Flip Tip Noses on Shortboards

Would anyone be so kind as to provide some pointers on getting a smooth and quick flipped up type nose (deck side) on a shortboard?  Mine always seem to come out real flat and or beaky... This happens even when I buy blanks with 5+ inches of nose rocker... More spokeshaving needed maybe?





I’ve split the stringer twice trying to go perpendicular with the planer, so I don’t do that any more. My bad technique, a dull planer blade, a crappy planer… whatever reason, I won’t even attempt it again.

I get the planer up in there as far as I can, then go like an animal with the surform (PU) or use the sander with a hard pad (EPS) to rough out the foil I want, then hard block with 36 grit to get it flat, then 60 grit to make it somewhat smooth, then the mini block plane run on an angle as far as I can get it to go, then do the rest with the spokeshave.

So I guess my answer to your question is… go more with the surform and spokeshave. Be careful with the surform. But then again, always be careful.

hi nj it takes me about 5 minutes or so sanded and stringer planed. i hear you on the tearout, been through it all thats why i went to a disk sander surform etc… its not the planer likely if its sharp. my planer is very cheap planer. the trick is to not set depth not to deep and go SLOWLY across the stringer. i put the breaks on when i approach the stringer and crawl over the stringer. i work from the nose down and make rice paddy stlye terraces . i dont get tearout anymore or if it does its very minimal

are you talking about changing the nose rocker or foiling the deck on the nose side?


i use one of these on the deckside to get the stringer close to final shape then go to the sanding block and spoke shave... per the advice of a few shapers with tons of experience, i am going to try using a sander and pad on the next go around

i use the planer going across and it steps down from the nose. the run an angled block plane

sander pad no good. did the sander thing for ages. the best way is a planer

As you can see from the responses, there's several ways to do this. The first step should always be looking at your blank's nose in profile to visualize where you're going to remove material (and where you're not). The deckside is of course the hardest and the focus of prior responses - the bottom can be blocked to a nice curve readily.

Back in my PU days I used a 36 grit hard disc on a Milwaukee 2800 rpm machine, but I don't advise that for everyone. A lot of the younger shapers I know use small angle grinders with the smaller (like 3''-4'') hard disc. The good thing about using a hard disc is that, if used properly, it cuts a very clean curve and leaves the stringer very flush. You should start close to tip and take a ''pass'' back, pressure and rpms control depth of cut. Generally you're taking more out in middle of pass. Check profile, repeat passes as needed.

A curved base stringer plane is required to finish if the stringer comes up proud. Turning normal block planes almost sideways works to some extent, if you don't have a curved plane.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is newer guys concentrating on the last 6 to 8 inches. You need to start pulling foam out a little further back so you avoid that Kink in the profile.




Would anyone be so kind as to provide some pointers on getting a smooth and quick flipped up type nose (deck side) on a shortboard?  Mine always seem to come out real flat and or beaky... This happens even when I buy blanks with 5+ inches of nose rocker... More spokeshaving needed maybe?





I've found to establish a pattern of steps has helped make things faster and more accurate.  I've tried a few different ways of getting that nice clean flip but the hard disk has been the fastest and easiest for me.  It is scary at first but once you get used to the tool it is pretty fast and accurate. 

Aside from the templating, removing most of the foam from the bottom and bottom shape first.  Mine are to hit my rocker numbers on the bottom first.  Cut the deck down to an 1/8" high of my finished thickness.  Cut my rail bands as close as I can to my finised rail shape.  Blend the rail bands into the nose area that the planer can't reach with a hard block and 36 grit.  Then feather the stringer and the surrounding foam with a 36 grit hard pad on a sander set to slow 600-800 rpms. 

I try to match a clean curve from the nose tip to the 1/8" high deck stringer with the disk.  The hard part is to keep from getting that dreaded dip where the nose stringer meets the flat deck stringer.  The thinner you go in the nose the harder it gets and you always got to check your work as you go.  Once it's roughed in I use the spokeshave to clean up the line into the deck.  I try to get the nose stringer close to the final thickness then plane the deck stringer into the nose.   

Some people like to use a curved sureform in the nose area but I learned to shape on eps so I never learned to use the tool.

Once you get it as close as you can with the carving and grinding tools then it's up to the finer screens, sand papers and pads to blend it all together.

I used to cut my deck stringer very close to the finsihed thickness then try to match the nose stringer into that line.  I've had better luck by leaving it high and doing the nose first.  The electric planer can do a better job than a larger hand plane in getting a clean deck stringer line that is even with the nose line.

I also practiced on the raw blanks with hard disk.  No major foam destruction just some easy practice on the hard deck skin.  Mike's technique is nose to tail, nose to tail, feather, feather.  No back and forth, only one way with a light touch, smooth.


No offense Paul Cannon, there are always more than one way to skin the cat. Different strokes for … What works best for you may not match someone elses’ style. All the methods mentioned here work. Your method suits you but that doesn’t make it definitive. Respectfully, Whatever floats your boat.

no offense taken tblank. i disagree however . , i have done some boards with disk sanders and also surforms. imo they are NOT the go. here are my reasons.

they leave dirty stringer residue on the foam which doesnt suit my tastes

they can very easily drop below the foil line ( as stated by the two people that posted the information)

they are not as contolled as a planer if you slip you can ruin the blank.

they leave the stringer more proud then with a planer ( the foam excavates lower then the wood)

they are heavy and unwieldy

they may suit a guy thats been doing for 30 years or whatever. however i personlly feel that is is generally unsuitable tool to use around surfboards, especially for a beginer.

just like i think airpowerd disk grinder for laps are also unsuitable


so im sticking to my guns. do it how you like

and the guys posting the advice are obviously skilled and experienced

but accept that i personally think that it is incorrect or unsuitable or however you want to say it

Like NJ-surfer I’ve been scared off putting the planner perpendicular to the blank near the nose because of the tendency to shater the stringer, and if you hit the tip of your nose with the planner it’s finished.  Maybe not the best method either for someone of mediocre power tool abilities?  BUT which ever method, you’ve got to learn somehow.


I like the pad, it’s quick and not so savage, you can blend it into the deck curve well.


Your finishing up with screen and your mini spoke shave so any residue will be removed anyway.

Backyarder warning - After much trial and error and still mostly error, this is how I’m getting it done.


PU Blank w/ply stringer, 4.5" angle grinder with a paddle switch, hard backing pad & 50 grit disk. Rona spoke shave or curved japanese plane. Me.

Practice on scrap blank. Important that the disk is flat/flush with the backing. Thinking ahead and visualizing what I want to end up with - thin & flat … thicker & beaky? Main thing I want the nose to blend with the foil, that’s why wait to do this until after I’ve roughed out the shape but before rail bands. With the disk level to the deck/nose, squeeze trigger & let go. “Feather” in the cut, IOW, place the spinning disk to engage the tip of the stringer at high RPM then the disk slows as I push down the lenght of the cut, at the same time kind of ‘scooping’ the tool along the curve as I go. In the video I also use the grinder to square off the tip. Last, blend the stringer into the deck line with a small spoke shave



Thanks for the video. I was wondering what RPM your grinder is running?

I have two 4.5" grinders and they are both too fast. I tried using a plug in voltage reduction switch, but that just cooks the brushes in the motors.

A grinder with a bottom paddle switch or trigger switch is needed, not the usual kind with an on or off switch on the side. I’m constantly triggering the tool on & off, the disk spins high speed then slows down after I let go of the switch. It’s in the period when the disk is triggered then slowing down to a stop is when you are grinding. You learn to feel the speed as it’s slowing down and when/how long to engage the disk. Don’t know how else to 'splain it

I have a Milwaukee with the paddle switch. I will give it a try on the next one. Thanks.

The little grinders are popular for this job, but I'd still prefer the big disc/tool because it cuts truer. Less chance of a wiggle. But lots of experience helps. Bud did a better job than me of explaining the triggering, etc.

You guys should have seen all the hacking we had to do when flip tips started to get popular (and the blanks all had thick beaked noses). In particular the ''elfshoe'' tips. Current fliptips are mild in comparison. The first blank plug I did for Clark introduced the ''no-beak'' tip, designed for doing contemporary noses.


When the close tolerance Clark blanks were available I had a list of the nose and tail thickness (at one inch) of the blanks I used and would in advance think out the rocker I needed in the blank to get the final foil and rocker I was after. This way I could do all my shaping from the bottom after taking about 1/16" off the deck. Saved me a lot of aggrivation taking foam off the nose and tail of the deck and I got a stronger deck. Really helped me to get a more fluid shape too. There was only one real problem. Half the time Clark sent me the wrong rocker and when I say half the time I’m not exaggerating. Very frustrating when I had no use for some of the blanks I got. Now with fewer blanks to choose from because of the smaller selection available, and many of the blanks being thicker because of the computer cutting I think it’s even harder in some ways. So for me the answer has become 'if you can’t beat 'em, join ‘em’  Now I use the computer, no more hand shaping. Am I taking the easy way (copping) out? Yes, but my boards are better with less frustration. Just one man’s journey.

Awesome replies everybody... Thanks a million... I'm headed to try out some of these techniques now!