We craft our boards one at a time using Northern White Cedar from right here in the state of Maine, with some Western Red Cedar thrown in for color. The rough-sawn planks are air dried, inspected for quality and stored onsite before being milled into planks, rail strips, blocking, and more. Our wood comes from sustainable forestry professionals, which means there will be plenty of wood for our boards in the future.
One of the great benefits of using local cedar is that we’re supporting small, family-owned sawmills right here in Maine. Grain Surfboards consume only about a third of the wood used in a chambered surfboard. Whenever possible, leftover portions are used to make hand planes, skateboards, and any other useful things we can think of!
Wood is a wonderfully simple material - it grows without urging, bountifully replenishing itself in due time to be harvested and worked into inspiring shapes by the simplest of tools. Yet the particular strength, flex and beauty of this basic material is so intricate that it can't be replicated in a lab or factory. Simple, natural and sustainable, yet with hidden complexity... we like that.
At Grain, we've coupled carefully chosen materials with traditional boatbuilding techniques, and some advanced technologies to create the smoothest riding boards we can. Four layers of 3D CAD technology, and CNC precision allow us to create and re-create successful boards that are thoughtfully designed in every detail before they get to the shaping bay..
Our shop is a hive of engagement and productivity where our team bounds into work each day, and our students and visitors leave scented with cedar and stoke. It's a dynamic place where we match our ideals to our practices day in and day out, aspirants both to the wisest use of resources and the fun-est way of life.
Our 360 Board Room is the place to start. Examine the details of each stick in our line... any pages that show a "You Build It" section can be built by you - with us in a workshop, or in your basement, your garage, or even your living room (it's been done!) If you have questions about whether a particular model is right for you, just give us a call or drop a line - we can help you make your pick.
Your planks are pre-selected by our crew who imagine owning the board they're preparing for you... the planks are mixed, matched and re-mixed 'til the resulting grain patterns in your bottom and top panels are a sweet blend of organic awesomeness. Planks in HomeGrown Kits come numbered and marked so you can line them up just as they looked in our shop. Glue 'em up, cut the rough outline of your board-to-be and get excited.
Slide the tech-ed up frame together, and enjoy the snug fit of the notches slipping together as the shape of the board starts to be apparent in real-life triple dimensions. Goop it up and carefully align it onto the bottom planks supported by a "rocker table" you've prepared (optionally available as a kit). Clamp it down and come on back the next day - it's starting to feel like a board!
Like an old-school boat-builder, fit to the rails our specially designed and machined "rail-strips" one-by-one, flexing and fitting them in a process that's straight-forward, but will leave you feeling like a seasoned woodworker. Once the glue has set, clean things up to reveal the graceful curves of a perfectly foiled rail. The board's shape is locked in now, and you can sense the way water and spray will curl around the board during one of your perfect cutbacks.
Say goodbye to the innards of your board - it's time to close it up with a panel of planks. After this, almost all the volume in your new board will be just the same clean air we breathe rather than a mix of noxious chemicals. Installing the top closes the loop on the "skin" of the board - it's most active structural member. In the water, fibers and grain of a mere quarter-inch of wood will tense and compress imperceptibly to provide a miracle of dynamic, organic engineering we don't fully understand, but totally geek out on.
Your board still looks a little rough - trim back the top-planks that are jutting out over the rail and get your zen on to make the last careful adjustments to the rails. Maybe cap the tail with just the right tail-block that you'll be pointing out to everyone. As you finish up your board, you wont be able to take your hands off it. It's OK though - just enjoy the smell of cedar and the rightness of the world.
Time to seal the deal: pouring that first cup of organic resin onto the lily-white fiberglass you've draped over your creation will literally make you gasp as the soft grain in the cedar pops out in shades and patterns you didn't know were there. This is the reward for all your hard work. A few days later, the glassing and sanding are all done and the board is pretty much wave-ready. Hard to believe you did it, but you did.
If you've gotten some glass-ons from us, they are fully excellent - we mostly get them from seasoned craftsmen that foil each one for us. Otherwise, you've made your selection from your worthy local surf shop or found them online. In any case, fitting them to the board is the last step and marks the time where you start wondering why you're not already surfing this beauty.
The sense of accomplishment you get from crafting a thing of beauty is universally, absolutely satisfying. But to craft a beautiful thing that sails across the face of gorgeous slabs, speeds you through exhilarating turns, and draws admiration from those who've simply purchased their boards is unmatched. You'll call us to complain that you can't get across the beach to the water without being stopped. But you'll always answer when asked where you got the amazing board: "I made it".
The way we build wood boards makes them feel different in the water than the typical boards you've surfed. For one thing, our boards carry a little more weight than a standard foam board, and that weight translates to speed. They carry through the flats and can use parts of the wave where light, corky boards just die. Over glassy walls, that speed helps make you feel like you're on a board that's more responsive and lively than you're used to, but on a choppy day, your ride will be smoother and you'll feel more control. Don't hang 'em on a wall - they're designed for use, should last a lifetime and will look and perform as well in ten years as they do the day you first paddle out on them. If you want to enjoy a whole new surfing experience, try a wood board. Or better yet, a wood board you've built yourself.
"Both my son and I had a great four days doing something every surfer should do at least once – shape their own board!! My son’s comment was this was the coolest thing he has done – high praise." -Jon
"Just wanted to say the mini-gun is working great. Have taken it out on some solid days on the North Shore. Had my wave of the winter on it at Jocko's a month ago…and also my wipeout of the winter. Couldn't be happier with it." -Tom
"I always thought that my enjoyment would come more from the knowledge that I made it rather than from it's performance... dunno why. So great to find out it's one of the best boards I have ever owned. Walking back up the beach and getting compliments on the board just makes it that much better." -Brent
"Thanks for your advice back in the fall when I started my Pandan kit. I just finished polishing. Building the board was a fantastic experience. All I need now are some waves." -Dan
"Hey, I think I have told you this before, but you guys rule. You are teaching people to craft things, to be patient, to love the process." -Bobby
"Inside their shop my board took shape while outside the leaves went from green to red and yellow. I occasionally surfed and constantly devoured lobster and pie while I hung out with the sharp-witted and most welcoming artisans that make up the Grain gang." -Joe
"Here on Kauai, north swells have backed off and the longboards are coming out. My ten feet of hollow cedar sweetness came off the living room wall 2 days ago. I'm just writing to say what an unreal session I had. The speed. The feel. The lively spring as the buoyancy reacts in double to my push. I came out of the water one happy guy and I thought I'd pass that along." -Forrest