Basic timing of board glassing steps.

Hi – I’ve never built a board before but I’m keen to give it a go. I’ve got my JC 101 DVDs and some guides I’ve printed from the web and I've hunted around Swaylocks and I think I’ve figured out the steps for glassing but I can’t find any advice on timing in any of the resources. So if my steps are:


  1. Laminate base
  2. Sand and clean up overlaps
  3. Laminate deck
  4. Sand and clean up overlaps
  5. Put in fin box
  6. Glass on leash rope
  7. Hot coat base
  8. Hot coat deck
  9. Sand and polish

I’ll only have short periods of time at weekends to get on with things so I was wondering, for instance, if I laminate the base do I need to sand and clean the overlaps up straight away and then laminate the deck same day or could I say leave it a week before cleaning up the overlaps and then laminating the deck.


Or another example – if I hot coat the base do I need to do the deck straight away or could I wait a few days/week. Could I even flip the board over without waiting for the base to dry and go hard.

Could anyone give me an idea of the amount of time I could wait between steps and if there are any steps that could be done days apart or have to be done together or steps where I shouldn’t leave the board for too much time. And if the steps are totally wrong please let me know.

And a second question. This is my first board and I'm not planning any others so I'm wondering do I need an electric planer or can I do everything I need with a sureform? The JC DVD says I could but is it really feasible? I've never even used a sureform or planner and the last thing I sanded was in school 35 years ago so I'm worried it might be quite difficult to use a planer and that a sureform might be safer if a bit slower. I'm aiming to make an 10'6" board with a template based on the 1930's Tom Blake boards so it's going to be quite a big board and I guess a lot of planning from the blank.

Thanks for any help or advice on this or anything you think might help me.


Any help very much appreciated.

steps are fine as they are,  but IMO it would be easier to install the finbox after hotcoat and before sanding.

since it's your first board you should consider UV catalised -polyester for laminating , it'll give all time you need for

a first timer and when exposed to sunlight you can actually lam the other side 10 min's after so it saves you time.

if you don't have UV-poly around you, I suggest you to work with epoxy even thogh it takes longer betwen steps it

will be easier to handle..

if you go for polyester, use UV for laminating and a mix of UV and MEKP for hotcoat since

you wan't the hot coat to gel before you move it anywhere ( i.e to a uv source/ sunlight) .


sureform is the right thing for you and shaping with it is real fun.

it should not take you more than 4 hours to shape a board with a surform...

my first board was 10'2 , used only a sureform and it took me 3.5hours, 2nd board was 6'2 and took half the time.

eps or PU ... your choise but remember that skinning the PU's hard shell with a sureform is not easy and time consuming so

if you choose  PU , go to a shaper that'll skin it for you with his planner.


ohhh , good luck , don't rush it and mostly have fun..


any questions?


Hi Lee. Thanks for that. I'll give the sureform a go and look again at the point to put the fin box in. Do you have any advice on which steps I should do all in one go and which I could do and then wait a week before I get started again?


Wating between steps is not going to hurt anything. Work with the time you have. That’s what backyarding is all bout. It will still be a surfboard when it’s done. Just make sure you keep it somewhere where it will will not be damaged, get dirty, and will not twist or sag… on a rocker table is best. Just don’t lean it against the wall, or put stuff on top of it.

Install your hardware after the hotcoat.

I always recommend getting a planer and using it on your first board, even if you have to borrow one. The surform may be fun to some, but it’s a very innacurate tool, and prone to doing damage if you’re not used to using one. Invest in a planer so you have one for odd jobs, and for foiling and belveling rails. Reserve the surform for smaller tasks. It will make the shaping experience easier, more enjoyable, faster, and more “authentic,” IMO. Good racks, and a planer with good blades are what I consider a bare minimum. A hand saw, a sanding block with hard/soft sides that fits your hand, a surform with a new blade, and finger plane with a new blade are also essential cutting tools for the backyarder going at his first board. Make your own sanding block so it’s the perfect fit for your hand. You’ll have to somehow get ahold of gthe saw, surform, and finger plane. You can do a glass on fin and won’t even need a chisle or router.

If you spend all that money on a blank, cloth, resin, etc., don’t make the mistake of hacking it up with the wrong tools.

i know a kid who hacks blanks to pieces, somehow he sells the worst boards in the world too. God I wish I had photos to post so every one here could laugh their butts of at him. (he is a huge bum who will steal your booze, milk you for rides everywhere since he doesn’t have a license and never give you a cent) And he can’t plead ignorance I had informed him of sways a long time ago but he refuse to use the most valuable free tool for starting shapers everywhere.

this is not to discourage our buddy just starting out. taking your time with the board is most important. don’t skimp on really concentrating and rushing through steps when you don’t have the time to get the board done. I would just suggest if you stretch your build time out over a few weekends, make sure you keep the board clean and remove all the dust and finger prints etc before you hot coat. it is the little things that show up and make a huge difference in how professional a glass job looks.

I'm very much a beginner/hobbyist, so take this from whence it comes, but the planer evens out bumps and dips so much better than the surform.  You can make a board with a breadknife and a cheese grater, but it's so much more difficult to get nice, even lines.  Use a planer if you can.


You don’t have to use a surfboard-specific planer, the ones modified to cut deep and take off large amounts of foam.  A standard low end planer will work okay too; you’ll just have to take your time and make a lot more passes.  For a beginner it might even be the better choice.  You shouldn’t have any problems finding a used one for less than $50.  Chances are that you know someone who owns a planer and will let you borrow it.   

I’ve heard from several folks here that these planers do ok.

You have never made a board before and you are
starting with glassing questions? OH well…
If you have a good shape, no bumps, even rails, thin
nose (harder than you think ) smooth template,
then your steps should be:
#1: decide if poly or epoxy…
#2: decide what type of fin boxes to install
(some are done before glassing, some after bottom
glass, some after hot coat, like longboards)
#3: glass bottom per Sways info (most of it is good)
#4: sand laps/roll (epoxy)
#5: lam deck (don’t forget to screw up the lams)
#6: sand laps, tape off boxes, hot coat bottom
#7: flip, tape & hot coat deck
#8: hand sand rails, power sand deck & bottom
#9: install leash plug/drill thru box hole (longboard)
#10: clean, tape & gloss coat bottom
#11: flip, tape & gloss deck
#12: fine sand, compound, then polish
#13: ride it once, then make another better!!
Stay away from: fancy tints/color, rope leash loops (
until you have glassed a few boards), pin lines, mirror
finish. If you are using poly, you can take years to finish
a board if you keep it clean between steps and hot coat
it within the near future!

Thanks for the advice. I've done sanding - I think.

[img_assist|nid=1047802|title=Seaford99 blank|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=0|height=0]


















In the end I went with a planer - £27 from B&Q. Worked great. I can see how it would be possible with a sureform but I had to start with a SUP blank so I think I'd still be doing it.

I have another question  - if anyone has any advice I'd be really grateful.

The only space I have that's big enough to rack the board and run all around it is the lounge. It's a small house and the lounge doesn't have a ceiling it just opens straight to the upstairs and the bedrooms. The girlfriend is away over New Year so I have a few days to laminate and hot coat the board - I'm guessing it will take me 4 days if I do one side/day. But we have 3 cats and 2 kittens and the kittens are too young to go out yet. There's a door to the back yard but it's winter so I'm guessing I need to keep the door shut to keep everything warm enough.

If I laminate inside am I going to gas myself or the kittens? There will be tears if the girlfriend comes back and finds she's missing a kitten or two.

Any help please?????


If you’re glassing with PE, please forget it: not only will you be gassing yourself and the kittens, cats and what not but the smell will stay inside the house for months.

If you’re using Resin Research, just close all the doors you can, and open up all the windows in the space you’ll be glassing just before you start, and keep them open for a few hours until the resin hardens to the point where you can handle the blank. Get the house nice and warm, first, and be sure your resin is warm as well. Close the animals in a room, and leave that window closed. RR does not smell much at all. I’ve done lots of hotcoats and fin box/plug installs in my house with no detectable smell, headaches, etc. The ventilation I suggest is a standard precaution, particularly with the Additive F. Make sure you’re using the CE resin (blue stuff) with the UV inhibitor.

… cats and wet resin don’t mix.  They won’t die, but you may have some explaining to do ;-) 

Hey Seaford

If you by chance live in or near san diego let me know.  You can bring your blank over, borrow my tools and garage/bay.  I won’t be able to show you how to do it as well as the master crafters on this site but I will be able to show you where I messed up and had success in the building process.  After you build your first board you will have a new found respect for the guys on this site that can acyually do it well and still find the time to reply to even the simplest of questions.  Also, I would recommend keeping notes, things like temp, laminate/catalyst ratios, etc., right from the start.  My glassing skills have improved tremendously because of my notes.  

Cheers, Steve

"....I have another question  - if anyone has any advice I'd be really grateful....."

Don't glass inside the house. Wait until summer and glass outside.

I'm giving you good advice and I know that you won't listen.

What resin are you using?  Polyester inside the house will stink forever and might make a really good explosion. Lots of vapors and fumes and other stuff that should never be inside your house.

I hate cats.

Hi - thanks all for the advice and the offer of some help if I was in San Diego - thanks and oh how I would love to be there, but unfortunately I'm stuck in the freezing cold UK.

The cats are safe - I gave up with the idea of doing the resin stuff in the house - and glad because it's more than a bit messy. I emptied the garage to make room to laminate my board but that leaves me with another problem and a question.

I've laminated, hotcoated in poly and sanded but had to sand a lot of the hotcoat to get everything smooth around the laps.

Problem is I have enough stuff to hotcoat but no gloss and to make room in the garage I had to put an 18' foot ski, 14' paddleboard, 10'6" race mal, two boards and a mountain bike in the lounge. The race mal is across the sofa and the 14' had to go diagonally across the room and the ski is across the room and partway up the stairs. The kittens think it's great that they have a load of new toys but the GF isn't impressed and I don't think I have enough credit points to get me through to when I might be able to get some gloss and find a weekend to put it on.

So could I apply a second hotcoat and then just lightly sand and call it done or do I HAVE TO gloss or seal with something as well? I'm sure it's smooth enough now that I should be able to apply a second thin hotcoat and give it a light sand without even going close to cloth anywhere - so provided it went on without any bubbles or pinholes would it be waterproof???

Most of the advice on Swaylocks seems to be gloss or Future (we don't have that in the UK) but on the Surfersteve website he advises just finishing at hotcoat and not even sanding that - what do people think of that idea (although I can't see how you could avoid having to sand the rails where it's taped off unless it was really thinned out)?





'Gloss' it with another layer of sanding resin.  If you have some styrene or surfacing agent, thin it out a bit with a cap full or two of that.  If you want you can even buff it out after wet sanding.  The only difference is that most gloss resins have a bit of UV protection mixed in.  Your board may turn yellow a little faster.

       Howzit seafood, Since you are going to have some down time between steps the only other advice I have for you is to not let the board get dirt or dust on it between steps, wrap or cover with that plastic that people use for tarps when painting. Aloha,Kokua

Onto board #3. Thanks for advice that got me through the first two.

My first looks nice and surfs pretty horrible, my second - a 6' mini simmons thing with spoon nose - surfs brilliant but looks horrible. I can't believe such an ugly little board can go so well - I'm just sad I didn't spend more time on it.

I thought I'd try a yellow resin tint for my third board and have a couple of questions. Which do people think is easier to do, or would either way be equally difficult:  

1) lam bottom in yellow, cut laps, lam top wrapping and overlapping bottom, cut laps and then lam top again in clear or

2) lam bottom in yellow, cut laps, lam top in yellow as a deck patch just upto but not overlapping the bottom layer and then lam top in clear

And finally - for the last clear top lam should I free lap or cut lap it and should it wrap the rails if I've already wrapped the rail once (#1 above).

Thanks for any help.

Unless you’re doing a swirl or something on the deck, and want a clean border at the lap line without the swirl wrapping around to the bottom along the rails, you don’t need to do #2. That’s more of an inlay technique… and it looks awesome, btw. Otherwise, standard procedure is to lam both layers at the same time, cutting the first layer to the rail apex, and cut lapping the second layer like you did the bottom. A nice, neat cut lap line on the deck and bottom looks good. You can pinline to hide a ragged lap line, but try to get a nice, neat cut and you won’t have to.