This afternoon Glenn Bowker carefully lined up an inked rubber stamp, paused to take a breath, and then pressed it firmly down onto the deck of the wooden surfboard that he’s been shaping this week. Stamping the surfboard with the Otter Workshops logo is the final job on a “Build-Your-Own” workshop to-do list, and it’s as important and celebrated as the topping out ceremony on any building. It signifies the completion of something and is a time to take a step back and appreciate the whole achievement as opposed to focusing in on the small details, which is what can sometimes happen on a big project like this.
Glenn’s built himself a Seasaw, stretched from 9’4 to 9’6″ to replicate a favourite board of his and to maintain the greater manoeuvrability of the Seasaw’s outline shape rather than opting for the more traditional Pier model. The Western Red Cedar that we used for his board was “crown-cut” at the timber mill, which is a less common sawing pattern that yields a more aesthetically pleasing grain pattern and makes any knots easier to deal with. It also shows off the colours of the trees winter and summer growth – hence the underlying stripes visible in these images. To contrast against the Western Red Cedar, a stringer accent strip of Poplar sandwiched with thin strips of Walnut was used. Glenn was keen to have a matching fin for his new pride and joy but was hoping to keep his options open to suit conditions by fitting a fin box. We’ve therefore prepared a fin for him with his chosen timber lay-up scaled down to fit. This will accompany the surfboard to the laminators where it will be layed up in a fibreglass sandwich and then foiled (shaped into a hydrodynamic profile) ready to slot into the bottom of his surfboard.
Glenn has worked really hard all week – the longer the board is the more walking up and down is required when clamping rail strips and shaping – and his effort has truly paid off. This afternoon he pencilled on the vital statistics and then put his signature on the bottom before the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process, inking up the rubber stamp and hoping that the ink doesn’t smudge!