While some woodworking experience can be helpful, if you’re good with your hands, can work carefully with an attention to detail and follow written instructions, you should be able to tackle this project with great success. Most people take 60-80 hours of hands-on time to complete a board. With glue and epoxy drying times, the fastest you can complete a board from a kit is two to three weeks. However most people build boards over several months or more, picking away at it little by little as time allows. While the finished product can feel far away, if you focus on each acheivable small step, they'll quickly add up to a beautiful surfboard that you'll always feel proud of. Grain have helped thouasands of people do it. And know that you’ll love the feeling of dropping into your first wave on a Homegrown Surfboard Kit you built yourself. It’s indescribable.
Grain developed the kits before wood surfboard kits existed anywhere else, and from the beginning, they've wanted them to be complete, comprehensible and above all, do-able. We support our kit builders by phone, email, and in person. We want every surfer to get the same experience we've had, and to paddle out, incredulous, on a gorgeous board they built themselves.
Denman Marine supplies all Grain DIY Surfboard kits with Australian grown Paulownia for the planks, blocking and rails. The frames are cut from the same, very high quality, european Gaboon plywood we use for all our in house projects.
Paulownia is light in weight and pale blonde in colour with it's own character grain but approximately the same strength as Cedar. It has a magic feel like a firm balsa wood. It is very light and can be painted or stained to resemble any timber. Most importantly, rainforests are not being ravaged to harvest Australian Grown paulownia.
Whats Included in Our Kits:
Milled top and bottom planks (Paulownia)
All railstrips to build rails of your board (Paulownia)
All internal blocking (nose, tail, hardware, etc) (Paulownia)
Gore Tex vent
Bottle of Tite-Bond III and cartridge of Fixtech
Epoxy resin and hardener
Epoxy mixing buckets
A 200 page instruction manual that walks you though each step of the process
List of tools and supplies you'll need that are not included in our kit:
Block plane and/or spokeshave
Fine tooth saw
One 700mm bar clamp and six 50mm spring clamps for each foot of length of board you’re building
Some small expendibles such as masking tape, some pencils, some 80 and 120 grit sandpaper and sanding blocks/ fairing boards
You’ll also need to build a simple ladder style table built with milled radiata pine, some ~25x75mm strapping and chipboard screws, used for gluing up planks. The table will double as a base for the rocker table that you’ll build your board on. More on this in your instruction manual
Everything can be purchased at your local hardware store or online.
Note: Before you decide on a surfboard kit from someone else, make sure you understand the total cost of the component materials you'll have to source and buy separately, as well as the time it will take to fill in the gaps of knowledge that aren't covered in their manual.
Tips & Tricks
A step up from paper plans, the frame sets save you the hassle of chasing down and cost of buying your own marine plywood, not to mention the time taken to make all those intricate cuts, but still allows you get creative with your own woods.
Each frame set includes keel and frames, precision cut and numbered on our in-house CNC machine from the highest quality 6mm Gaboon marine ply, as well as nose and tail templates, construction detail notes, a 46 page instruction manual that covers the high points of the building process, as well as dimensions to mill your planks and rails to. Break the frames out, assemble them by number and you're off and running.
Like the plans, starting with a frame set alone is not for everyone. Grain believes those who will be most successful are people who already know how to build a board of this style, have tools and understand how to use them, while being fairly self reliant throughout the build process. If you are simply looking for the surfboard shape defined by the frame set, this and the accompanying instruction manual should be enough for you to build a great board to Grain's design.
For those of you that haven't built a board like this before, and are unsure of your skill level, Grain recommend you start with a HomeGrown kit, that includes all of the materials you need to build a board plus a 170 page step by step instruction manual.
Note: These frame-sets are included in our HomeGrown Kits
If you don't need the guidance and support that comes with a full surfboard kit, Grain have developed a complete set of full size plans printed on paper that will get you well on your way to a great board.
Grain's paper plans include; full-scale keel and frames, nose and tail templates, board outline, and a few construction detail notes. These frames and keel are the inside shape of the board, accounting for a 6mm plank thickness, and include notches, lightening holes, fin-box locations and more. There is also included a 46-page guide that covers the high points of the building process including dimensions to mill your planks and rails and an outline of the construction method. Buy your own adhesive, jigsaw and plywood, and get creative with re-purposed or reclaimed wood - let your creativity guide you.
Grain designed the plans and frame sets for a limited number of builders, they are NOT for everyone. They are intended to help those who:
Have experience building boards of this construction (for example have taken a class or built a kit)
Have some unique construction ideas and just need a frameset of a proven shape to get started
Just like to figure things out on their own
Please consider carefully whether you can manage to build your own with no guidance other than your own experience, ingenuity, our 46-page guide and the advice of friends.
For those who haven’t built a board like this before, we recommend starting with a complete Homegrown Kit.
Rocker Lift Set
Grain's rocker lift kits are intended to supplement the plan set, frame set, or Homegrown kit and help de-mystify the building process so that you can enjoy the experience at home even more.
Each kit is precision designed and CNC cut to the exact contours and rocker of the board you are building. Kits come with a series of "lifts" that represent the boards bottom contour in space directly under each frame. When these lifts are attached to your glue-up table, they define the rocker and bottom shape, making it a perfect platform for building your board, helping to ensure it comes out exactly as we designed it. Kits include an instruction manual to help you build a glue up table and assemble the rocker lifts.
Denman Marine specialises in custom wooden boat building and repair. We utilise both traditional methods such as carvel or clinker and modern methods such as strip planking, cold molding or clinker plywood.
We can custom build to any design - for example those by Iain Oughtred, David Payne, Paul Gartside, John Welsford, Mark Bowdidge, Francois Vivier, Atkin , Bolger B&B etc.
We are a small team of Australian wooden boat builders based in Kettering Tasmania, and are the sole agents for both Chesapeake Light Craft (USA) wooden kit boats Australia and New Zealand, as well as Grain (USA) DIY wooden surfboard kits Australia and New Zealand, and Barton Marine products (UK). Denman Marine are proud builders of Wooden Boats in Australia.