First Board build. The Ugly Child

First off I'd like to thank all the people here who have shared their knowledge and know-how to inspire beginners like myself.

Anyways this starts off like many other stories. I'm always the friend that has to do ding repair on allll the boards my friends ride. Eventually leading to the idea of shaping.

After perusing swaylocks many more hours than healthy I decided to make an allrounder board because I didn't really have one.

Tools used (forced to be on very strict budget due to parent skepticism) :

- 50,80,120,220,320 grit sand paper, wrapped over various small blocks of wood. $15

- Electric belt sander. A.K.A. the blank eater. - borrowed dad's


-5 buck handplane for nose; If this board is halfway decent I will be picking up a used clark modified power planer (fingers crossed)

-saw and dust mask. The respirator with p100/VOC filters is coming with my resin

-cardboard for template

-probably forgetting something. Will update later


Started with a U.S. blanks 6'0P Red density - I am very athletic and only 5'9 145lbs, I don't need too much foam

I templated using the cardboard sheets my dad has in his warehouse which was not very effective but I had a shape down. Learning curve begins now.

-Notes: the rails on the deck side aren't finished which probably makes the outline look a little funky. The left side of the nose is narrower in the first six inches. The bottom is a pain in the ass to get flat to start on bottom contours. An accutate planer is a must have, I had to rely on eyeballing it which will lead to an interesting ride for sure.

-Questions:The left side of the nose is narrower in the first six inches, I will try to rectify but any opinions on how badly this will affect it? And does anyone have any tips as how to create a flat bottom without a power planer? Would It be adviseable to keep the pretty low tailer rocker (1.5" at end and like half inch to three quarterish" a foot in) for the sloppy small waves we get in the gulf? I think of some more later.

Thanks for looking and critique welcomed!

Aftermath of day one and day two:





For getting flat bottoms I like to keep a 24"  2x4 (knot free that has been run through a thickness planer) with sandpaper adhesived to it for the full length and width,60 grit on one side 120 grit on the other.

since i just recently finished my first surfboard ill let you know what I did, whether or not its the best way idk but the board came out great. My only tools were a $20 power planer from harbor freight tools, 60 grit sand paper on various blocks, $3 small hand plane and an orbital sander with finer sand paper. I did pretty much all the serious shaping with the planer and it really wasnt so hard. I did the bottom contours in a series of step cuts. Like 4 passes at the stringer, 3 on both sides of the initial cut out towards the rails, then 2, then 1 and just smoothed out the edges with sand paper. If you dont have a power planer you could pretty much do the same thing for the bottom with a sanding block, it would just take longer. As for the nose i think the ony thing that will noticeably affect is the look. That part of the rail and the board for that matter really isnt even  in the water much to affect anything.

oh, yea I was gonna say the same thing about the 24" sanding block to get the bottom flat before contours. If doing it by hand you will need the hand plane for the stringer. If there is a harbor freight near you id advise getting the $20 planer. I did pretty much all the shaping in less than a hour with it. It would have taken much longer with just sanding blocks

I am definately looking into a power planer. The hand plane I have barely cuts the stringer so I may have to work with that. How did you get a full width sandpaper? The longest I could find was 18"

I didnt use full width paper. I used a bunch of 4" sand paper from the orbital where the one side is sticky. You need a fresh blade in the planer and try holding the blade 45 degrees to the stringer instead of 90…like if this line    |   is the stringer, hold the blade like that   /   or like that     \   instead of    __   . I found that cut smoother and was easier on the top at the nose rocker.I couldnt really get the hand plane to cut the foam cleanly any way i did it. The modified planer you were talking about seems like a little overkill unless you are interested in starting a business. From what I understand the only difference is you can adjust the cutting depth while it is planing and the carbide/toothed blade leaves a smoother cut. That blade would definitely help but is super expensive. If you get the planer, set the cutting depth really small like a 1/16 and get used to how it works before using it on your blank.

Well I can get the modified one pretty cheap. like 75 I think he said. But I'll look into the one you got. I'm kinda counfused about what you said with the angles though? Are you talking about the hand planer? 'Cause mine has a  set angle.

Keep going - it looks like you’re doing pretty good so far.  That board will definitely surf.  

Thanks. Tommorow I order my resin and glass so i shall put the finishing touches on it


yeah i am talking about the hand plane. I didnt mean adjust the blade, just adjust the way you are holding it. The angle i was talking about is the cutting edge of the blade to the stringer. Hold the planer at an angle and push it forward with the grain, not against it

oh and i forgot to say good job! lol looks good so far

Hm ill try that where the stringer is too high. and thanks lol. i was nervous i would get grilled


yeah thats all i really used it for. i really had no idea if what i was doing would work but i just watched ALOT of videos of people shaping blanks and tried to copy them. I figured I could at least make it look like a surfboard, and then there wasnt really a way it wouldnt work, as long as it floats lol

lol if it dont surf well, can always skurf with it

yeah i thought of that and making it a table if it really sucked haha

Hi gulfcoasted,

Like what you've done so far! Excellent work for your first time at shaping. All I can suggest with your difference in nose dimensions is mark out a template off the narrower side of the blank & take the wider side down to match (coz obviously you can't put foam back on the narrow side) My advice re: electric planers is hit mum & dad up for $50 bucks & buy a Wolf brand 3 blade planer (thats right 3 blades not 2) cuts smoother & faster & is easily modified to fit an extraction system (which you can make out of mums vacuum cleaner, lol) & the blades are double sided carbon so you can mow a lot of foam blanks before they need replacing & the whole thing is cheap. I'm Australian but live in England & I paid £39 pounds for mine online including shipping (about $50 to $55 US) so once its crapped out it'll go in the skip/dumpster & I'll just buy another one. Re: your question on getting the bottom flat. I use a 2 foot long Stanley aluminium spirit level across the width of the blank & a 8 foot long length of aluminium box section which I acquired from an aluminium window manufacturer for the rocker or length of the blank. Then its just a matter of constant checking as you go regardless of whether your planing or sanding. To get a truly flat tail I have made a 24" wide sanding block from 1.5" x 4" hardwood (oak) I then glued some dense 1/4" black foam rubber (mouse pad rubber actually) to the bottom & I use sandpaper or sanding mesh which comes on a roll so I can cut 24" long & I can sand the whole length of the blank & the full width of the blank at the same time. Worth the time & effort to make one. I find it invaluable as we such crappy surf in the UK most of the time I like to have single to double concaves into a dead flat tail in all? most of my boards to help float thru the slop.

Re; your templates. Scrap the cardboard idea. Its a must to get your plan shape/outline accurate. Go down to your local hardare/building supplies warehouse & see if you can get a sheet or 2 of 1/8" or 3mm thick board or plywoood for no cost. They often use it as packaging/protection covers for fancy timber sheets or doors which need to be shipped undamaged & often once the stuff is unpacked they just put those protection packaging sheets in the skip/dumpster. If you ask nice you'll probably get.

Have fun mate!




Thanks for all the advice!

As for the planer I've been looking but have yet to find an american seller. Will keep searching though. As for the nose I will probably justeven up the opposite side with a block of rougher paper. Definately looking into a 20" wide sanding method. We get windswell only here so slop is the best we recieve.

Definately looking into a better template material. Thanks again!


Known as a “Chinese torture board” in some circles. I make mine with two handles and use black floor sanding paper, which does not clog easily and cuts very well.


And, that “Ugly Child” board looks much better than many first efforts I’ve seen.