Otter x Finisterre Handplane Workshop

06 . 04 . 14

Packing up the van and taking our workshop on the road is one of our great pleasures.  Last Saturday the road wasn’t a very long one though, as we were running a “Build-Your-Own” handplane workshop just around the corner in St Agnes for a group of competition winners at the HQ of cold water surf company Finisterre.  We’ve known the team at Finisterre for a few years now so it’s great to have an opportunity to work with them for a day.  They had run a competition across their social media platforms and selected 6 winners to join us for a day spent designing and shaping their own bodysurfing handplanes.  They set up their two, large, ex-Swedish army tents end-to-end outside their offices and store at Wheal Kitty and we filled them with trestle tables, old tea chests full of tools and a string of lights borrowed from the farm so that by 10am on Saturday morning we were ready to welcome our workshoppers.

The lucky winners had travelled from as far away as Pembrokeshire, the New Forest and Donegal, with the remainder from the South West.  After introductions and a cup of coffee we set to work, deciding on and drawing out templates onto their chosen handplane blanks before breaking out the Japanese pull saws to cut their outline shapes.  As the day progressed we moved on to Japanese saw rasps, surforms and then eventually the faithful sanding block and abrasive paper to work the wooden blank back to a refined, hydrodynamic, shape.

Throughout the day crafting was interspersed with cups of coffee and a wonderful lunch of venison sausage cassoulet delivered by Claire from Poco Rosso.  Everybody moved around, getting to know each other as they spent time fine-tuning their rails, and the tents were a real hive of activity.  By late afternoon our workshoppers were ready to have their photograph taken outside the tent with their finished handplanes, with nothing left to do but take their handiwork home for a few coats of oil before a run-out in the waves.  They all seemed really pleased with the outcome of their efforts and so they should be – all of their handplanes looked brilliant.  One of the participants, Ellie, is a contributor to The Slideshow Magazine (a wonderful magazine for surfing females based out of Cornwall) and she wrote a lovely article about her experience with us.

We’d like to extend our thanks to all of the workshoppers who joined us on Saturday for being such great company and for their enthusiasm, and also to Tom and his team at Finisterre for inviting us along and hosting the event in such a memorable setting.  Tom spent the day with us making a handplane and it was great getting him on the tools.  We’re looking forward to swimming into a few waves with everybody and the latest editions to their quivers as we head into spring.  Check out Finisterre here, and for more information about our “Build-Your-Own” workshop courses for surfboards, bellyboards and handplanes drop us a line or click through the menu bar above.

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