History in the Re-Making

Last fall, right around the time of Surf Re-Evolution, Gary E. stopped by with a board like none of us had ever seen before. The 8’7″ solid balsa board had very little rocker and at first glance a very straight outline. Upon further investigation, we realized that the board actually had some really advanced features including modest parabolic rails, and two shallow channels running down the deck out near the rails. We’re not sure if these channels were designed for weight savings or for ease of handling, but either way, this primitive looking 1950′s era board had some stories to tell.

When it arrived at our doorstep, the glass had been removed, leaving a rough, weathered surface. There was also substantial rot in the tail as well as along one seam on the deck. To fix the tail, we considered splicing in some new balsa, filling the void with resin, etc, but in the end we decided it would be best to remove the bad wood, re-shape the tail and keep the board as original as possible.

Here are some images of the process. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

The day it arrived at Grain, from the tail.

And from the nose.

We did our best to remove the rotten wood at the tail, shortening the board by 4″ or so, while maintaining the original tail shape.

After re-shaping and sanding, we spritzed the board down with water to remove salt and dirt. Then we gave it a light coat of shellac to bring out the original tones in the wood.

The balsa was really dry after all these years so it just kept soaking up the epoxy sealer coats. It would look great when you brushed it on, then you’d return 20 minutes later and it would be dry as a bone.

After the lam and hot coats, we glassed what was the original fin back on the board.

A couple gloss coats and a polish and she’ll be good as new.

We decided to go with a satin finish which we felt was more time period appropriate than a full polish.

We cringe when the words wall hanger and wooden boards are used in the same sentence, it just makes our skin crawl. But after 60 years, what the hell, this board deserves a comfortable resting place, and we are thrilled to have been able to give her one last facelift.

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