First board! advice welcome.

either of your proposed fixes should work fine.

on the other hand I have an 8-4 that has a rounded rail on the bottom side of the nose - it works great!

Ill post a pic for you all to have a laugh

I like to have the nose rails turned up in my boards from mid size and up.
Blend it back to the down rail as soon as you can.

I like to have the nose rails turned up in my boards from mid size and up.
Blend it back to the down rail as soon as you can.

Thanks shark, not sure I understand what “nose rails turned up” means? Sort I have read a lot but still a little mixed up with some terminology.

I am aiming for a 60/40 rail through most of the board. Only hardening up very late in the tail.

Go online and look at some longer boards. The top of the rail has the hard edge and the bottom has the rounder contour. It’s the opposite of a hard down rail.

No offense meant or taken. A mere suggestion. If you ever do Shape a board out of a Blank intended for the purpose of building a surfboard; you’ll be in shock at how much better the whole process goes and most importantly; The finished product. Not every shaper shapes a Blank using the same order, method or tools. But there is a similarity between them all at some point in the process. I keep using the word process, because it is indeed just that; A process. Check out the Ben Aipa video online that Fiberglass Hawaii produced. Same method basically that I myself prefer(with minor deviations). Good long time shapers have no problem cutting the outline first. But, beginners/first-timers; Beware!

Pics as promised for your amusement.

My current board first, then the pulled in nose and tail I was after then a couple of the mishapen nose.

Should I bite the bullet and reshape the nose to get a proper rail or just leave it?

but you gotta start somewhere, good on you for making the effort to build your own board!

The board in the pictures looks a little “clunky” to me, I would say the foil needs work first, more than the rails up front. Kinda hard to get a good read from the photos. And I’m not a pro, just a backyard shaper. The rails up front look like they are unfinished, but I don’t see any need to cut the board down or anything like that.

I see a lot of boards that look like this come out of the shaping bays at the Cal Poly surfboard building class. It looks like the outline was cut and then the rails just rounded off without the requisite banding and blending. Sometimes due to not knowing about rail bands and sometimes impatience. Either way, there’s a ton of info here on rail bands. Check it out.

I would say foil it first, then do the rail bands, before you even think about rounding the edges.

…hello man; please record this on your mind: 1-you SHOULD have a perfect curve on your template/s 2-you SHOULD learn how to develop an “eye” for the curves and lines (and their interaction of course) This last one takes time but as you had it recorded on you, will develop. You do not need any more; the take or skill with the tools would come with more shapes under your belt.

-Really seems that most rookie guys do not spend the time on point 1; It s beyond important.

Regarding your rails: the rails that Sharkcountry is mentioning are the 20/80s rails.
You still CAN resolve those rails good.
Do not complicate yourself and make the other rail the “same” as this other round one then at 18 inches from tail let it with the hard edge and boy for that mushy waves.

Thanks guys. just to be clear the one rail I have done is not finished yet. I cut rail bands with the planer and only started blending at the nose when i cam upon this problem so stopped for some advice, plus it was getting late. The overall foil is better than it looks in the photos lol.

I made a template using the sandpaper wrapped on my existing board and scrubbing foam along it to get a negative template. I will use this to help blend the rails.

It is funny how difficult it is to get a proper outline as reverb is saying. I need to spend a bit more time on this. I was so concerned about getting it symmetrical that i stuck very close to the half plan shape template that i cut out by taking my own board and reducing it a bit.

I can also see the benefit of using a proper blank. I have to say i am now so impressed by people who can foil a blank that has no stringer. I would have had no chance without one.

All that said the lump of foam and strip of pine i have so far has cost nothing and has been a bit of craic for me and my friend. he got a phonecall from his wife the other night asking when he was coming home, I laughed thinking wow under the thumb thinking it was 9.30pm or so. Turns out it was midnight… Enjoying the process.

Yep, that’s it sodabread (what is the significance of that name???) Building surfboards and being in the zone! That’s the appeal for me. As a backyarder, building my own boards, there is no hurry. Whatsoever. I like handshaping, I even like handsanding. I enjoy the process as much or more than the finished product. When people post a build in the works and the comments come in “can’t wait to see it finished” I’m the exact opposite, at least for my own boards, sad to see it end, haha.

You still have a lot of foam to work with. Stop and take a good look at what you have and take a look at the board you show in the first picture.
I see an uneven curve, or a slight bump in the nose outline about a foot back. I think you can smooth that out a little and it will bring the outline in just a little. That will allow you to reshape the rail. The nose seems awfully thick, so you can thin that out and that will affect the rail too. You need the get the thickness sorted out before working on the rails. You could work the bottom a little and get rid of the belly if you don’t want belly. It will add a little nose rocker when you do that.
I work with EPS foam most of the time, So I don’t worry much about the way Poly foam can get softer as you cut deeper into the foam. Here’s how I work.
Once I know the board has the bottom curve I want, I’ll do my best to get it flat and even. You need a good straight edge and good lighting to see if there are problems. If you don’t have a good shaping space with the right lighting, find a place where you can look at the blank with shadows running across the board to see bumps and dips. Mark those then go back and slowly work them out.
When I started shaping, the guy I was getting my boards from said to draw lots of lines on the blank to work off of. I still draw lines to get my rails even. I made a tool to draw lines at 1/2" increments up to 4 inches. I draw a line along the rail from the bottom side at 1/2", 1", 1.5", a line along the bottom at 1/2" and along the top I might draw lines starting at 1" or 2" and do them 1" apart up to 4".
The lines along the rail will help me see the thickness flow or profile. I like a down rail with a tucked edge, so the 1/2" and 1" lines mark where I keep the rail flat. I make a rail band on the bottom about 45 degrees and it goes from the 1/2" mark along the bottom to the 1/2" mark on the rail. Then, depending on how much crowning on the deck I want, I’ll make the top side rail bands leaving the rail flat from 1/2" to 1" until I get the top bands sorted out. When I happy with the deck cuts, I smooth out the deck then I’ll use a sanding screen, or sand paper and round off the flat side on the rail.
Here’s some useful images for making rails. These were posted by Bill Barnfield, a great shaper on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. I also have a simple rail band marking tool from foam off cuts.

Cheers, my default reaction is to leave extra foam as I am a big guy and want the board to float me. A thicker floaty dog is better than a thin sinky dog. haha

The foil near the nose I find difficult. I took measurements off my existing board to roughly copy the thickness at the stringer. On my existing board the thickness at stringer is still significant right up to 8/9’’ from the nose despite it looking quite foiled. I think the deck is slightly doomed and just shaped by an expert rather than an eejit. Some refining to do no doubt. Next time I will certainly be using a single block of foam to avoid the glue line problem. Planing the rail bands was difficult when i got near it.

Its funny how reading about rail bands is very abstract until you actually try and do it then it makes a little more sense. Im still a little confused as to how they should be done at the nose. I felt very wary of going near the nose with the planer. Round 2 over the weekend.

Going to have to get some bloody surfing in too.

Use a sanding block or surform if using the planer is causing problems. I do my bottom cut with a sanding block more than a planer. Look up Fred tool too. Those help some guys, but I don’t use it.

So very stoked with this tread…
I mean you guys just jumped in with extremely valuable information!!!

Back in my day
if you asked to many questions, you got the
“what kid, ya writin’ a book?”

Thank you all and maintain the stoke!

Right, foiled the nose out a bit more to the point that i managed to get the glue line up on top of the deck rather than i the rail. This made it a lot easier.

Rails done, bottom done and now just one or two little chunks to fill before trying the glassing. What is the best thing to use for filling holes? One is about the size of a quarter and about 1/4’’ deep the other is right on the under side of the nose where i bashed it and is similar size but not as deep.

I have some glass microballons that the guy gave me free with the epoxy?

Secondly I’m going to put a single fin box in so is that done after the lam coat? Using epoxy and the foam is PU.


You can use light weight spackle to fill the holes, but it may show if you color your lam. Install the box after the hot coat but before you sand it