First board - Foam

Hi guys,

So, I decided to try and make a board. I’m an inland surfer (wake) - not sure if we’re welcome here :slight_smile: but thought I’d post to see if I can get some guidance and if nothing else, provide you with some entertainment.

I’m fairly certain I’ve gone about this all wrong. I shopped Greenlight and FoamEZ for a blank but shipping was outrageous. So, proceeded to the closest Home Depot and procured some of the finest insulation foam I could find. Now, from what I’ve read, 2-3lb/cu.ft is the target density for the type of EPS foam surfboards should be shaped out of. The trusty insulation I got my hands on is rated at 13psi. I’m not sure how that converts. ( It gives slightly when squeezing with your hand.

Sooo, my question is, should I continue the project with said material, or try to source a 2-3lb/cu destiny block locally and start over. From what I’ve found, the generic foam shops are about a 45min drive away and I haven’t made any calls yet to see if they carry good foam.

That being said, I’ve already tried my best to shape a board out of it and I’d say it came out at a solid 5-7 out of 10. lol Not bad for my first effort. It came out straighter than I would have liked, but on a mushy wake wave, it might ride ok and the rails are an experiment. It’s 5’2" x 20" and about 2" thick. I learned a few things at the very least. Do you think it’s worth glassing or should I save my glass materials for a new version as it will it just break in half due to the substandard foam?


I always tell people who want to make a board “go for it - only other people have ugly babies”

That said - you got one ugly baby haha.

Not tryin to be harsh, just realistic.

I would skip glassing it (the most costly part) and opt for a proper blank.

While your waiting for it to arrive - glue up another blank with that foam you got and work on making your straight lines straight and your curves clean.

If you did that by hand try to get a hold of a planer. Make long shallow passes. - skip the scrubbing.

Nothing is a failure u leads you refuse to learn something from what you did.

Keep at it.

I like that idea! haha! Thanks. No need to sugar coat it. I scrubbed that one by hand knowing it wouldn’t come out perfect. I’ve got a whole new level of appreciation for the precision involved with shaping a block of foam.

Would this planer do the trick?

Thanks for the advise!

On page 2 of the data sheet, under properties, you will see 1 PCF. Sometimes this runs light like .88 PCF.
I find a true 1.5 PCF EPS to be easier to handle and shape, less spackle, etc.
When you get to glassing, order out for some good surfboard glass and good surfboard epoxy if you cannot source it locally.
The upcharge for better materials foam-glass-resin is worth it. Had I to do it over I would buy a whole board kit from Foamez or Greenlight.
Are you using side lights? Those are also a big boost to the beginner’s shaping game.
I resisted (better materials, side lights) at first but am now singing with the choir.
I am still a hack, but a happier hack…
PS Search for ‘Lakewakes’ here for some small board eye candy

Jrandy, Thanks for the comments! Have you glassed a 1PCF board with any success? Maybe I can use the board above as a practice board. I ordered some glassing products from Greenlight. 4oz e-glass and resin research epoxy. No side lights…good tip, I’ll look it up.

So, I spent the afternoon driving around town and ended up at a packaging specialist warehouse. The guys in there were cool and I think I broke up the monotonous day for them by talking about surfboards. They sent me on my way with enough foam for 2 boards for free! I had them cut it to 4" thick and 5’6" long. The foam is a really sturdy 2lb cu/ft.

So, it’s back to the drawing board for me this weekend. I also grabbed a planer from home depot, so hopefully the next board comes out cleaner. Stay tuned…

Take the above advice and run with it. Yes it was bumpy and lumpy, but you learned from it. You need to somehow establish a point of reference at the center of the Blank to work from. Some guys who do a lot of stringerless boards will have their slab blanks cut and re glued with a colored glue line for reference. Even an uncolored glue line is visible as a point of center line reference. Good thinking on scrounging that foam. You probably made their day. Lowel

Yes, I glassed 4 or 5 boards with 1 PCF ‘home improvement store’ EPS.
Nice score on the heavier foam, let us know what you think.
Which planer did you get? Some of the newer ones are a little tight between the belt guard and the work.
Do you hot wire your rockers?

My brother and I got some of that Insulfoam from Lowes long ago when we started making composite sandwich boards. I thought it was way too soft. Peeling off that plastic it has on it was also a pain. Our Home Depot gets their EPS from a local manufacturer it’s heavier than the Lowes foam, but it’s still only about 1lb. We made some really light boards with 1/8" balsa wood, but we also had issues with the foam melting when we put fin boxes in. I think what will happen is the area where you have the stringer will cause the glass to break because the foam is very soft. It can also cause the foam the flex and then the glass will delaminate under glassed on fins. Happened to us.
We used to make stringerless EPS boards with the HD and Lowes foam. In the early boards, the balsa would be wrapped around the rail for strength. Then we went to perimeter wood rails and the shaping got easier. Shaping through the glue is a nightmare.
I’ve used 2lb EPS, and I would just do 2 and 3 layers of a heavier glass, no wood. I’ve done more than 50 EPS boards with construction grade foam. Most are stringerless.

I have bad internet connection on this little phone, can’t see the pics, and this is still my favorite new thread. It can only get better once i can see the ugly baby pictures hahaha!!! Swaylocks at its finest.

2x 2# blanks for free. that’s awesome.

If you like the shape, glass it. Just use an extra layer of glass. It looks like 1 Lb foam. I make boards out of 2 Lb insulation foam with no stinger. Currently I use on layer 6 oz and one layer 4 oz on top. The bottom one layer of 6 oz. I used use 3 layers of 4 oz.

I did this. Don’t recommend not having something hard on the deck like wood

Thanks for all the reply’s!! All good info. I really appreciate it.

Turns out with the right materials and the right tools, its waaaaaaaaaay easier to get some descent results. Hahaha. Using a planer felt like it was cheating! 4 trash bags full of foam later, I had a shaped board. A hot wire would really simplify this game, maybe next time. So, now that I have a basis of comparison, I have to re-rate the Ugly Baby at about a 3/10. I’d rate the new version a 7 or so maybe an 8.

Planer I got: ( Worked beautifully.

The new one came out great! (imo) It actually resembles a surf board. Its more of an egg shape than the Ugly Baby, and the surfaces are level and even. I blended the rails more and the nose is clean. Overall I’m pretty happy with this one and will be glassing it. I did over sand one side towards the front and removed the curve a little bit, so it’s not perfect. Not having to deal with a stringer simplified things a bit too. Now I hope I don’t mess up the glassing stage. Supplies arrive on Tuesday.

I left a sharp hard rail on the bottom for speed. Will a right angle be a pain to glass? Should I round it slightly?

Also, how smooth should it be prior to glass? Should it be totally free of pits/defects? Final grit I should hit it with prior to glass?

Thanks again for the help/advise/humor and welcoming responses!

Without further a do…I present the Pro-Model. lol :o)

Looks much better, keep at it. You need to build a shaping stand next. It doesn’t need to be complex, just stable. Plenty of info in the archives.

Keep the edges rounded a little for glassing, then afterwards make a tape dam and with resin you can add the hard edge.

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