Surfboards are a beautiful thing; part art, part science and pure fun. It’s these qualities that entice someone to try to shape their own board. Shaping can be an intimidating task for a first timer. What blank should I use? Which tools do I use? How do I use the tools that I have? Where can I shape a surfboard? Luckily Fiberglass Hawaii supplies the tools, materials and knowledge to get you going. On Oahu you can put those tools and knowledge to work at Alex Nguyen’s shop named Dust & Fumes.
Before we get too far into it, these guys do way more than building surfboards. They build custom cars, motorcycles, fabricate parts, woodworking, graphic design, printing and pretty much anything else that can be customized. Don’t worry, we’re going to dive into all of that fun stuff on another blog. For now, we’re just going to focus on the board building aspect.
Since we’ve been supplying blanks, drums of resin, acetone, tints, pigments, cloth and all the glassing goodies for the new shop, Alex invited us over to check it out. Although the shop is not 100% finished it is still very impressive and totally functional. We had a chance to ask him some questions about the surfboard side of his shop and here’s what he had to say.
FGH: What kind of business is Dust & Fumes and how did you come up with the name?
Alex: Dust & Fumes is first, and foremost, a glassing factory. But we have also expanded it to be a lifestyle brand that includes apparel/accessories and fiberglass and resin work for surf, motorcycle, and automotive needs. The name Dust & Fumes originated from my fiancé, who always complained about the dust and smell of the fumes in the factory, from glassing and sanding.
Alex: I worked at a small surf shop and from there, I met the shapers who would sell their boards in the shop. At the time, I was really into trying all types of shapes, but didn’t have the money for lots of different boards. I figured I could learn how to build my own for a little less money, and a couple of shapers and glassers took me under their wing. I found that I really enjoyed the process and kept going from there.
Alex: We can certainly be tight lipped about certain aspects of the building process, because we are always working new techniques. I think that if the regular surfer knows what goes into making a surfboard they will appreciate it more and be understanding when it comes to just how much time, effort, and work goes into their final product.
Alex: I will always feel like a new board builder myself because there are always new techniques and technology that I can keep learning. I will forever be a learner and I’d love to be there for anyone else who would like to learn and better themselves as well. I know what it feels like to pay your dues. In some ways the old style of being so “tight-lipped” and closing off the public to the process hinders the growth of the industry who feeds us and keeps us happy.
FGH: What’s the main focus of the “surf” side of Dust & Fumes?
Alex: We are available for glassing services and specialize in color resin work. We also currently have two shaping rooms that are available for free use and we will glass and finish their shaped boards (for a list of set prices).
Alex: We are currently taking shaping room bookings over the phone (808) 349-4791. They can call us at this number and we can get the relationship going from there.
For more information on Dust & Fumes check out their Instagram @dustandfumes and online at www.dustandfumes.com. You can also see some of Alex’s surfboards on Instagram @ninjasurfboards. If you want to check out all the materials we supply then head on over to www.fiberglasshawaii.com and remember to tag us on your social media projects so we can see what you’re building using #Fiberglasshawaii products.