Saturday, January 21, 2012


I really like the look of narrower planks of wood in cores. Ken from South Africa recently sent me some photos of the board he had just been working on with his brother in NZ. They did some really great work with laying out the grain pattern of the wood. narrower strips but also laying them off axis and it looked awesome.

I had tried to cut the 100mm planks I've got into 50mm by hand but the limes weren't straight enough and there was gaps all over. So I thought it was worthwhile to spend sometime making a hobby sized table saw to cut the 100x6mm planks. I bought a very handy HandyCut by Worx tool a while back. it's a single hand controllable circular saw with 100mm blades on it. Very very useful for all manner of things.

I used scrap bits of mdf and just clamped the table top to the work bench. worked like a charm and so now if planked the wood into 50mm strips ready for cutting out the template.
Side view showing the HandyCut saw mounted underneath and the surface clamped to the workbench
HandyCut Bench Saw set up to mill 100mm Paulownia planks
Showing good OH&S practices in action
Planks all cut into50mm strips ready for cutting out with the template.


  1. Nice, it does just a good a job as the 20k panel saw we have at work.

    On a back track.
    How do you think you can get a high gloss finnish on the top of the board like what you can on the bottom.

    Would be great to see the grain in high gloss. That deck would also look good in white and red cedar in strips.

  2. G'day. Its a bit hard to tell from the scale of it but the saw blade only comes up about 8-9mm but I'm only going to use it for cutting thin planks and maybe plastic for the rails so its good as gold for that. I showed a couple of friends who are builders and their main comment was that it is an accident waiting to happen so I think I need to make it a bit more difficult to cut a finger (off) with.

    The surface finish on top is a tough one and I haven't really cracked it yet. Production boards usually have plastic film like UHMWPE, that same material used in snowboard topsheets. Makes it scratch resistant and uniform.

    I've tried a couple of different ways with ok results. Painting another layer of epoxy and sanding it back with really fine grit wet and dry sand paper seems to give the best results but it takes a bit more elbow grease than I'd like.

    Have you had better luch with the canoes you made?

    1. Ive made laminated stripped cedar deck inserts and i had 3 layers of resin (sanded in between each layer) applied with a sponge brush to stop streaks. Then two coats of enamel clear lacquer
      (sanded between coat one and two).

      The last coat was poured on to stop streaks and tapped to settle the coat and knock any high spots down. But they were only small , about 400x 500. Lots of work and lots to go wrong. But a mirror finish in the end.

      I wonder if a plastic sheet on top like on the bottom would work and when peeled off it would be glass like.
      It would almost take the press like in the flysurfer video to press on both sides to get rid or the excess resin to do that.

    2. Hey RTR. Was looking around on kiteforum and came across an idea for the glassy finish. If you search on 'Porker' in kiteforum you'll see the results. They dont go into great detail except to say the use 'pre-cured' laminate. I guessing them means that you layup a single layer of thin glass on a smooth surface (peespex), squeegy out the excess resin and let it cure. Then use this as the top layer like you would use Durasurf or other topsheet material. I'm also thinking that you coudl put your graphics on the underside of glass so it would be encapsulated in resin. then you could lay it up over resin with tints of pigment in it and still have the graphics clear. The 'Porker' result is fabulous, straight off the rocker table.

  3. BTW, yes, cedar stip does look great. If you have'nt seen it yet check out the board builders forum on

    Lots of folks have make cedar strip boards and they look stunning.

    1. Thanks for that link for that forum, its great. Here is the picture of the cedar insert i made, shows the sheen hopefully made as i described earlier.

      I was looking around at the finnishes on the board tops and this video i remember seeing a while back, he uses vinyl only on the top, its at about 5 minutes in

  4. Hi RTR

    elbow grease seems to be most common approach to getting a good finish but it all seems to hard.
    I've thought about using Perspex top and bottom but it limits you to having no profiling of the core because you newton make sure the plastic top mould is an very close match with the board surface or I think you'd end up with dry spots and pooled resin in others.

    I believe the presses typically have cnc cut aluminum moulds and the cores cnc cut so they fit perfectly. with hand made boards i think you'd get too much variation to ensure a good match. maybe laying rubbed sheet down first and then anneal enough fitting mould and them clamp all of that in the bag might fill some of the mismatch.

    with all of this though of of the things to keep in mind is you need to make sure the excess resin can get out. pneumatic press up use 90 psi clamping pressures and usually at elevates temperatures which initially helps excess flow away. with vac bagging at home 15 psi is as good as it gets. not sure how much you could squeeze out and still preserve the smooth finish. I'm sure there is a way though. maybe vac bag it flat to squeeze out excess and then clamp it between the mould surfaces to finish it.

  5. Hey RTR

    wow. impressive. that really is a mirror finish. interesting tos as well about how to avoid the ripples. do you work with wood in your day job?

    i have seen those videos from fibrenfoam.. he is a contributor on kiteforum, his is one of the most viewed posts there. I has a go at this approach as a subsequent finishing step using vac film directly on the surface. I even tried pretensioning the plastic film to avoid ripples but like he also observes it's very difficult to avoid leaving ripples on the surface even though the surface is very glassy smooth. I dint know if this is variations in the surface of core or the surface tension needed to pull it vinyl straight once it touches the resin or pooling of therein which can't flow away cause there is no easy path to flow away.

    3 other ideas are to build the board upside down so that you have the plastic on top side. then vac bag normally. top side fnish is more important than bottom? other is to use gelcoat and spray it on after the boarded finished curing, then clear coat over graphics. could try using release film rather than peel ply. probably reduces elbow grease required but need to be accurate with amount of resin you use...