Glassers: Best lighting ?

For all the talented glassers out there: It’s obvious that the best lighting for shaping is not the best for glassing.

I think I have a good glass job, then later I find bubbles where I swear there were none before. My conclusion is that I didn’t see them because the light was wrong. And I have been reluctant to use 500 watt construction lights during glassing because of the radiant heat they throw onto the board, causing orange-peeling.

What’s the best type of light? Natural? Incadescent? Flourescent?

Where to place the bulbs? Overhead? To the side? Front and back?

Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Doug

Howzit Doug, I use 2 dbl 4ft Flourecents over head but having a flourecent underneath the board would help. Another thing is to listen as you squeegee for a crackleing sound which is the air being forced out of the lamination. I freind showed me his new board and thedeck was ful of air due to the fact the glasser didn't smooth out the first layer of glass which in turn caused the glass to wrinkle under the top layer when lamming the board. I always use an old squeegee to smooth out the glass before laying out the top layer of glass. Aloha,Kokua

Kokua, Thanks. I was hoping you’d shed some light…no I didn’t mean that. I’m glad you responded. I’ll be moving to new digs in two weeks, so I’ll have the opportunity to make a shaping bay and a glassing area the way I want them to be.

Can’t wait. Here’s to no more bubbles. Doug


When we first built our new glassing room we set up the lights all over the place (see attached diagram). They were all 4 ft double bulbed flourescent lights. Each one had its own light switch and each one had brackets on them to adjust where you wanted the lights to point. After about a year now, through trial and error we have found out the following information:

Lights “A” are pretty much useless for glassing. The light from them are so diluted (12 ft ceilings) by the time it reaches the board you don’t have enough to distinguish problem areas. Also they seem to give bad reflections that get the way of seeing the bubbles.

Lights “C” were originally put low to be turned on when we are flipping the laps and to finish the bottom. These were also on brackets for adjustment. We found out that when you had them on they basically blinded you when you were looking underneath or they threw shadows that would make it hard to see any bubbles or dry spots. Eventually we removed these lights because we determined them useless and they just go in the way.

Lights “B” were the ticket. They are not low like shaping lights they are set much higher and at an angle that seems to be at just the right angle to see all the bubbles.

We do switch from the side lights to the top lights occasionally justs to see if we can see any other bubbles. Getting right over the board and looking straight down helps to locate that stray bubble or two (or a few hundred). I also agree with Kokua after you have glassing a few hundred boards you hear and feel the bubbles coming out. The last tip is to keep going back and forth across the board with the squeegee (firmly) working the resin into the cloth and “popping” the bubbles out. With the last few passes lighten your pressure and work a nice glaze finish on the board.

Hope this helps Doug,


a friend of mine discovered this nifty little trick…

…after he’s done laminating, he shuts off the fluorescent lights and turns on one regular light from a desk lamp that he has positioned about 6-7 feet in the air pointing downward at the board from nose to tail. when he does this, all the air bubbles jump right out at him.

Okay I was already yelled at by Austin for using the word glaze. You use a final light pressure to make sure your resin fills in your weave but you shouldn’t leave too much resin. The cloth should still have a texture feel to it, not a slick look.


It seems like the best position is somewhere around head high and back from the board. Thanks for the input guys. I appreciate your generousity. That illustration is great. I just printed it out for reference. Thanks again! Doug

6 nonsynchronized strobes on a helmet I wear while glassing.

Seriously, if you want to be able to see INTO the lamination to spock the air, use a single, kinda dim flourescent low over and parallel to the board. If it’s low enough and not too bright, you won’t get any reflection and will be able to see below the surface, which can be handy at times.


What’s the best type of light? Natural? Incadescent? Flourescent?

Where to place the bulbs? Overhead? To the side? Front and back?

side lights for shaping lets you see shadows created by uneven surfaces… (or things we shouldn’t see) you don’t need side lights for laminating. overhead is the gig…fluros positioned lengthwise to suit the shape. and…turn the radio down (or off) when you do it …and listen for the air cause you will hear it pop when you get it and not, when you don’t

Howzit bammbamm, My overhead lights are about 2 feet above the lam racks which makes finding any air easy.Aloha,Kokua

Of course after a point, you don’t need to see much anyway. You can tell by feel when it’s all wetted out. :wink: I really don’t pay much attention to lighting anymore.