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