t tell anyone) making another one for her cousin’s third birthday. I had to buy four blanks to eliminate the shipping costs (same price for two as for four), so I got two for me and two for the kids. Here are some progress shots…

Outline cut, now to shaping
Blank rocker profile
Not a big board on me, but a longboard for someone not much over 3 foot tall
Shape finished after two nights of work. I love these tiny boards, they're so quick to make.
Shaped rocker
Bottom painted

I’ll go into a little detail on my thoughts when designing this board. It’s for a 3yo, so I’m not looking for characteristics to enhance performance. Safety and stability are my main concerns. Remember, I’m trying to indoctrinate a future surfing addict, so I want her experience to be as fun and non-threatening as possible.

Its dimensions are 5′ x 15″ x 2 1/2″. I’ve gone for a rounded nose, to reduce the chances of injury if it recoils and hits her while she’s in the water (god knows it’s happened to me enough times). It has a flat bottom, which reduces drag and makes for a nice speedy ride, and I’ve shaped fairly rolled down rails which I’m hoping will make the board nice and stable. The more rounded the rails, the more readily the board will roll on its side, or at least that’s the theory I’m working on. Please feel free to correct me if you think I’ve made any innaccurate assumptions.

I’ve also painted the deck, but for some reason there aren’t any photos yet. I’ll update this page once I have.

Another problem I’ve encountered is when cutting back the stringer (plywood line down the middle of the board), I ripped some fairly substantial chunks out of the adjacent foam. I think this was due to the shaping racks being too big for the mini board, resulting in an unstable surface while I was using the spokeshave. I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board and rebuild my racks, or at least build new top sections for smaller boards. There are at least two more in the pipeline (my 1yo son is only 18 months away from his first board), so it’ll be worth the added expense.

Anyway, watch this space for updates…

(later that evening)

Ok, I managed to sneak out to the shed to take a couple of shots of the deck. I took my inspiration from the children’s book The Rainbow Fish, with a loan sparkly scale in amongst the colours. I’d call this board the Rainbow Fish as a tribute, except I’d have all the hardbitten old pedants who inhabit the cyber-shaping world of Swaylock’s grumbling “that’s not a fish”. But that aside, here are a few photos.

Fish-scale tail
It's pink, of course, although now she tells me her favourite colour is green
Rainbow Fish (that's not a fish!) tail
The one shiny scale that remained after he gave away his most precious possessions, and found happiness.

March 22 2012 – As promised, here are a few shots of the Rainbow Fish getting laminated. I went with a fairly light glassing schedule, because it’s a pretty tiny board. It has a 4oz bottom and a 2x4oz deck. I’m going to give it a homemade plywood fin with a 4-5 inch base, about 5-6 inches high and with a little, but not too much, rake. The theory goes, the more rake a fin has (how far back it angles), the more maneouvrable the board will be. Alternatively, the more upright the fin, the more down-the-line drive, with a longer, drawn out turning circle.

The main focus at this stage is stability, but I want her to be able to turn the thing, once she’s more comfortable on the board, in the water. As you can see from the photo below, it’s long enough that she’ll probably be able to ride it for a few years.

UV lamination curing in the Adelaide Hills sun
First layer of 4oz glass trimmed and ready for the resin
Deck lamination curing
The Rainbow Fish, signed, sealed and almost delivered
Team Sea Dragon

The first of the Baby Eggs is now officially finished. I made a fin (plywood and fibreglass), glassed it onto the board, hotcoated and sanded, with a final little leash loop as the finishing touch. Here are the photos.

The fin before glassing
UV resin sets fast
Sanding it back
The materials for glassing on the fin
Fin on board
Rocker shot, post hotcoat
Leash loop
After sanding - board complete
With its siblings - 2 of 8




4 thoughts on “The Baby Egg experiment

  1. This is excellent, Cass – I will definitely put in an order for Callisto! We might have to do a road trip to SA to pick it up…:) You have been warned! But seriously – I think it’s great to encourage our daughters (and sons if available) to surf…C is already entranced by Stephanie ‘that pink girl surfer’…and she loves Rainbow Fish too. x Auntie O

  2. Callisto has just seen this and has demanded one. I am serious. How much would it cost? I guess getting it to Sydney would be the biggest thing…but consider it for me…please! She’s about 3 feet tall (3 metres tall and older than I’ve ever been and as brave as a barrel full of sharks – literary ref: ‘Pog’) 🙂

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