One of the unique aspects of the GEARBOX fin system is the ability to customize the load beam's cover. This customization could be as simple as changing the color to one of the many colors we provide. But the customization can be taken a lot further!

There are two different forms of customization, customizing the cover itself, and custom overlays. Customizing the cover involves changing the upper surface of the cover, or in the case of HEX covers filling in the grooves. For custom overlays, the entire upper surface is covered including the top of the load beam collar's flange. This results in the entire outer perimeter of the box being hidden beneath the overlay.

Information is provided on this page that can inspire anyone to customize covers to suit their own needs. Many examples of these can be seen in our showcase. Let your imagination run!

Custom Covers

One of the unique design features of the GEARBOX system is the cover that fits inside the load beam collar. This covers primary role is to provide an enhanced bonding surface between the box and the bottom lamination on the board. The materials are always selected to help achieve this improved bond.

But the cover also provides a unique customization opportunity as well, it allows a wide variety of different materials to be applied to its upper surface. These can be anything from carbon fiber to wood veneers. This section will perform a simple walk through of the process of making a bamboo veneer cover.

Start

Start with the standard ABS plastic cover, that comes with every box. These covers can be ordered loose so they can be modified. We recommend using GREY covers as this allows them to blend in better with the color of the box. It is also recommended that HEX covers be used, for reasons explained below.

A piece of the material that is going to form the inlay on the cover will also be needed. Here we show a piece of bamboo veneer for this purpose.

START Image
Step 1

The cover is sanded down by the thickness of the veneer so that once installed the cover is still flush with the top edge of the flange. If a HEX cover is used it is easy to gauge the depth, simply sand down until the hex scoring disappears. This depth is common for a lot of different veneers. Hex covers are also a lot easier to sand and it is faster to remove the plastic because of the scoring.

STEP 1 Image
Step 2

Place a piece of veneer face down on some tempered glass. Apply glue (we use SuperGlue) to the upper surface of the cover and place it top down onto the back of the veneer. Place a piece of wood on top of the cover and apply a couple of clamps, clamping the whole assembly to the glass. This ensures that the assembly will be flat. Wipe off any excess glue.

STEP 2 Image
Step 3

Once the glue has set trim away any excess veneer from the outside of the cover. Also cut out the veneer from the interior of the cover to remove excess material. We use scissors on the outside and a box cutter on the inside.

STEP 3 Image
Step 4

Using a sanding block, true up the veneer to the outside of the cover. For the inner shape, use a Dremel tool with a 3/8” sanding drum to sand the veneer flush to the inner shape of the cover. Use a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up any burring on the edges of the veneer.

NOTE: the cover has an 8º slope to the outer and inner edges, be sure to sand at this angle to get the best possible fit in the box.

STEP 4 Image
STEP 5 Image
Finish

Once the cover is finished it should be glued into the box with SuperGlue, this eliminates any problems that might arise if the cover is not laying flat in the collar. It only takes a small amount to glue a cover into the box, four little drops of glue. A small spring clamp on each end and each side will hold it in place. Once installed the resin will lock the cover permanently in place.

Bamboo veneer has a tendency to want to splinter at the edges when being sanded. To make it easier to manage, apply some catalyzed sanding resin to the glass prior to placing the bamboo on it. This will give the bamboo a smooth finish when completed and will help prevent splintering. Sand the upper surface before installing to remove the wax from the resin and improve the bond.

This process can be followed for different types of materials, just let your imagination run with it!

STEP 6 Finish
Cover Glue Dot Placement

This drawing shows the placement of the glue dots on the inner surface of the flange.

Glue Dot Placement

Examples

Custom Overlays

One of the unique design features of the GEARBOX system is the cover that fits inside the load beam collar. This covers primary role is to provide an enhanced bonding surface between the box and the bottom lamination on the board. The materials are always selected to help achieve this improved bond.

But the cover also provides a unique customization opportunity as well, it allows a wide variety of different materials to be applied to its upper surface. These can be anything from carbon fiber to wood veneers.

We have previously shown how the cover can have it's upper surface customized. Another aspect of the design of the system is that thin overlays can also be applied over the top of the cover and the upper edge of the box flange. In this section will perform a simple walk through of the process of making a veneer overlay.

Start

We always start with the standard ABS plastic cover, that comes with every box. These covers can be ordered loose so they can be modified. We also recommend using GREY covers as this allows them to blend in better with the box.

START Image
Step 1

The upper surface of the cover is sanded lightly to remove the shiny surface. After sanding clean off any burrs on the edges, in particular along the outside edge.

STEP 1 Image
Step 2

Place a piece of veneer face down on some tempered glass. Make sure the veneer is large enough to allow the outside to fully cover the perimeter of the box's flange. Apply glue (we use SuperGlue) to the upper surface of the cover and place it top down onto the back of the veneer. Place a piece of wood on top of the cover and apply a couple of clamps, clamping the whole assembly to the glass. Wipe off any excess glue, paying particular attention to the outside perimeter as we don't want any glue on this part of the veneer.

STEP 2 Image
Step 3

Once the glue has dried remove the clamps and trim off the excess veneer on the inside with a box cutter. Use a Dremel tool with a 3/8” sanding drum to sand the veneer flush to the inner shape of the cover. Us a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up any burring on the inner edges of the veneer. Leave any excess veneer on the outside as this will be trimmed off after the next step.

NOTE: the cover has an 8º slope to the outer and inner edges, be sure to sand at this angle to get the best possible fit in the box.

STEP 3 Image
Step 4

Once the cover is finished it should be glued into the box with SuperGlue, this eliminates any problems that might arise if the cover is not laying flat in the collar. It only takes a small amount to glue a cover into the box, four little drops of glue in the ends and sides of the collar. Plus run a bead of glue around the entire outside perimeter of the cover. This will ensure the veneer is glued to the collar's flange.

STEP 4 Image
Step 5

Apply small spring clamps around the perimeter of the flange to clamp the cover and veneer to the box. Leave clamped for a couple of hours.

STEP 5 Image
Finished

Once the glue has cured, remove the clamps and cut off any excess veneer on the outside with a pair of scissors. Next use a sanding block to sand the veneer flush with the outside surface of the flange. NOTE: there is a slight angle to this outside of the flange, try to match this angle when sanding. Try not to sand off too much of the plastic. The goal is to simply flush the veneer to the outside surface of the box.

WARNING: when installing a box that has been overlaid, it is critical that the depth of the router bit be adjusted to accommodate the extra thickness of the overlaid material. As before the goal is to have the finished upper surface of the box be slightly below the upper surface of the blank.

FINISHED Image
Cover Glue Dot Placement

This drawing shows the placement of the glue dots on the inner surface of the flange. For an overlay glue should also be placed all the way around the outside perimeter of the cover so that the overlay is fully glued to the top surface of the flange.

Glue Dot Placement
Custom Overlay - Abalone
Custom Overlay Paua

Need Help?

Get in touch if you have any questions about of our products.

Purchasing

Product can be purchased from one of our two main storefronts.

Offices

We have two primary office locations for GEARBOX and Hanalei Fins, Australia and the USA. Contact info is provided below but the preferred contact method is through the CONTACT form on this site.

GEARBOX AUSTRALIA +61 417 243 592
GEARBOX HAWAII +1 808 639 5303

© 2014 - 2017 GEARBOX Surf All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy