First Board Project

Well, after much plotting, planning and rearranging the shed, I’m about to start building my first board. I waited what seemed like months for the tax cheque to arrive and had spent the whole lot within 45 minutes on resin, glass, tools, fins and a box of four blanks from Midget’s factory in Sydney. I was only going to get two, but it only cost $30 extra to buy four, cos they waive the shipping costs if you fill the box. So now my daughter and nephew are going to reap the benefits of dad’s new obsession.

I’ll post photos as I go and rest assured, I’ll be asking advice at every step of the way. I must have spent over 100 hours trawling through the Swaylock’s archives gathering info on rockers, fin cant, rail curves and concaves and now I think I’m ready to cut into some foam. Here’s the outline of the first board I’m going to try, knocked up on the Aku Shaper software I found on Sway’s. It’s going to be a single fin based on an old 1976 model that I’ve ridden for the past decade or so.

Dims will be:

6’5" x 18 2/5" x 2 3/4" (ish).

Nose rocker - 4 1/2"

Tail rocker - 2 1/2"

Flat bottom the whole way through, both for authenticity and because I think attempting to put a concave or any other fancy additions in is just asking for trouble.

What’s everyone think?


[img_assist|nid=1060944|title=CassS Single Fin|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=280|height=465]OK, so it didn’t work the first time. Here’s the outline and rocker…

Hi Cass, Looks good! If i were to give a couple of bits of advice before you get to the lamination part of your first project. You need to get a feww things really clear and thought through


  1. Make sure your lamination coat goes off slow to give you plenty of time (15 - 20 minutes) to get the laps right on the rails. (i use 1% catalyst when laminating as i have only glassed 3 boards and am still a bit nervouse and clumsey, the temperature here has been 17 - 20 in the shade lately)

  2. make sure you wear surgical style latex gloves all of the time as globs of resin will inevitably end up in most unexpected places and it isn’t the best stuff to get on your hands and thinners such as acetone sting and stink when you are trying to clean yourself (not the best!). Then wear heavy duty chemical gloves when laminating.

  3. Read up on how to sort out the trimmed finished bottom laminate BEFORE you even begin to attempt laminating the deck, this will hopefully reduce the amount of problems you have in the future in terms of sorting out air bubbles and lumps and bumps.

  4. When you are squeegying on the resin and lapping the rails, don’t concern yourself too much about drips and loose strands of cloths dangliong off the setting board (unless it is tugging at the soaked cloth and causing a problem) you can trim them off with a NEW CLEAN stanley blade once the laminate coat has kicked nd started to harden it will cut with the consistancy of a jelly sweet (in my sweet toothed experience!)

  5. Make sure you have everything to hand, i mean everything, because once the ride starts, you can’t get off!


Theres food for thought, no doubt my tips are not everyones idea of ‘streamlined’ but they are lessons that i have learned so far!


nice nice nice brumstar123

  1. for the lamination use UV resin, u’ll have lot of time, more than 30 min.Be systematic (not like me) do half of the board then the other half then the rails. 

  2. for the shaping part - take ur time and do everything very good, remove the stringer at the same level as the foam if not u’ll have some problems for the lamination.

  3. watch all the videos about lamination, shaping etc there are plenty on youtube.

4 when ur laminating the rails first wet (with resin of course) the fiber coat with a brush then start from the middle of the board ando go to the tail or to the nose.

take pictures of ur project and if u have problems ask here there are lots of very good shapers on this forum.

cheers and have fun doing ur project


Flat is fastest! and who doesn’t enjoy speed?

I’ve got the UV additive for glassing, so will go with that. Will just have to find time during a weekend when there isn’t at least one kid hanging off my leg…

Last night I drew up the template on the side of the box the blanks came in and transferred it onto the blank (a 6’6" Kneeboard-Fish model). That took me to 10pm, so will go back tonight and make the first cut. I’ve taken photos but have yet to transfer them onto the computer - will try to get the first ones on tonight.

One thing I could use some advice with - The blank’s a “second”, cheaper because of an aussie-10c-piece-sized bubble/hole 3 inches out from the stringer, about 1/4 down the length of the board from the nose (photos will come eventually). I’ve been told Q-cell and resin will be the best way to fill it in. Do you all think this is the best approach? If no, what are some other options? If yes, when should I do it; before I start shaping or once I have finished shaping, but before laminating?

I thought if I did it before shaping, it would create a hard point that would mess with the planing and sanding and make it harder to get a consistent level around that spot.

OK, so I’ve been promising photos for a few days now, so here come a few…

[img_assist|nid=1061006|title=The next year sorted|desc=Blanks|link=none|align=left|width=297|height=394]
















Four Midget blanks: 6’6" Fish, 6’2" fish, 2 x 5’7" Shortboard

[img_assist|nid=1061007|title=Blank on the racks|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=297|height=393]
















On the racks, ready to measure up.

[img_assist|nid=1061009|title=Cardboard template|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=295|height=390]
















I measured and cut a cardboard template initially, but wasn’t too happy with how uneven the outline was. So I blew up the one in the previous post using Photoshop, printed it out onto five sheets of A3 paper and stuck them together to make a paper one (Swaylock’s tip, thank you). Much better.

[img_assist|nid=1061010|title=Paper template|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=295|height=390]

Oh, and here’s a photo of the hole I was describing before…

[img_assist|nid=1061011|title=Hole|desc=About 1’ from the nose|link=none|align=left|width=397|height=303]

And now to cut…

Shitting myself as I picked up the saw, my hand was shaking so much, I didn’t want to f*%k it up right at the start.

[img_assist|nid=1061021|title=Shape outlined|desc=Note hole next to stringer|link=none|align=left|width=528|height=699]



























Once I’d cut a rough outline I went hard with the surform, then fined it out with the 80-grade paper. Was reasonably happy with the result at the end of the night, although I have a nagging suspicion that I should have gone wider. Is 18 2/5" wide enough for a board of this nature? I’m aiming for something vaguely resembling the classic lines in the Kensurf vs Huckleberry NOT Bolt build threads.

[img_assist|nid=1061016|title=Surform Time|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=639|height=482]


















Here’s what it looked like at the end of the night.

[img_assist|nid=1061017|title=Cleaned up tail|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=623|height=825]































[img_assist|nid=1061019|title=Cleaned up nose|desc=Ignore the chunk next to the stringer, that should clear up in the shaping (hopefully)|link=none|align=left|width=625|height=471]



















[img_assist|nid=1061020|title=Cleaned up - deck|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=625|height=827]

Forgot to include this shot - the fin I’m going to try in the board once it’s complete. I got it through the Australian Fin Co website. It’s the PR7" model.

I’d like to make my own eventually, but this will get me in the water faster…

[img_assist|nid=1061028|title=Green fin|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=557|height=420]


Good stuff mate. Surfblanks blue is nice foam. Is it a little single fin?

A medium single - 6’5"

Ok, made some progress last night. I pulled out the big guns - planer and sander - for the first time and had a crack skinning the deck and working on the foil. I didn’t take any photos of the board after I’d finished with the planer, didn’t think anyone would want to see my amateurish work, but here are a couple of what it looked like after I’d sanded it all back.

[img_assist|nid=1061098|title=Half-foiled tail|desc=Still needs a bit of thinning, but it’s looking good so far|link=none|align=left|width=500|height=375]
















I’m pretty happy with how the shape is evolving, but I still need to work on the foil. I thought I had more to play with, cos the blank was supposed to be 3 1/16" thick and I was aiming for 2 3/4" final thickness. But when I measured it after cleaning up the outline, it was only just under 3" at its thickest point. Will probably end up being about 2 1/2" when finished. In the meantime, have learnt to love my spokeshave. Worked a treat on the stringer and I can’t afford a block plane.

I was going to finish it off last night, but when I came to it, I realised it was 11:45pm and I knew that I’d fuck it up if I tried using a power tool at midnight. Hopefully tonight I’ll get a couple of hours in - might even try to do the rail bands. 

Here are a couple more images, including a rocker shot.


[img_assist|nid=1061099|title=Final outline|desc=Can’t believe it actually looks like my original drawing|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640]



























this is a great thread… Looking forward to your progress.

What are your nose and tail dimensions?

Good stuff, keep the pics coming of your progress!

looks great sofar Cass keep em coming

No more photos just yet. I did manage to get the rail bands planed out and blended using a coarse gauze. But we’ve taken the kids on a trip to the east coast and didn’t bring the camera charger, so all photos will have to wait until we get back to the deep south. 

The surf at Byron has been a slight disappointment. I was hoping for the 4-6 foot, eight-second Lennox Point barrels that I saw rolling through a month ago or so, but will have to settle for 1-2 foot beachies. At least I’m not getting an icecream headache with every duckdive, like what happens back in SA. Nothing quite like the Great Southern Ocean an hour before sunrise in the middle of winter to remind you why you’re alive…

Chrisp - I’ll have to get back to you on the tail/nose measurements. I know it’s about 1’ wide, 1’ up from the tail, but the nose remains to be measured. 

cool thread

keep it comming

boards lookin good

Ice cream head aches are all part of the experience here in the UK! We learn to love em, you can up your tollerance by chugging down a McD’s milkshake everyday! 

Progress Report:

Surf remained small the whole time we were over East, but I managed to get a 2 hour stint in crowded 2-3 foot Broken Head, so it wasn’t a complete loss. I took my 3yo daughter out for her first surfing experience and didn’t exactly cover myself in glory. She panicked as soon as the first whitewash rose above her knee and we only got to catch one wave in, and she screamed the whole way. She’ll learn…

I went out to the shed last night for the first time since getting back and have now put the finishing touches on the shape. Had a bit of a slip-up with the nose. I was trying to round it off carefully with a file, but my hand slipped and I took a relatively large chunk out of the foam next to the stringer. So now it’s going to be a 6’ 4 3/4" instead of a 6’5", but who’s counting?

I blended in all the remaining scratches and rail band edges then hit the whole thing with the 240-grade paper until it was smooth and sleek-ish. Couldn’t take any photos because the digital camera shat itself and only have my wife’s iPhone as a backup. She’d kill me if I got any foam dust in it, but you have to make sacrifices in the name of art. I’ll see what I can do tonight.

Sadly, I spent all my shaping fund on getting set up and now have no budget for artwork, so will have to sell some non-essentials on eBay to scrape together enough for resin pigments and paint. Anyone want an old VHS copy of Reefer Madness? Going cheap! I wonder how much I could get for my mother-in-law’s terrier…

More photos to come.