Requesting help with my SUP build

Discussion in 'All Discussions' started by SharkLaser, May 20, 2021.

  1. SharkLaser

    SharkLaser New Member

    2
    May 20, 2021
    ***scroll down for TL;DR***

    Hey folks,

    Let me start by apologizing if any of what I say is ignorant or has been addressed in other forum posts here before. I've been doing some research now for months and I still have questions that I hope someone here can help me with.

    I'm a Canadian (therefore in Canada...) looking to build a 10'6 SUP. This will be my first ever surfboard/SUP build. I understand everything about the building process thanks to some very informative videos on youtube, especially by Andrew W, and some others out there, but the parts themselves (fiberglass, epoxy, foam, etc) I need help with.

    -FIBERGLASS-

    I'm sure there are several other options out there, but I've found these two places in Canada that seem like somewhere I could buy fiberglass from (https://www.rayplex.ca/fabric-cloth-6oz-38-.html & http://shop.compositescanada.com/#/product/FIB060-3733-60-LY). The issue though, is that these options are extremely expensive compared to what I found in the states (http://www.uscomposites.com/cloth.html ***The 60" 6oz***). I want to use the 60" cloth because I plan to use the extra width for other projects. Now, even with conversion, tax, shipping, duty, buying the fiberglass from the states is a couple hundred dollars cheaper for the amount I want. Makes no sense to me, but who am I to argue. What I need help with though, is understanding why the fiberglass is SO MUCH MORE expensive in Canada. Also, if I buy from uscomposites, it makes sense to buy my epoxy from them too, to save on shipping and what not, but that brings me to my next point.

    -EPOXY-

    If you google surfboard epoxy, you get boards, not resin. If you google surfboard epoxy resin, you get one of two options, Resin Research or the greenlight marine grade epoxy. I've tried to find lists of resin brands that people have used and tried and I honestly can't find anything useful. Does anyone have a list of brands that are known to work for surfboard construction? Also, from uscomposites, I have the options of the more expensive West System, or their own brand (http://www.uscomposites.com/epoxy.html). I've contacted them but I don't think they fully understood the nature of my questions. I was told that their epoxy takes up to 6 months to cure, that it's not a finish (when trying to explain the hot coat and gloss coat process), and goes gooey in the sun. This doesn't really make sense to me based on what I've read. Their FAQ lists canoe/kayak lamination as an appropriate application for their thin epoxy system so... IDK. Greenlight has a 10 facts about epoxy page (https://greenlightsurfsupply.com/blogs/news/10-facts-about-epoxy-resins-you-need-to-know) and number 7 is that epoxies soften at high temperatures. I have to imagine the uscomposites was refering to the same process, but they made it sound like their epoxy would turn into a gummy bear type gooey and fall apart or something. Has anyone here used their thin epoxy before, and if so, how did it turn out? The medium and fast hardeners have a slight amber hue that isn't a deal breaker, but I'd prefer a crystal clear finish.

    -EPOXY AMOUNTS-

    This is kind of a tough one. I've been trying to calculate how much epoxy I need for a SUP for ages now. Greenlight has a chart (https://greenlightsurfsupply.com/bl...f-board-length-for-epoxy-and-polyester-resins) that suggests the amount of resin needed for different sizes. I'm doing a 6oz x2 top and bottom. I think the calculations came out to something like 1.5 or 1.85 gallons for 1 SUP, but I've seen other forums where people say 1.5 gallons is enough for 2 longboards and a shortboard. I've seen videos of people using 1/2 as much epoxy as is the minimum recommendation from this chart and having excess in the end. Honestly this is the most confusing part in my opinion. Has anyone followed the Greenlight chart. How much resin did you end up wasting or did you have the right amount?

    -FOAM-

    Finally, I'm planning on building this out of EPS foam from home depot. I'm not looking to make a super performance racing SUP, this is just a for fun project. I have however considered the possibility of using polyester resin with a polyurethane core instead. The issue however is that I've google where I could buy just a big rectangular chunk of PU and I couldn't find it. Anywhere. Did I miss something somewhere? Odds are still that I'll go with the EPS but on the off chance it's cheaper to go PU with PR, I'd do that.

    -TL;DR-

    Why is fiberglass so much more expensive in Canada? cheaper to buy in the US even after shipping, duty, taxes and conversion.

    Has anyone used uscomposites thin epoxy (http://www.uscomposites.com/epoxy.html) for a surfboard/SUP? How did it turn out?

    how much epoxy do I really need? This chart seems to suggest 2x the amount that I've seen others use (https://greenlightsurfsupply.com/bl...f-board-length-for-epoxy-and-polyester-resins)

    Where the heck to you buy PU blanks or just a big rectangular chunk?

    -FINAL THOUGHTS-

    Again, if any of this is very obvious to others and it seems like I didn't do my research, I apologize. I've just found it difficult to get clear, to the point, information. I really really really appreciate anyone who's taken the time to read and reply to this and I'm grateful for any information you can pass along my way. Cheers!
     
  2. CJsurf

    CJsurf Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    Its customary to introduce yourself.
    Take pretty much everything you saw that YouTuber you mentioned do on YouTube and throw it out the window.
    Your post is so long I stopped reading at Andrew.
    Hate Sweepers. Unmotivated.
    Start over with an introduction and brief requests related to an actual surfboard. Cheers.
     
    antoine and headhigh like this.

  3. SharkLaser

    SharkLaser New Member

    2
    May 20, 2021
    Hi,

    I'm Shark. I'm looking to use epoxy from http://www.uscomposites.com/epoxy.html to build a SUP, but upon talking to them, I have doubts about how well it will work for my applications. Does anyone here have any experience using their epoxies and could you let me know how it went?

    Thanks.
     
  4. CJsurf

    CJsurf Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    I've only used US Composites for 2-part foam and fillers like Q-cel. Their epoxy is inexpensive but not UV stable. It will work but you'd have to paint the finished product.
     
    headhigh likes this.
  5. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Use EPS, not PU, which will result in a very heavy board. Use the lightest EPS you can find. I recommend buying a 1lb EPS SUP blank, not the stuff from Home Depot. But if you do go that route, be sure you're buying EPS (expanded) not XPS (extruded).

    Use surfbord-specific resin, not West Systems or other. Resin Research produces very high quality surfboard-specific resin. Greenlight's guide is pretty accurate for amounts. Add 10-15% more if you're a novice glasser, and avoid fast cure hardener. Seal your shaped blank very well before glassing.
     
    headhigh likes this.
  6. headhigh

    headhigh Well-Known Member

    Jul 17, 2009
    Hey Shark, to start I would only use epoxy and other materials that are surfboard specific because of UV stability and tons of other reasons. Use the stuff made for surfboards - full stop.

    For your first board, buy more than you need. Leftovers are great for ding repair, and the worst possible thing that could happen is to start a lamination or something and not have enough resin.

    Buy a surfboard blank. You will save so many headaches. Once you have a board or two under your belt you can experiment and try to save money, but for board #1, your only goal should be to finish it. Board #2 and #3 will be less expensive too once you have all your tools paid for.

    On your first board, do not make things more difficult by cutting corners or trying to save money. Shaping a surfboard, especially just one, is going to be expensive, hard, dirty work, and will test your patience. You need to focus on one goal: Finish it. It's not going to be pretty, or perfect, but if you do all the prep work correctly, hopefully it won't fall apart on you. Then you can make another one and learn from your mistakes. That is simply the only way to do this unless you have a in-person mentor guiding you step by step.

    My main point: If your goal is to have a SUP without spending $1000, your doing this for the wrong reason. The only reason to build a surfboard is because you want to build a surfboard. If you're trying to save money, buy a pop-out, enjoy it, and move on down the road.
     
    antoine and Carson like this.
  7. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    I buy Resin Research epoxy (best surfboard resin I have found), fiberglass cloth, fin boxes, from these guys:

    http://www.fiberglasssupply.com

    Their prices are good, I've never had an order messed up, and they are usually able to answer my tech questions. I agree with not getting the fast cure, for a big project, especially if you haven't a lot of experience in glassing. It lets you take your time, reduces stress.

    You mentioned you are in Canada? Be forewarned....glassing in cool or cold temperatures can result in unexpectedly long times for the resin to harden as you finish up glassing.
     
  8. ScorchieLeWave

    ScorchieLeWave Well-Known Member

    98
    Nov 15, 2010
    New66Side.jpg I've mostly used Resin Research epoxy resin and Fiberglass Supply for polyester.

    Most likely beginner-newbie mistakes:

    1) Deluded into thinking that an epoxy over eps will be lighter than polyester over polyurethane or epoxy over polyurethane: This is true only if you don't use too thick a wet-out with the epoxy resin which is thicker and more glue-like. It's not as drippy so be careful if you use it. Otherwise, you will wind up with a board that actually weighs more. It's a lighter final product ONLY if you use it sparingly. It is very strong though, and it CAN be used over cedar stringers or boards which have a lot of natural oil-bleed.

    2) It's vapors are less volatile than polyester but it's MORE trouble if you spill it or get it on your skin.

    As for the details - ie. mixing the stuff - I normally use a scale but it can be done by volume also. Look up the details. I've been away from building for a while until I clean up my basement and garage. You can go on swaylocks. I have a board or two pictured there. I'm like you - I haven't done many boards yet.

    Good luck - the hardest part is the shaping of the foam. I use computer software and a CNC machine to rough out my blanks. I have a vacuum installed if I really need to mow foam with a planer.

    I would recommend that you simply borrow the resin and fiberglass from scraps your buddies have. Just cobble together stuff for your first board.

    Good idea to use building insulation though - glue up some insulation to get the thickness, then saw it down the middle, and glue in the stringer of your choice.

    One last comment on my above warning about the weight of an epoxy board for you and for LBCrew who has a certain skepticism:

    1. Depending on the density of the foam and the thickness of the pour (whether or not you've thinned with 10% thinner such as thinner or acetone), depending on the glass weave, depending on the blank - ie. eps, poly, poly-blue, etc.., and depending on whether or not you seal the board, the resulting boards you make WILL differ in weight. Some board-makers have a better touch at the amount to pour over the glass. It's NOT uncommon for a beginner to end up with an epoxy board that's heavier - here's a link to a swaylock's thread that discusses this a little bit. If you really use eps foam, you are off to a good enough start, that the final board SHOULD be lighter:

    https://www.swaylocks.com/forum/59994/epoxy-surfboard-weight
    https://www.swaylocks.com/forum/60443/spreadsheet-resin-usage-epoxy-and-polyester

    Takeaways:
    1) See if you can get away with 1/2 the resin a beginner might accidentally use
    2) Possibly seal the board with Cerex
    3) Squeegee the glass tightly to the foam, but not too tightly as that is ALSO a common mistake (then brush) - don't float the glass up too much.
    4) Sand the coats well particularly if you've gone a little thick.

    My first epoxy home-made board took a lot of sanding due to too much resin as you may be able to discern from the above side-view.


     
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
  9. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
     
    headhigh likes this.
  10. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    I always warm my epoxy resin before glassing and get a nice runny consistency. Honestly, I use almost exactly the same amount of resin research fast cure epoxy resin to wet out and laminate a board as I would poly resin for the same board/glass schedule. Same with the hot coat. So even if I'm using the same glassing schedule the EPS core produces a lighter finished board. BUT given the inherent strength of EPS/epoxy construction I can often cut back a bit on the glass and save even more weight.

    I'm not super concerned with absolute lightness like some surfers are about their boards, but man I gotta disagree here about the basic weight advantage of EPS/epoxy vs. PU/PE. its real, and i'm a novice glasser.
     
  11. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    I'm pretty conservative with poly, too... but I do still use more poly than epoxy. I don't do the full resin curtain, but something close... just try to control the flow as much as possible and catch what I can back in the bucket. Resin swirls are the worst. MOST of the resin hits the floor... a small sacrifice for a beautiful, even marble look.
     
  12. ScorchieLeWave

    ScorchieLeWave Well-Known Member

    98
    Nov 15, 2010
    To SharkLaser, LB Crew, and Mitchell, I totally agree that a lightweight starting foam, and good touch with the squeegee and resin is a lighter finished surfboard.

    I just wanted SharkLaser to hear what happens if someone is wanton on their first board. Mitchell and LBCrew are spot on to share with me their edified experiences.

    By the way, SharkLaser may need to study how to achieve rocker if he goes the route of true building insulation so I urge him to read up on that.

    At least I'm starting to clean up my basement as he's motivating and inspiring me - it's contagious.
     
    headhigh likes this.
  13. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    Just to be clear, I mean't I think I use pretty much the same amount of resin in the actual lamination regardless of poly vs. epoxy. For a clear lam, If i'm kicking off poly, I do mix up a couple ounces more resin in the batch if its poly so I can work faster, but that extra couple ounces isn't staying in the cloth, its mostly on the floor or back in the cup at the end.
     
  14. headhigh

    headhigh Well-Known Member

    Jul 17, 2009
    Reading all the wisdom from these guys makes me want to get dusty again, too.

    If I was to start a new board I would need to re-up on sandpaper (not cheap for the good stuff, unless I buy in bulk which I don't need), blank, cloth, resin, fin boxes, leash plug, paint brushes, mixing cups, gloves, stuff for cleanup. I have some painters tape, razor blades, and some squeegees from ding repair.

    Then add in the time. What's my time worth these days? A lot more than when I was building boards a few years ago. This, in my opinion, is the real cost. That's why I say that the only reason to build a board is because you really want to!

    So, for just a little more money, and a lot less time, I can have someone who has shaped hundreds of boards build it for me, and I know it will work. For this reason I think that not building a board should always be a part of the board building equation.
     
    Carson likes this.
  15. Carson

    Carson Well-Known Member

    593
    May 19, 2006
    It's like making ice cream. Yeah, it's delicious. Yeah, it's fun. But when you add up the cost of all the ingredients and the time it takes to make it, you could have bought 3 times as much ice cream at the store. True story.
     
    antoine, simod5 and headhigh like this.
  16. CJsurf

    CJsurf Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    I've got about 50 boards under my belt. The first 5 were perhaps not worth the effort although a couple of them worked really good despite being ugly. I learned a lot on those early boards though......no internet or YouTube back then. These days I'm making a hp shortboard for about $230 plus my time. I figure its about 10 to 12 hours of labor. I buy my cloth by the roll to get the cost down there and stockpiled FCS Fusion and FCSII fin boxes a few years back. I just buy blanks and resin as needed.
     
  17. Carson

    Carson Well-Known Member

    593
    May 19, 2006
    Yeahbut...how much does it cost you to make a gallon of ice cream?
     
    World B Free likes this.
  18. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    VHS tapes of John Carper Shaping 101 and Glassing 101. Yew! He made it look so. damn. easy. Probably because the tapes skipped over so many of the nasty little devils in the detail. And because he had done it 10,000 times already.
     
  19. CJsurf

    CJsurf Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    I started even before those tapes came out. Made my first board in 1989 in my parent's driveway. Those tapes didn't come along until 1996. The only resource I had when I started was an outdated softcover book about building surfboards that I ordered from an ad in the back of Surfing Magazine.

    build-surfboard-1983-stephen-shaw_1_4b0e6bd24f0f47a48f6735531ed823d0.jpg

    Here is board #1 from 1989. Ugly as hell. Board actually worked good. Still have it.

    first shape.JPG

    Here is another early one. First longboard I ever made. 1994. Still have this one too. This one gave me fits glassing. It was hot out and I'd never glassed a longboard. Resin was going off before I finished tucking the laps. Learned by trial and error.

    longboard.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
    World B Free, Carson and headhigh like this.
  20. CJsurf

    CJsurf Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    Here's how trial and error it was when I started out. On my first board, not knowing what gloss resin was I bought a can of un-pigmented waxed gellcoat. Shit was really expensive too. It came out of the can like jelly. I squeegied that over the board for my final finish coat of resin. What a bitch that was to sand. LOL!!! Live and learn. :confused: