Getting the stringer down....

After shaping my board, no matter what, the stringer always seems to be just a liiiiiiiiiitle above the foam, I mean like 1/16" tops. I then grab my little finger plane and take it down lightly, but that always gives me some minor “rips” in the foam down the stringer line…So then I sand the foam al ittle more, and well, you get the idea…What do you guys do to get the stringer nice and flush with the foam as a final step before laminating?

I use the small japanese block plane.

there are lots of tricks in the archives for this one, ranging from tape over the foam to to cabinet scrapers to rounded planer blades. Patience and very sharp tools always help, though. The stringer should be flush when you are done (1/16th high is a lot…).


Like J.Troy, I use a 3" block plane, about $12. It also can be used instead of a power planer to skin the blank (go across the stringer), dig out concaves, and thin out the nose from the deck.

And it fits in your pocket when you need to guest shape at the local surfshop.

Sharp blades like Keith said. I like using those little Stanley hobby planes you get at Lowe’s/Home Depot. The Japanese block planes are really nice if you have a little extra cash to spend. When you’re ready to finish the board, moving to 100 grit and up, use the sharp, small hobby plane along with the sand paper until you have your desired finish. One of the tricks is making sure you’re going with the grain of the wood. If you don’t, things can get ugly.

Sharp blade is key. Also, try holding the plane at 45 degrees while moving forward. Helps overcome grain direction problems and helps in the increased rocker areas.


i just use a super sharp spoke shave ad small stanely planes. Austin S

I use a small spoke plane with it shape to the width of the stringer I’m cutting, so it only cuts the stringer not the foam. Like everyone has said it needs to be very sharp.

I like the longer and heavier 6’’ block plane - it seems to glide over the board better and slice the stringer super close and very thin when finishing without tearing the foam and without hanging up on the high spots; it also will miss the low spots and catch the high spots better than the small one. Just the result of its longer base and larger mass. I use the little one everyone else likes just for the curved nose area. On top of it being sharp, you have to tune it in to cut just the right depth for finish work - that takes some playing around with. Everyone has a slightly different style.

If you do gouge around the stringer, a drywall fine grit sponge can help take those out while not letting the stringer poke up too high after you are done. Sometimes, you just have to live with a little tearing around the stringer or a less than flush stringer/foam area and go ahead and glass the bugga and get to the next one!