Small Epoxy Project Tip

I got the flu recently, and as a result, I plowed through about 3 bottles of cough syrup and Robitussin. I recycled the bottles, but the dosing cups I wanted to keep, knowing they’d be good for something.
Turns out, I started a small project that needed some epoxy resin, so I used a dosing cup to mix my epoxy in. It’s a mini measuring cup for the resin, and I didn’t have to use one of my big mixing cups. Just make sure to wash it out really well before use.

I’m sure this secret is well known to surfboard repair guys, but it was a revelation to me that I wanted to share.

How to Paint a Surfboard, Skimboard, or Wave Riding Vehicle…

Painting surfboards is something I really enjoy. Don’t get me too near a blank board, otherwise, it’ll be marked up like a train cargo box.
Here’s a board (I sold it long ago) I painted. It’s a CODA 7’2″ epoxy funshape:

I’ve found epoxy boards are much easier to paint after it’s glassed. Otherwise, I’ve found it’s better to transfer images onto rice paper to be laid up under the fiberglass during the glassing process.
When selecting a board to paint, choose a board that is a beater you want to have fun with, or if it’s one of your regular quiver, choose an “out-of-season” board, since this project may require weeks. The board above took me two weeks to paint just the deck, so it was out of commission for a while.
The first step in any board painting process is to clean, clean, clean the board- ALL of it. If the board has wax, scrape it all off- not just the area you’re going to paint if you’re not painting the whole board.
After scraping thoroughly, use a “pickle” (or this project) to clean the wax bits off, and use some gloves, mask, a fan and some acetone to carefully get the remainder of the wax residue off. I cannot stress this enough. Take your time and clean the board well- it will be worth it if you’re putting some serious time into this, and you will. EDIT 11/9/12: Non-acetone nail polish remover works well too if you are nervous about damaging the glass.
Once you think it’s clean, go over it again- check the rails- those always get missed, but your sealant won’t.

Cleaning and safety supplies:
Mask, gloves, acentone, pickle/foam dust ball, scraper

For this project, I picked up a skimboard/paipo (it’s a little heavy for a skim) for $3 at a garage sale. I was in good condition, and the top already has some traction all across the deck.

Deck side of the board, yellow traction
Wood bottom of the board. Says “Boogie Board” in black.

Of course, I have cleaned the bottom of the board well- the entirety- to get rid of dust and grime, no wax in this case, thankfully.
For paint, I like using Painters’ paint pens over Sharpie’s paint pens. I just find them to be more opaque and more like paint. I’m also using some spray on gloss glaze. This will help make the surface smooth as well.

Paint pens and Spray on gloss

Before I start, I get out a scrap piece of wood to start my pens flowing and I also use it as a palette during painting.

My scrap wood palette.

When I’m painting, I try to build up the layers and let them dry in between instead of trying to smear them together. Most paint pens have a true paint consistency, so if you want to blend with some precision, keep a paintbrush ready. Otherwise, other pens, like regular Sharpies, are ok, but are dry and don’t really build up opaquely, which I don’t like, since I like the art work to stand out without having to go over it again and again.
This skimboard/paipo thing had “Boogie Board” written on it. Poor board, it screamed, “but I’m so much more, don’t label me!”. If only surfboards could talk…
For this, then, I wanted to paint over the label with a motif. I thought a touch of the Echinoderms would be in order.
I did start with using the Sharpie Paint Pens for the main star shapes- I was not thoroughly impressed with the paint, like I said before, so this is why I used it as a first layer.

First layer

I let the stars dry for a few minutes so I wouldn’t smear the paint. Every layer I do this- I make sure to let the paint dry or I can drag paint where I don’t want. I also use the scrap wood to keep the paint pen flowing. If the paint pen starts to dry a bit, it can actually scrape up your last layer. Sometimes, I’ve even put sealant between each paint layer, but it depends on the project.
Here’s a series of the paint work:

The thing I have to remember is not to go overboard. It’s hard, especially when you’re critiquing your own work.
I set up a work surface on a tarp with two sawhorses with a large scrap piece of wood covered with a tarp to protect my sawhorses. I set this up in the garage so there would be minimal dust and particles kicked up to get into the sealant. You can also make a makeshift “spray booth” with a large cardboard box on it’s side.

Working area setup

Now, it’s time for sealant. I used a Krylon “Triple Thick” clear glaze gloss sealant. I like this stuff, and it makes a nice looking finish. On the 7’2″, I used SEVEN layers of sealant, and didn’t lose any paint even after surfing it and waxing it, leaving it out in the sun, etc. The weight difference is negligible.
Remember to find a place that won’t kick up dust and particles, and WEAR a MASK!

Sexy and I know it….

I spray in very light layers- this is important, since you don’t want to bubble up and mess up your paint job. I spray the WHOLE bottom so there’s an even coat. I’ll spray from one direction, then after waiting 5 minutes or more, I’ll put another coat from a different direction. Since this art is on the bottom, I’m going to put a lot of layers so it can scrape sand without the paint job coming off.
I did about 4 light layers with around 20-30 minutes, and let it dry for several hours. I lightly wiped down the board again to get rid of dust, then I did this again with 3 more layers. After about 24 hours, if I’m happy with the coverage, I’ll wipe off any dust and spray again. Yes, it seems like overkill, but I’ve seen a lot of boards with great artwork that is tragically chipping off since they were not sealed enough for real use.
Here’s the finished product:

I’m not a skimboarder- I tried 10 years ago and I was the afternoon comic entertainment for the tourists of Cocoa Beach.
If someone needs a starfished paipo/skimboard- here locally- let me know. I always enjoy a good barter involving Diet Coke…… 😉

Handplane. Just Handplane.

If you’re going to do this project READ all safety instructions on your tools and wear safety gear!!
Ok, so I wanted to go ahead and get this done start to finish on the new one instead of boring you with my lengthy glass-and-wait, glass-and-wait. I’m glad I did- and I’ve got some things I’ve learned I’d thought I’d share.
Of course, in Part III, I decided to change to wood for making this handplane instead of foam since the foam scrap was just way too coarse.
Turns out, poplar is very interesting to work with when putting resin on it directly. I did put a coat of West System ultra slow cure epoxy resin on, and found crazy dry patches plus parts where the wood grain stood up like little hairs even after having sanded it thoroughly before the resin. At this point, I wanted to put some changes in the shape anyway, so I got out the belt sander and the edge sander and put more prominent rounded rails on the front top edge, and put a much more pronounced concave out of the bottom, in the hope of giving it more lift.
I decided to re-coat the top side first. I put the board up on little wood blocks to allow the resin the drip over the sides.

Top Side Coated
Board on blocks

Ok, so the first coat did have some dry spots again, plus an unfortunate mosquito that landed in the resin. I did sand out bumps lightly with some 60 grit (plus the resin drippings on the bottom side), and sanded the rest with 120/220 to smooth out some of those “hairs” that popped up. The resin took 24 hours to dry (extra slow cure).

For the second coat, I thought I would be clever and put painter’s tape on the underside edge so I didn’t have to sand off all those bumps again.

Bottom side taped- resin bumps around the edge

It worked ok- but unfortunately, I did end up catching some tape into the resin, so I had to sand anyway. Duh.

Not as planned….

I did the bottom next just the same, two coats, sanding in between.

Bottom coated

For a final finish, I sanded out some of the bumps again lightly with 60 grit, then sanded all over with 120, 220, 320, and 400. The 320 and 400 I used water when I sanded (the sheets were wet/dry).
Once I finished sanding, I was ready to figure out how I was going to attach the hand strap. At first, I had wanted to drill holes, epoxy them, then drill in the epoxy to set screws into some webbing with an adjustable clip. I didn’t like the idea of drilling and epoxying since the poplar was a bit of a trouble to get the resin right.
Many of the handplanes I’ve seen have your hand slip onto the board flat. This seems a bit strange to me- I thought it might be better controlled by gripping the handle and allowing my forearm to steer the board. Ok, maybe that makes it a forearm plane. Either way, it’s an experiment, so we’ll see.
I picked up some 1″ brown flat nylon webbing to use for the handle. To make a more comfortable grip, my husband found some scrap 5/8″ braided hose tubing from our vacuum chamber project. I also gathered up a lighter (to singe the ends of the webbing so it won’t fray), and my E6000 glue, plus a threader to run the webbing through the tubing. I cut the tubing down a bit to the length I thought would be a good location on the board.

Getting the materials together
Threaded the nylon webbing through the tubing

Next, I cut the ends of the nylon webbing off to about 1/2″- 3/4″ past each end of the tubing and singed the ends. From there, I glued down each end with the E6000, gluing down not only on the bottom, but I also but glue on the top side, sort of sealing in the ends. E6000 takes about 24 hours to fully cure.

Handle glued down
How I’m planning on holding it

So anyway, here’s some more pics at different angles:

Back edge (pretty towel, huh??)
Bottom side
Top of board towards nose

Ok, so now’s the test. We’ve got some semi-windy mushy chop happening for today, so I may try it out this afternoon, since that’s the kind of typical local conditions I made it for. Will let you know if it works- and I come back WITH the board, hopefully.
Noon update:
So I went to South Cocoa Beach to try out the board, hoping to find not only a little bigger waves, but a good spot that may have a little more push. Took the trusty Churchill’s for my surf fins. The surf was messy and mushy, but I went anyway just as an experiment.
The board floated on it’s own, but was not floaty like a surfboard or bodyboard, where you can rely on it for some support. Essentially, it IS just an arm extension, but you’ve got to swim on your own. What’s great about this is, it’s the ONLY board I can duckdive! Getting under waves with the handplane is just like ducking under waves when ocean swimming, instead of wrestling the cooler lid I’m used to with the bodyboard. The handle on the board allowed me to hold on with both hands and just kick, but an adult man would probably just use one arm.

I came in a little to try some of the sand bombs that happened occasionally, and that was fun! The handplane allowed me to angle and added a lot of speed than when I just try to bodysurf alone. This does seem like a fun board for shorepound, without having to worry about popping up to get the 1/4 second ride.
I did use my forearms to keep the back of the board angled downwards in the water, with the nose barely out of the water, if at all. I did feel a lift from the board, but I don’t know if that was more the wave or board, so I’ll take it out in some different conditions, especially when my legs aren’t so weak.
So, the handle held fast, and I didn’t lose it. I’m happy. 🙂