Made by Hand
Made by Hand
A Custom System of Production
This chapter focuses on surfboard making by hand, drawing on the legacies of earlier craftsmen in workshops in Hawaiʻi, California, and Australia. Hand making surfboards today is an artisanal system of custom production that takes advantage of contemporary design innovations. However, hand-based surfboard manufacturing also relies on tools, knowledge, and practices similar to those that emerged in the 1950s—and which before that were part of ancient Hawaiian methods. The chapter first provides an overview of two basic labor specializations in the current hand-based production system: shaping and sealing. It then considers the features of custom design and goes on to discuss the informal and unstructured nature of the careers of shapers and glassers engaged in surfboard making by hand. It also examines how surfboard makers meet local demand for customized boards suited to local waves and concludes by assessing the economics of hand making surfboards.
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