Are Special Tools Required?
Fabrication with King StarBoard® is done with standard woodworking table saws, table routers, drills, blades and bits.
A table router with guide pins works best, creating finished edges with a fine polish. Carbide router bits with two to four flutes are recommended because these bits allow chips to clear the cutting interface, thereby preventing gum-up. Spiral fluted bits are excellent for chip removal, but if a vacuum system is used, straight flutes will also give excellent results. With a 1/2" diameter bit, feed rates of 12-16 feet per minute are normal; rates must be slower for material that is- 1/2" or thicker.
Routers with more horsepower are better for cutting thicker material because they don't slow down and drag, causing roughness. Standard RPMs will suffice for 1/2" OD (flute tip to tip) bits, but larger OD bits have higher tip speeds, and RPM adjustments may be necessary. Bits with less than 1/2" OD usually require higher RPMs to cut smoothly, especially on thicker material.
A table saw makes smooth straight cuts, but the finish is never as fine as with a router. To create a crisp edge with a saw, use 1275 RPMs and a good carbide blade that has 50 - 70 teeth. Expect feed rates of 12-16 feet per minute, slower for thicker material. No matter what tooling is used, practice is the best guide for consistent, superior results.
Is it Difficult to Learn How to Fabricate with King StarBoard®?
It takes less time to learn how to work with StarBoard® than it takes for wood. StarBoard® cuts faster and more easily than plywood or teak because it shears instead of tearing and shredding.
Because it is a sheet good, StarBoard® has advantages over wood; for example, doors and their frames can be cut and fit in one easy step; also, gluing and joining are not required when fabricating large pieces like swim platforms, splash-guard transoms, frames, doors, and so forth. There is less waste with StarBoard® because it is equally strong in all directions, because it has uniform color, and because there is no grain.
Fabricators and boat builders can save time and eliminate mistakes by using a CNC router. Once the template is set, every part is perfect. Excellent work can be achieved by skilled craftsmen, but it is hard to match the mistake-free performance of a CNC. One CNC operator will often handle two machines.
Does King StarBoard® Require Finishing?
StarBoard® is manufactured with a beautiful texture on both sides, and therefore requires no finishing. Edges may be smoothed with a 100-150 grit sandpaper wheel, but proper routing usually makes this unnecessary. For a brushed finish, faces may be worked with a wheel; however, a uniform look is difficult to achieve, and the result is appreciated by some, but not by others. Proper feed rates and proper tooling will minimize heating, eliminating the need for coolants. However, some prefer to use cool air or a fine mist so they can work at maximum efficiency.
Almost any boat accessory made with wood or laminants can be made with StarBoard®. It is important to remember: although StarBoard® is very strong it is not a structural material. It is excellent for cabinets, swim platforms and almost any application where it can be properly supported, but it is not load-bearing and may bend under its own weight without a stiffener.
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Working with King Starboard
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