First Shaping machine?

I recall back in the 70's Steve Moret had a jig device that allow him to accurately plan rocker into his boards.  It was a simple jig and rail system that the planer was locked into and you had a fairly accurate rocker in a matter of a few minutes.  I believe this might constitute the first effort at a shaping machine. Of course by today's standard it was very crude and simple. Better blankets with closer tolerances might have put and end to this need for the machine.  This early machine might still be packed away in some corner up at the Bahne/Channing factory on west lake Drive in Encinitas.  I have no idea of what happened to Steve Moret. He was a fine Shaper His boards were always well respected in and around North County San Diego.  Many Bahnes also had a designs by Steve Moret Seagull logo. 

I'm sure some of the shapers that were around at that time would have more information of Steve and his Machine.

Hey Artz, have you seen the film “One California Day?”  There is some old footage of Hobie Alter shaping a balsa.  In the first scene he seems to be using a rocker jig with a rolling router attachment.  It has to be in the 1950’s or early 60’s.  I’m always amazed at the jig- a precursor to the shaping machine- a cutting tool going back and forth along the length of the board.  In the next scene it’s back to the stone age and he’s ripping off a huge chunk of balsa with what looks like a scythe.

Velzy used a rail and router setup for rocker on glued up balsa blanks, in the 1950's.   Bill Bahne used the same kind of setup when he had Challenger in the mid 1960's, cutting foam blanks.    I'm sure others were doing it too.    Those are two that I personally saw.

Thanks Bill Glad you chimed in.  The one That Steve was useing was at the Bahne Factory. 

…the first machine that I know and probably the first, was one used by H Naldinho in the 60s in Brazil

Had a giant kind of drum roll that cut all the surface at once.

Naldinho was one of the best designers and should be in the same place with Greenough, Simmons, Blake, etc


do not be fooled by the famous cocoon

Jim phillips had deck rocker machine at the Phillips factory in Rhode Island. This was around 1968 and I was working for him.

As I recall we glued our own blanks (we may have been using Hansen foam at that time)…Hansen was trying to get into the blank business. Jim’s machine consisted of a rack with rails configured for deck rocker. A carriage on wheels ran up and down and the cutter was a big router. It worked great. Back then extreme “S” rocker was the deal and it was hard to cut in by hand.I think we cut the bottom rocker in by hand but my memory is hazy. The machine may have cut bottoms also. Jim can weigh in on that.

   The phillips factory was a pretty big deal that a whole lot of people didn’t know about.he shipped a LOT of boards.

I see a few vintage Phillips boards down here in Florida. One I recently saw on Craigs was a very nice three stringer with a yellow tint.

 Interesting that the early rocker machines seem to have been around for a long time. Anybody Know of a one that is still somewhat together?

G & S had a shaping machine back in the sixties. I have a photo of it somewhere. I’ll try and find it and post it. I was taking photos for a catalogue and found it in a back room. They weren’t using it at that time and there was a lot of controversy when they had used it.

They would put a plug in one side and a blank in the other side. A feeler whould feel the plug and a router would follow the pattern and cut the blank.



Harold Iggy at Weber used a similar router jig (decks, bottom concaves) in the mid 60’s also. 

   Howzit Pete,My friend Bobby Allen worked for Dewey back then and told me about that rig,I was going to post about it but you beat me to it.Aloha,Kokua

Matt Kechele has one and last I checked he was still using it. That was a few years ago. Pic here:


…I just checked that last pict in the link and seems that you re a bit confused about what we are talking here…

Wasn’t Barland the first guy to use this approach in France, and then evolve it to much more by our sailboard era?


Look again at the photo at the bottom of the page. There is a picture of him using his “rocker machine” which is like all of the others described in this subject. It has rocker profile guides on the side and his planer attaches to a bar that runs across the rocker guides. Then he can consistently plane whatever rocker he wants in a blank.

Shaping Machine

I took this photo in the G&S factory in 1969. The machine had been in use for awhile in the mid sixties and at this point it was sitting in a back room. Not being used.


That looks Like a sophisticated machine for 1969.  Of course in the mid 60's G&S were cranking out a lot of boards.

…man, that s not an old one

we re talking about old ones