1st Time Shaper

ok…ive been reading some of the posts and learning some things…im ready to shape my 1st board…im building a 5’11 egg, single fin…im using eps foam and right now i only have enough 4oz glass for 1 bottom layer and 2 on the deck…im pretty confident in my shaping ability…its just the glassing thats got me a little nervous…any advice will be much appreciated


i’m in almost the same boat as you. i’m about to glass my 1st.

the best advice that i can give you is ARCHIVES. spend a couple-few

hours in there. take notes!

make sure you read the posts by PlusOneShaper

about curing epoxy.

study this http://www.swaylocks.com/resources/detail_page.cgi?ID=1029

there’s much much more from what i’ve read… maybe find out of there

are any Swaylockers in your area that you could come watch.

good luck


I’ll throw a couple things out there and hopefully some others will chime in and add a bit more. You mentioned you are using EPS foam and are a little worried about glassing so I will direct most of my response towards glassing with epoxy, although a lot of the information can be applied to polye/ polyu as well. First of all, as ChrisP said check the archives. ChrisP is very kind for mentioning this. The archives on this site will be your best friend, when in doubt use the search function. Second, preparation is key. Make sure you have everything you’re going to need in an easily accessible spot so you don’t have to go digging with resin on your mitts. Have things accessible that hopefully you’ll never have to use such as eye flush and a fire extinguisher. Always use your PPE. Eye protection, gloves, respirator, dust mask, etc are necessity not accessory. Third, measure twice, cut once. This may sound obvious, but trust me it is quite easier to take more off than add more on. Fourth, as Balsa said relax and go ahead with the project when you have ample time and no foreseeable other obligations. This is very important as a relaxed hand and eye cuts (planner, squeegee, bodi bottle, etc…) straight and true. Fifth, with shaping be careful not to take to much foam off as this is quite a common mistake for beginning shapers. This goes back to the measure twice cut once. You don’t want to get caught chasing mistakes all over the board to even things out and end up with a wavy potato chip. Sixth try and make sure you seal your board whether it is with light weight drywall compound paste (e.g. Spackle) or an epoxy and filler mixture. Seventh, with glassing, error on the side of too much resin than not enough. Mix a little more (not a lot more, just a little) than what is recommended as this is often a suggestion geared more towards the professional glasser. Also watch out for exothermic reaction in the bucket. You will be amazed at how hot a bucket of resin can and will get. Dump a fair amount out on the board down the center and work your way out towards the rails. You also might find it handy having an extra chip brush handy in case you miss some spots on the rails to make sure you get then wet out. A pair of scissors might also be nice for some loose strands hang off the laps as well. You mentioned your using EPS so you will be using epoxy resin at the very least for the lamination. So go slow and take your time (with in reason) and spread the resin out and let it soak in to the cloth. Do not push it in to the cloth. Let it do the work for you. Make sure you pull the excess off/ out and leave yourself with a nice tight a lamination. Work your lamination from the center out towards the rails and work your rail laps from the center down towards the nose and tails. Use some relief cuts towards the ends to get a good tuck at the noise and tail. Watch your laps and cleanup as needed. If you have any excess resin left in the bucket, again watch for exotherm. When in doubt get it to a safe place (concrete slab), dump it out , fill with water, take any precautions neccessary. If the board looks good let it be. Often fidgeting with the board can back fire. That should be enough to give you some pointers and encouragement to get started. Last and certainly not least, if something does go wrong or gets messed up do not be discouraged. It is your first time and it most certainly can be fixed. Learn from your mistakes and keep your head held high. Trust me you’ll never forget the first wave you catch on a board you made with your hands from scratch. Good luck and good swell to you.

Regards, Tony.

Wroboman & ChrisP,

What I found most helpful was watching someone else do it. Being stuck 700 miles from the nearest beach (only 2 more years), the most helpful video I found was the Master Glasser. Mr Brucker (cleanlines here on Sway’s) takes his time and explains things with a beginner audience in mind. The only problem is he describes using Polyester, so epoxy will be a little different. Greg Loehr’s epoxy glassing video is not out yet, I’d like to see it when it does come out, though. I can always learn more.

After seeing Master Glasser, the Epoxy Primer will make more sense, as it describes things in comparison to poly glassing. The Epoxy primer gives somewhat conservative values for how much resin is needed to glass/hotcoat a board, especially if you are beginning. I found that when I started, using what they recommend in resin only (before hardener) worked well. More wasted material, but no panic and no screw-ups.

A good website that also talks a lot about glassing and epoxy in good detail is www.surfersteve.com

Make sure you do your homework, and you’ll find that glassing is just as enjoyable as shaping. You’ll waste some material at first, but it is better than running out and having to mix up more (and the unnecessary panic that ensues).

Hope this helps,


Chris and wrobo,

Before I forget, the best advice I can give is to make a miniature model of a board with some scrap foam (or go to Home Depot and see if you can get a small sheet), and practice sealing and glassing it. I used an offcut from an eps block, crudely ‘shaped’ it, and off I went. No joke, it saved me TONS of headaches. You’ll know what the tools feel like, and have much more confidence in your abilities when it comes time to glass the real board, which took however-many-hours to shape.

Good luck, and post pics of how it goes!


i am by no means an expert, what i do to teach myself is i take older boards that are severly delaminated and strip the old glass off and then reshape it and reglass it i have learned so much about how tools work and glassing boards and of course sanding the boards and fin placement, like someone else said you can always fix any problems, so keep your head up and have fun, if your not having fun then whats the point. i use older boards to cut down on my learning expense, education is not cheap…

so be prepared to except the fact that your first board and from what i can tell your hundredth board are not going to be perfect, but they will be rideable.

peace:have fun:


Hey mate, all the advice given here is great. I glassed my first board a while back and did everything opposite to the advice on this site. I wasnt prepared, had things where I could access them easily which made me panic and get frustrated. I didnt mix enough resin so i ran out half way through the laminating of the deck (didnt account for the two layers of 6 oz). Also, i couldnt get the nose and tail done properly cause i ran out of resin and time and didnt cut them out with a good sharp pair of scissors. As a result i had to grind a lot of stuff off and start again - which meant unsightly patches all over the board. Im hoping that when I get around to sanding the hotcoat

good luck

read the epoxy primer! then…read it again!

aside from that, just remember to breathe. the rest happens on its own.

i completely agree with maxmercy. i was fortunate enough to have seen and help with a glass job before i glassed my first board. it REALLY helped me out alot because i pretty nuch knew how to do it, it was just a matter of doing it. also, make sure you have the right room temperature. i use RR epoxy and one of the first things i did when i got my resin repair a ding. it never cured right, it came out gummy. i found out the hard way that the room temperature was too cold. luckily i didn’t glass a whole board like that. when i glass, i usually start at around 75-80F and turn the heaters down so that it gradually works it’s way down to 70-72F.


I’ve made 3 epoxy/eps boards (first time shaper) & would only add one other thing to watch out for:

After you’re done with the lam, stick around and watch it as it goes off to make sure no bubbles magically appear

When I glassed my boards I did as advised in falling temps. I sealed my 1st two boards with spackle, the last with epoxy + microballons. On both the spackle & epoxy sealed - After doing a fair job on the lam, I looked it over for dry spots or bubbles and then left it for a bit. I came back a while later & noticed a big bubble on the deck. No way I missed it so my “theory” is that my sealing of the blank was sub-standard. I also suspect that as the epoxy went off (it heats up?) it may have heated the blank up & caused some out-gassing thru a pin-hole in my “seal”.

Obviously, my operator error - I probably didn’t seal well and/or sanded off some of the sealant… btw - I did prefer sealing with epoxy & microballons over spackle.

The master glasser dvd is excellent - After watching Roger, I wasn’t as spooked by the whole process.

Good Luck!

Balsa -

“Relax” I think thats the best glassing advise you can give anyone. Just be confident, take your time getting ready, once the resin is mixed work quickly but not too quickly, dont panic. Less haste = more speed.

It’s 90% preperation and 10% action.

I have just glassed the bottom of my 1st board (6ft Fish) with Epoxy RR with 6oz glass and i found it easy (wasn’t EPS btw).

The reason i found it easy was Swaylocks. There is everything you need to know contained within this site; from temps, tips, mixing, ratios, laminating, laps…EVERYTHING :slight_smile:

Read as much as you can, print some stuff out…the read it again. Preperation is the certainly the key.

And as already stated, RELAX :slight_smile: Honestly, i had done a good job with the shaping and feared messing it all up but you’ll do OK.

Now go read, search, read some more…


how does 1 layer 4oz glass 1 layer 7.5oz volan sound on the deck for an old school board? also i have heard different opinions…should i wait til the 1st layer cures completely before i do the second or can i do it when the 1st layer is still a little tacky?

Do both layers at once, just cut the 4oz to mid-rail or so since the 4oz will wet out clear, and the volan will have to be done with a cutlap, since it does not saturate perfectly clear with resin, it has a greenish tint (unless you don’t mind the possible wild freelap line). If this is your first time doing a cutlap, I’d cutlap the bottom first, because then when it is lapped onto the deck, you can cut through it into the foam a little. When doing the deck, you’ll have to be real careful not to cut through the layer(s) of glass on the bottom, with the razor/X-acto at an angle, and it is a little more challenging.

If this is your first time, I’d advise you to stick to free-lapping with silane glass.

Either way, let us know how you do it! You’re already ahead of the curve in doing your research/homework, so you’ll do fine.


There are some good videos on glassing on youtube. Here’s a link to one of them.


Don’t use 7.5oz volan with epoxy, they really dont like each other, getting a clean lap can be a nightmare. If you like the look of volan, just add a few drops of green tint to your resin to give it a coke bottle hue and use 6oz.


Chris and wrobo,

Before I forget, the best advice I can give is to make a miniature model of a board with some scrap foam (or go to Home Depot and see if you can get a small sheet), and practice sealing and glassing it. I used an offcut from an eps block, crudely ‘shaped’ it, and off I went. No joke, it saved me TONS of headaches. You’ll know what the tools feel like, and have much more confidence in your abilities when it comes time to glass the real board, which took however-many-hours to shape.

Good luck, and post pics of how it goes!


This is good advice, I did the same except my offcuts were so big I actually made a board out of em!

From this side shot you can see the two layers of offcut and the glueline. It was a pain to hotwire and shape but you learn alot from things like this.

For this shot I had already hotwired the deck rocker but it came out real bumpy from the wooden rocker guides snagging the hotwire so I hade to smooth it with the surform prior to outlining it. The tape down the middle is the centerline, the tape itself helps to not break off beads when sawing the blank in half along the centerline.

Stringer glue up, it’s a plywood stringer glued up with elmers style wood glue. Good ol’ board rack straps to keep it all nice and tight…

And the final product, beyond my wildest dreams, bumpy and lumpy but very rideable!

my own yellow single fin… LOL!!!

So, yeah start with off cuts, just don’t be surprised when you actually make a surfboard from your experiments!!

im getting some good info and ill keep reading…maybe watch a video or 10…and i thought ding repair was a pain in the ass! but thanks everyone and ill try to keep you all posted on the progress.

ok…so this is what i have so far…the going is slow considering im shaping outside…in PA where its 70 one day and 30 and snowing the next