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Local Grain: Wooden boards come west

Posted by leighann | March 12th, 2012 | Filed under Design, Outdoor Sport, Partnerships, Sustainability


We couldn’t imagine a better way to spend our Friday morning than hanging out with the brainchild behind Grain Surfboards, Mike LaVecchia, and his West coast point man Allen Anderson. They were in town from Maine (and Allen from LA) teaching one of their highly sought-after traveling board building classes. (You might remember, a few weeks ago, we featured one of Grain’s founders—Brad Anderson—on our blog).

From 7:30am till evening, for the past seven days, Mike and Allen’s intimate class of west coaters have been learning the fine craft of wooden surfboard building. Using classic boatbuilding techniques and locally harvested Northern Red Cedar, they’ve been carving, bending and shaping a floatable world.

We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the process and meet of few of their aspiring apprentices. You’ll find a few of our captured moments, below.

To learn more about Grain Surfboards and a class near you, check out their website: www.grainsurfboards.com. And definitely, check out their most recent write-up in Slide magazine.

NAU_GRAIN_SURFBOARD_CLASS-19 Alan and Mike, the guys with all of the knowledge.

Notice the wooden tepee in the background? Although it has nothing to do with Grain (as it was already part of the existing landscape), this week’s class took place at the Instrument builidng—an old boatbuilding warehouse in inner NE Portland.

photo 5Justin and his 8′ steamer, applying the bead and cove method. This is an old shipbuilding technique which uses 1/4″ strips of wood in which one edge has a groove cut and one edge is rounded. Thus, they fit together like a ball and socket or a tongue and groove, creating a tight joint. This is a relatively new method for building hallow wood surfboards (HWS) as opposed to the more well-known chambered technique.


Gluing down the planks. No foam core here.

NAU_GRAIN_SURFBOARD_CLASS-7Ed, a professional woodworker by trade, fairing in the top planks. So close to perfection.


Courtesy of Grain

If you were lucky enough to score a spot in this week’s class, you not only walked away with a floatable work of art and a lifelong sense of accomplishment, you also gained an invaluable knowledge of the craft and a community of like-minded surfers and craftsmen.

One Response to “Local Grain: Wooden boards come west”

  • March 22, 2012 at 7:18 am | Allen says

    Nolan Collins was the lead instructor for this and many of Grain’s classes. He is the guy who led this class and a glassing demo of a previously built board.

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