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How to mill wide strips?

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  • How to mill wide strips?

    Hi all! I am making a Tucker Lake SUP, my first SUP and largest wood project I've ever taken on.

    I'm going to use the solid rail, layering method of building up 1/4" thick sheets until the rail is wide enough for me to begin shaping. The first layer is going to be a pinstripe of red cedar, and then complete the rails using layers of balsa sheets.

    My question is how to mill the cedar into 4+" wide strips? I have made my decking and bottom out of 1.5" wide strips that were cut from the side of a 2x4... easy enough. But how do I go about making a wide sheet for the first pin stripe of cedar for the rail? For example a .25"x4.5"?

    Or, perhaps I should make the first pinstripe layer in a hollow rail style, then follow that up with the balsa sheeting? Any video tutorials out there on how to make hollow rails?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  • #2
    Not sure where you are at in the world, but I like to use western red cedar "fence pickets" from the big box stores in the USA. They are usually 3/4" x 6" x 6' rough cut and a couple dollars per board. If you dig through their stacks you can usually get really nice looking boards that look fantastic after you run them through a planer, also usually have redwood for a deeper red color. Granted for a paddle board you would need to scarf a couple together. What kind of tools are you working with? If you have a bandsaw you can resaw a larger board the the appropriate thickness without a lot of waste.


    • #3
      Thanks phillip!

      Kansas City

      The rails will be longer than 11 feet, so I was hoping to use balsa to keep the weight down. However, I would love the rails to be red!
      That leads to other thoughts I have about.. maybe a few extra pounds of rail weight isn't such a big deal since my board will be in calm small lakes doing some leisure paddling??? Or maybe I can even decrease the rail shape/width by a 1/4" on each side without consequence since it will likely never see a wave?

      I joined the local makerspace: I have access to a bandsaw, I don't have access to a face planer (yet), but I do have access to what I think are drum sanders?

      So with the bandsaw, I can cut a wide sheet, I'm envisioning standing a 2x6 on it's side and making sheets 5-1/2" wide? Maybe with the right jig it becomes easy?? Added later... OK! "Resaw" being the key word, excellent, found some videos! And will chat with the instructors at the maker space.

      Still, I'd like any of your thoughts on cedar vs balsa rails.

      Last edited by vonBobo; 03-14-2018, 04:17 AM.


      • #4
        Welcome to WBF vonBobo!

        You can do a semi hollow rail. For the pin stripe and next 2 layers use 2 - 1/4" x 1/2"... one on top & one on bottom which will create a pocket in the middle. The smaller size will also let you follow the rocker with a little steam or muscle. You can also start on the rail shape by making each new layer more narrow.

        I would be concerned about the balsa on the rails because of it's softness. Maybe finish with on layer of cedar.
        Kook on a wood board.


        • #5
          Thanks kevin!

          Thanks for mentioning balsa being a bit soft for the rails, that was another concern I had. I like the idea of a semi hollow rail, but I figure if I can get 3 layers down, I might as well just hollow rail the whole way. Unfortunately I don't believe the lake sup has contoured ribs so it will be an extra challenge. Is there a go to video or tutorial for hollow rail assembly?


          • #6
            Which one of Brad's boards are you building?
            See here from my first build for how approached the rails.
            Kook on a wood board.


            • #7
              Bingo on the nose. Resawing a 2x6 should get you thin enough pieces "6" inches wide. Two thinner strips is also an option if you are able to bend them.

              I am partial to cedar, it bends extremely easily with steam. Cedar is also pretty soft in comparison to hardwoods people typically use for woodworking. My saw horses will dent it while I sand if I'm not careful. I do however use it for my rails, although bead and cove style. You just have to be cautious with it until you glass it. I don't have any experience with balsa yet, but my next board is planned with balsa. Redwood is a nice color, but doesn't bend for nothing.


              • #8
                Kevin.. lake sup, I'm hoping I can shorten it by a rib or two. Thanks for the video!

                Thank you Phillip!