A passion for water sports and a healthy interest in repairing boards and an enquiring mind on how things are made led to the perfect reason for Charlie Gilman to combine his hobbies and start a surfboarding business in Truro, Cornwall called Cornish Dream Surfboards.
As a heavy rider, Gilman started out building boards for himself, as the availability of suitable equipment was very scarce and he always thought he could build boards that were more suitable to his needs. After a few years, more and more people started taking an interest in the boards Gilman was making and the business soon snowballed.
Alongside conventionally built boards, Gilman also started applying more advanced construction techniques learnt from the windsurfing market to his surfboards and, more recently, to produce a batch of full carbon fibre hydrofoil boards. Typically, a surfboard is made from a polyurethane foam blank, with a wooden central stringer covered in a layer of fiberglass.
Gilman has experimented with vacuum bagging carbon fibre at high pressure over a lightweight eps foam blank core, precisely CNC cut with strategic high density reinforcements in high load areas. The boards have a central carbon fibre stringer and 3K carbon layers top and bottom. This construction creates a stronger, lighter, stiffer final product, and is a structure that isn’t currently widely used in the surfboard market. It allows riders to catch unbroken waves and glide over the top of the water surface using lift from a hydrofoil wing under the water to elevate them up to a metre in the air. In addition, the longevity of these boards is increased, providing a positive impact on the environment, as fewer boards are disposed of after failure.
“As well as hand shaping the boards, I use CAD/CAM software to refine different board models,” said Gilman. “This helps to make small adjustments to a board’s outline and curves far more accurately and quickly than by using hand tools. It also allows effective replication of board sizes and models should a customer’s existing board become damaged, reducing repair time and enabling me to concentrate on other areas of the board building process.”
After watching countless hours of reviews for different sanders it was clear that Mirka was the optimum solution. Combining the Mirka DEROS sander and Abranet abrasives, enables dust-free sanding allowing Gilman to work in a cleaner, tidier environment, which makes the workshop a far more pleasant place to work. The Mirka Handy enhances his work by providing close-up hand sanding, which is also dust-free when it is connected to the Mirka Dust Extractor.
“I can talk to customers and photograph the progress of their boards without the background being full of a mountain of dust,” stated Gilman. “The Mirka products reduce clean up time considerably allowing me to use that time for other things. They also allow me to undergo different stages of board production without cleaning up the working area after each sanding session. Reducing sanding dust in the workshop helps achieve a superior finish without the need for decontaminating the workshop between different aspects of construction. Sanding dust in the air can ruin an otherwise flawless clear glossy finish in seconds. The Mirka Dust Extractor helps dustless sanding and allows me to jump between different jobs without a lengthy clean up period. The Abrane abrasives last longer and leave a far superior finish to any other product that I have used.”