Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Moving On...

Well at long last the foil board is in a state to test so it's fingers crossed and caution to the wind. I've realised the importance of vacuum bagging to get any defects out of the glassing after sanding and sanding and more sanding. And it's still not perfect!

Well life goes on I guess and on the flip side the board weighs in at 5.6Kgs so not a super lightweight hollow wooden board. However it's my first attempt so all things being equal I'm patting myself on the back instead of flailing myself with tales of; I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy...

Here's a few images to finalise the Hollow Wooden Foil board story:

The Deck in all it splendour - wood what a wonderful material

Wooden Stuff Project logo glassed onto the deck

Hull Side

Hand shaped carbon insert box

The beast with foil in place

Carbon re-inforcing strip to eliminate the chance of the box pulling through the board

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Wooden Foilboard - Stage 2

Well time flies by and it seems to take a considerable amount of time to move the foilboard forward however, it's nearing completion and I'm looking forward to sailing her real soon. Building everything by hand and laying up the carbon, shaping and then using the male leg insert as the plug for the board housing sure is SLOW!! Moulds would be a much quicker option but hey, in a perfect world there would be never ending 3m peeling waves and force 5 every day ;-) and maybe weekends of super flat force 4 for foiling........

This is a cool project and I am enjoying the journey... It is a considerable personal voyage and if you are thinking of going down a similar route be prepared for the roller coaster ride of emotions as it is an interesting ride. A big thanks to Amac of Mach2 foils for his generosity & continued encouragement and to Paul Jenson & Miquel Coll for their support and words of wisdom.

Well I can see light at the end of the tunnel but I know that there remains shed loads of finishing to do so I guess I'd better crack on...

What I'm going to do is use the router to cut off any excess resin, recess the box by 1mm and then cover the entire insert box with a layer of carbon roving and epoxy. After that the hull of the board will be glassed and reinforced around the insert box.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Wooden Stuff - Kitesurf Board Project

Well it's taken a little longer than I had imagined and the learning curve for shaping a wooden board is most certainly steep, to say the least. On the upside the board shape is looking really sweet and the downside I've learn that it is really easy to over engineer a hollow wooden board, resulting in additional weight that you can do without. Impatience I'm sure is a strong part to blame as I left the deck and hull surface thicknesses somewhat excessive but an important part of the learning process - I guess... Here are a few images that document the process from gluing up to shaping.

Gluing up the 20 x 30mm lengths
Weighted whilst gluing to give the board some rocker shape

Batten lengths after drilling out some of the excess - the bucket shows the excess wood

More shaping

Being at one with you latest creation...
Prior to gluing on the final side rails

Final rough shape - prior to glassing sealing
Side rails added and shaped - next foil conic box and sealing

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Well the French eco-socio bug that's flying around has had the better of me - and I'm pleased to be making the first of 3 new kitesurf boards. I've been reviewing the way I can make a difference. The first is an Alaia styled wooden board: paulownia wood, super light, super strong & I've managed to track down a supplier not far from Montpellier. No huge shipping cost in an attempt to be more green - that would be contradictory for sure.

Unfortunately it won't be totally 'nasty substance' free due to the fact that Kitesurfing puts a greater pressure on your board than regular surfing, so a layer of glass fibre is a prerequisite if you want your board to stand up to the rigours of kiting - I think...

I'm planning on making two hollow-chamber paulownia regular surf styled boards also, the second one for Kitefoiling. Hopefully they will prove to be a real buzz to ride and I'm looking forward to getting the boards moved forward relatively quickly. Thanks to Miquel for the materials and friendly advice - these surf styled boards will not require glass fibre due to them being thicker and more sturdy so they should be totally Eco - just a couple of coats of Yacht varnish to keep them watertight. Although the stresses on a foil board may make me reflect on that to make sure that the foil does not push through the board and everything falls apart out to sea!

So, Eco is really cool as far as I'm concerned; I don't recall how many boards I've bought, sold, broken and then they've finished at the tip making a contribution to the growing mass of consumer waste. The problem of waste that's mighty difficult to break down and get rid of, in an ecologically sound way is a growing threat to each and everyone of us. I'm doing my little bit and if we can all do a little then maybe we can begin to crack some of the issues that will have dramatic effects on future generations. Wooden boards will last a lifetime, can be modified or will break down in the natural environment - or on the flip side you can fuel the barbecue with the wood - mind you that would be a bitter pill to have to swallow after spending a good deal of time shaping the god damned boards ;-)

Rock 'n' Roll Radio for the 2013 Kite Boardz Project via 'Wooden-Stuff'.

Concave hull - ease of ride and some directional stability, I hope.

Alaia with logo - ready for 4oz glass and epoxy.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Bonne Année 2012

Well almost 6 years on since moving to Montpellier & happy New year...

When you move away from your native country one of the most tricky things to get your head around is you're soon forgotten by your friends - or maybe it's just the fact that you come to accept that you were never that popular!

No phone calls from any of my old buddies back in the UK in fact very few messages via FB or Skype during the Christmas period. For some time I convinced myself that I had no friends but once you move away your quickly replaced by everyday events that occupy peoples time. This new year holds lots of positive changes certainly for me and hopefully for all of you who are reading the flip side.

Sorry for the lack of updates over recent months - a lack of time and too many things going on to put keyboard to paper. The music will be stronger than ever in 2012 - so here's to a wild n happy musical new year.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Artiste Auteur - Original Artist

Like I've said previously there's nothing simple in France, if it is feasibly possible to make things more complex the French are champions at increasing the complexity of anythying bureaucratic. I'm just in the proces of officially declaring myself as an Artist or as it is more widely known here 'an author of original works'. I've almost won the hat which determines that I can produce pieces of art and create invoices for them. This also involves changing my social status, having to change where I pay my social charges and also means that I can only invoice for the creation of original work. Anything repetitive, repeat productions and that changes the rules of engagement and in all honesty I'm not to certain where it goes if we arrive at this point; so for the moment everything is original unless I'm told otherwise!!!

I'm very happy producing Venitian Stucco tablets 'cause no else seems to be interested in using this material. The finish is incredibly profound and well its difficult to show via images on the web so in essence you have to see it to really appreiciate it.

Above is a recent portrait of a very politcal character of the Languedoc region who passed away in November 2010 - Georges Freche. Some claim that Freche was possessed by leaving his mark at every opportunity on the regeon, outspoken in his views and tough on his working colleagues - the only comment I can make is that his direction has certainly changed the face of Montpellier and some surrounding villages over the previous 15 yrs. Whether this is for the good we will see in the fullness of time.

The Director of Cultural Affairs : Nicole Bigas, reserved the portrait 'Mister Montpellier' for the Agglomeration on the evening of the private view 'Un Nouveau Regard' but to date I have received no further communication of how to conclude the sale! On the Flip Side one doesn't have to overlook the fact that this is France and words are cheap regardless of which continent you reside upon. I'm only glad that I sold this portrait to a friend and an honourable busnessman prior to being approached by the elected representative of the Agglo.

OK catch you on the Flip Side of the next wave.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Un Nouveau Regard

Whilst time flies by in the blink of an eye - passions change direction, people take on different roles and things move in all sorts of different ways. It's just over 5 years since I moved to Montpellier and finally I seem to have located a direction and purpose for things that I'm passionate about.

I fell in love with Venetian Stucco some years ago and after participating on a course with a very skillful bunch of guys based up north in the UK, not far from Bradford, I've been expereimenting with the material and creating some interesting pieces of art. I've developed my own techniques and like to think that I am now creating pieces that are sumptuous, original and hold a certain quality that has the potential to be appreciated by a worldwide audience - only time will tell. ( I'm hoping that this appreciation will materialise prior to becoming too old... or at least before I die !).

Anyway 2011 is the year of making one's mark, so to this end I've committed to playing live with my good friend and incredibly talented harmonacist 'Henri Lubrano' in our blues duo namely ' Zee Blue Monkeys' and making a concerted effort to exhibit my artwork and increase my reputation as an English Artist living and working in Montpellier - so if you reading this please spread the word. Some of my work can be seen at LIFE The Gallery in Farnham, Surrey, UK - just ask for Martin or Kerry Kelly and they will be more than happy to assist you.

My first official exhibition sponsored by the City Council of Montpellier 'Montpellier Agglomeration' will take place at the :

Maison d'Agglomeration de Beaus-Arts, Aiguelongue, Plan des 4 Seigneurs
25, route de Nîmes

4th February 2011 - Vernissage / Private View - from 18h30
5th February to 19th February 2011 - 10h00 to 12h30 & 14h00 to 17h30

The format of the Vernissage / Private View will include:

1 - An demonstration of how I produce my work
2 - The production of a small Venetian Tablet / Application of the Stucco
3 - Live acoustic music to bring the evening to a close.

If you're in the region please feel free to share a glass of wine with us at the Vernissage.