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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    7

    Default Plane to shape an alaia?

    I need some advice on how to best shape some timber to the shape in the attachment. The wood is paulownia, which is similar to balsa so it's soft. The outline of the timber is called an alaia. It has a rounded nose and square tail and is what the Hawaiian's used as surfboards, it is somewhat similar to an ironing board . The idea is to create "roll" on both the deck and the bottom of the board. The board is 8' long, so there is a bit of timber to remove.

    I have tried to use a power planer but found it to be too gross and difficult to control the precision.

    What would you recommend as the best tool for the job? I was thinking spokeshave, take a long time, or plane.

    Cheers

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    4,612

    Default

    Hi Kristian

    I would mark your lines on the faces and edges of the board and rough out down to those as close as you feel comfortable with the power planer. Set the cut very fine until you get a feel for starting and ending the pass without getting snipe and then increase the depth of cut to remove the waste efficiently. You really can use a power planer quite refinedly, if that is a word. Then swap to a handplane, something like a Stanley #4 1/2, #5 1/2 or #6 would do to finish off to the lines.

    Cheers
    Michael

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Arundel Qld 4214
    Age
    82
    Posts
    700

    Default shapig an alaia

    I can't suggest the best way but whatever tool you use make sure it is very sharp or the Paulownia is inclined to tear and leave you with a feathery finish that will require a lot of sanding. As I wrote this I wondered how a belt sander might work for the bulk of the shaping given that Paulownia is fairly soft.

    John

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Whitewood, I tried a belt sander yesterday, but the belt keeps slipping and seizing up (another story). I think I might buy a new one and give it a shot. I have found that my planer blades aren't the best so the finish is a bit scrappy.

    Michael, I have started looking for a plane. My dad has an old one called "Ess-Vee". I don't think it's much chop, have you heard of it? Are there places in Melbourne where I can get the blade honed if I buy a second hand one?

    Cheers

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Huon Valley, Tasmania
    Posts
    35

    Default

    G'day Kristian

    I used my bench plane for my alaia and it worked a treat. A long-soled jointing plane is a good way to go too, as it's easier to stay consistent. A spokeshave or even a block plane might be too eratic over the length of the board.

    check with PeteJames (from Treetosea) about what he was using—his alaia and paipo look awesome.

    You're welcome to pop round to Ivanhoe to check out my setup or even have a go of the planes, but you'll defintely find more sage advice through some of the more experienced folk around here.

    mat

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Well, I bought a new Makita belt sander and it is a gem! Still getting the hang of it, but it was the best investment. Still looking for a good plane, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Trying to save...

    Mat, that would be great to come have a chat with you sometime, I'm in Camberwell so not too far away.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    466

    Default

    Kristian, surfboard makers use an electric plane. But they replace the entire cutter block with a scintered carbide unit. This stops the tear out you get when taking heavy cuts.
    The supplier of these new cutter blocks for most of the common planes in is Byron Bay. They are not cheap but if yr making a few boards that is the way to go.
    So you making a mini mal Kristian.....can i ask where you bought your timber??

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Huon Valley, Tasmania
    Posts
    35

    Default

    G'day Sinjin

    Would that only ring true for foam, or soft timbers too?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Hey Sinjin,

    Have you got any more info on the cutter blocks? Sounds interesting. I am actually making 4 x 4 foot alaias and one 8 foot at the moment. The wood is Paulownia and I bought it from Port Phillip Plantation Shutters. Came out at $20 per board.

    http://www.portphillip.com.au/contact.html

    David is a really great guy and is quite interested in surfboards. Tom Wegener buys all his wood from him.

    Once I have "mastered" the tools, I am hoping to build a 6'4" Wombat. Probably in the parallel profile style, or like Wegener.

    The power planer is working better now, but I am using the belt sander to do most of the shaping.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    466

    Default

    http://www.shapers.com.au/category1_1.htm. i think this is the guy but i'm not 100% sure.
    Kristian< i have TW pin tail. supposedly one of the last f/g pin tails he made. Mine is a 10'1" is near on perfect condition.
    As to shaping, a belt sander can be one very hard to control machine for what your doing. I would think an electric to get close and from there on in use long boards(lond straight timber with sand paper glued to it) or to use really shar hand planes.
    As to Tom buying of the guy you say i'm surprised as he seemed to charging top dollar prt superfoot of timber. Anyway Tom maybe buying heaps from him.
    Last time i heard about Tom's boards he was making them hollow and then shaping them with router jigs he had made for his purpose.
    Anyway great your having a go and it will be good fun for sure.
    http://www.shapers.com.au/category73_1.htm this link is for the carbide barrel for a Makita planer

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Any idea where to buy the wood cheaper? I didn't know it was expensive...

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Arundel Qld 4214
    Age
    82
    Posts
    700

    Default Paulownia Prices

    kristian
    I have a copy of Port Phillip prices for Paulownia. I sell RS planks for less than him but I don't have a shop and other costs to cover as I work from home/plantation. He also specifies his timber is "top grade". I find it impossible to guarantee grades unless the timber is dressed. I don't like dressing timber and then rejecting it on account of the grade as most of my customers prefer RS. I did skip plane some timber down to 25 mm and can grade these planks if required. My top grade planks are slightly more expensive than his because there is so little of it. My rough sawn timber has no noticable knots, defects etc. I can DAR the timber slightly cheaper if required. Have a look at my web site www.paulownia-timber-sales.com.au. Freight may make it more expensive to land at your place than Port Phillip's and you do get to see before you buy there.
    John

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    76

    Default

    Kristian,

    You are welcome to come over to Glen Waverley and have a go at sharpening your (future) plane blades too; I use a combination of a linisher belt (for chipped or badly mishapen blades) and then wet& dry paper glues to old glass shelves (for the flatness). I ususally work up through the grades to 1200 grit and find I can get a "shaving" finish. Oh, and I ALWAYS use a roller jig to keep the angle consistent.

    BR,

    Fraser

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    RI
    Posts
    2

    Default Alaia Project starting from blank

    I'll be starting on my own Alaia project and covering my experience on my blog http://bitness.com/. I mention this forum in my first post and I'd like to speak with anyone who has experience shaping these boards. I am particularly interested in knowing what tools choices are best for removing the material to shape the concave on the bottom.

    I hope you will visit http://bitness.com/ and follow along and again, any and all comments, useful links and feedback are very much welcome.

    Thank you,
    Lawrence

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    RI
    Posts
    2

    Default Alaia Almost Complete

    I have almost finished the Alaia project (http://bitness.com) - only some sanding and some oiling is left before it's ready. I was also going to go to the local woodworking store and look at a wood burner. I saw some on Amazon for about $20. I would like to burn the image of a sea turtle into the board.

    If anyone can suggest a good wood burner that handles easily and goes across grain with no issue, please let me know.

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