Surfboard Fiberglass Fabric
Fiberglass Surfboard Fabrics are designed with the highest standards of clarity and strength in mind. We carry Hexcel Brand Fiberglass Fabrics because they are consistently the best in strength, clarity, and finish. There are two standard weights of glass used in surfboard construction and they are commonly referred to as 4oz and 6oz, they are actually 3.7oz per square yard and 5.6oz per square yard respectively.
Fiberglass fabrics are woven from yarns of glass filaments. There are two types of glass that are used for Surfboard fabric, E-glass and S-glass. The chemical composition of the glasses are different and yield different properties. E-glass is the most common glass fiber and is produced in huge quantities and is inexpensive. S-glass is produced in smaller quantities and is more expensive but has higher physical strength properties than E-glass. The tensile strength of S-glass is about 50% higher than E-glass and it is 25% stiffer in flex. We have found that using S-glass on the decks of boards reduces heel dings and prolongs the life of the board.
Fiberglass fabrics also have a finish on them, the finish is there to help the resin bond to the glass fabric and to help it wet out completely. Early fiberglass and foam surfboards were built with existing fiberglass boat fabrics, which were finished with a volan finish. The volan finish produces a "coke bottle" green tint. Modern surfboard fabrics use a silane finish which goes absolutely clear. We usually stock volan fabrics but call for availability. The silane finish that we carry is compatible with both polyester and epoxy resins.
Plain weave fabrics are balanced, that means they have the same amount of glass running the length of the fabric as they do across the fabric. Warp fabrics generally take the same amount of total glass but run less across the surfboard and more in the length of the surfboard, so that you can have a stronger board without adding more weight. The 4oz surfboard fabrics weigh the same between plain weave and warp, the 6oz fabric is a full 6oz in warp (as opposed to 5.6oz in plain weave). The 4oz fabrics are equally as easy to use, we've found that the 6oz warp is somewhat more difficult to get the bubbles out of than the plain weave fabric.