Katie and I built a new shaping room/hangout/showroom/studio in downtown Santa Barbara over the past few weeks. Its been in the works for quite some time, but its finally done and today I shaped the first board in my new room, which was full of jitters and adjustments.
The major difference in the new space is the lack of a glassing zone. Its been just shy of 10 years glassing the majority of my own boards, and I've tried to keep up with that as best I can over the past few years; though with all the shaping on the road I've been having my friends down at Jeff Hull's shop in Ventura glass handfuls of my boards here and there to help me keep up between trips. Jeff actually glassed the second board I ever shaped, as I had decided glassing wasn't for me after number 1...then I ate my words and fell in love with it but thats neither here nor there!
The last few years of the travel-shaping thing has taught me a lot about having other folks glass my boards as I don't glass on the road usually - its built a lot of trust in me and shown me a different way to live my life - when I'm on the road, my task is simple, and straightforward, and enjoyable, and still totally exciting. Its shown me that I can let go of the thought that I have to glass all of my own boards to be totally proud of them.
From where I stand these days, in order to keep my sanity and health I have a few options; to either glass all my own boards raise my prices and attempt to quell the amount of orders I've got - or I can keep grinding away seven days a week in my one room shop with a few helping hands when necessary, which hasn't reeeeeally been working for me. I'm not currently as happy and involved in my own life as I'd like to be, so continuing on my current path looks like prolonged over-stressing and eventual burnout in the next year or two. Continuing to glass them all and raising my prices I think would defeat a lot of things that I enjoy about building surfboards - I like being accessible, I like kids in high school saving up to buy a board and coming out to order it, I like people discovering what a v.Bowls will do to their surfing, I like my boards being custom but not "boutique". I think I'd harsh that entire mellow by pricing boards too high, and thats no good.
SO my solution is rather simple, lessen my glassing as much as I can, and let a handful of guys I trust glass the shit out of my boards from here on out.
I still have my glassing space, but my glass work will focus back on experimental ideas and boards where people specifically request that I glass it - which is fine by me, but it'll take a little extra time if thats cool with ya'll.
This is a transition thats been coming for years, and I've tried a million ways to avoid it, but the timing is right, and I've settled with the things I need to in order to shift gears and now I'm excited to do it this way. The guys down in ventura have glassed enough of my boards to know how to do what I like. I stand behind their work and trust them with my boards, and I always like employing good people, so this won't be too hard!
Fun while it lasted, but I'm sure I'll look back and wonder what the F I was doing...
Cause the new spot ain't looking too bad :)