Is this true?

Working on a cut lap fish like the board pictured here - clear bottom, navy tint deck. My friend says don’t bother taping off the deck when you laminate the bottom. Just let the laps go free - since they’re clear you only need to worry about taping off the deck/rails when you do the navy tint - defining your lap line on the deck at that time: after you sand down the laps the navy tint will cover up the clear laps.

Is that gospel? Should I skip taping off the deck when I laminate the bottom, just free lap and sand and then tape off the border before I do the tint. Seems kinda like cutting corners to me, but my friend has made way more boards than I have. Doesn’t mean he’s right, but seems like it’s worth asking.



Eh Sonny,

Just speaking for myself and trying to put forth

some sound advice…

It sounds as if you have not started.

Hope so, cuz

again IMHO 1st lam is the bottom.

Me? cut lap (deck side)

Freelap deck (cut correctly and just lap middle to ends).


12/10/2014 join date.

“Are you experienced?”

Cool, yeah?


Study up

#1 cut lap

#2 styrene monomer and protection (nasty stuff).

Go slow…

Looks like that board has a white bottom and a green deck inlay.

If you want to make a board that looks like that with a clear bottom and a navy deck ( navy where that one is green - no navy on the rails)

Lam the bottom clear with a cut lap - then tape off and the do an inlay with your color on the deck - then do clear on the deck and wrap the rails ( this you can free lap)

If not so experienced: Cut-lap everything (clear bottom and tinted deck).

Just leave the free lap for the clear deck layer overlapping everything.

Always start with bottom lam (read it several times, don’t have enought experience to explain what but if people who knows said so, i do so…).

Good luck.


Yeah that’s what my gut tells me: cut lap everything and save free-lap for the final deck cloth.

So you these boards are white pigment and tinted decks as opposed to clear bottom/tint decks?


With respect to the board that’s pictured…

My guess is that those guys started with a tinted deck (cutlap), followed by the heavy opaque white bottom (cutlap).   After that they may or may not have come back with a layer of clear 4oz on the deck, possibly ziplapped to the apex of the rail, as a means of capping the deck-side cutlap.  The no-pinline lapline on the deck requires a very clean technique that most beginning glassers will not be able to pull off. 


If you’re doing your board with a clear bottom you’ll end up with colored rails.  That was actually a thing back in the 1960s and early 1970s before airbrushing came along.   The only 2 ways I can think of to get clear rails and a tinted deck is to either do the deck as an insert (taped off and glassed to the lapline on the deck) and cover it with a clear lam over the deck, or to do a foam stain on the deck (again, to the deck-side lapline) and do a clear lam over that.  Either way, you could use a freelap for the deck lamination.  The bottom lam will be a cutlap, though.   Of the two, the insert (which uses fiberglass) will have the textured look whereas the foam stain will have more depth than an airbrush but less than a tinted lamination.  



I’ve always laminated the bottom first. What would be the advantage to doing the deck tint first in this case?

The colored deck lamination on the board that’s pictured most likely wraps the rails.  Coming back with the opaque bottom lam over the rails enabled them to cover the color on the rails.  

A blank shaped with the thicknesses and foil of a fish isn’t going to bend during glassing so there’s no real downside to glassing the deck first.  You don’t always have to glass the bottom first.  

So you’re saying go ahead and tint the deck first, wrap the laps around to the bottom, then tape off deck lap lines, laminate the bottom opaque and the white opaque will cover the tint. This would also allow for less error in cutting the lap line on the deck (since you would do it just once) and maybe save a pin line.

Cutlap bottom lam and colored deck inlay ( 6 oz cloth)

Free lap clear deck lam to bottom (4 oz cloth)

I’m just another backyard guy so don’t take my word for it.  See if you can elicit a more informed response from the pros.  

But in my opinion the opaque in the bottom lam will have to be really heavy if you want to cover darker colored rails. You might have to come back with an opaque fill coat, too.    I’m guessing that no matter what, you’ll still be able to see right where the cutlap is on the bottom.  If you’re committed to getting the clear or white rails with no trace of a darker lam underneath then you could consider just doing the deck color as an insert or a foam stain and laminate over that in clear to wrap the rails.  

My experience with lower density foam boards, in the 6 to 7 foot range, (thickness range 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches) was that deck first glassing would flatten the rocker.     Err on the side of caution.   Bottom first glassing, with cut lap, then deck glassing with free lap.      If you don’t care if the rocker changes, then glass it any way you want.      Just sayin’.

Not sure if that has a white bottom, it just looked pretty white ( but can still see the stringer) I am looking on a phone and can’t see well. 

Either way, I would not do the top and try to cover a navy blue with white. Once you burn through on your sanding job ( and you will) it’s gonna look like crap.

Do the navy as an inlay or a foam stain. 

If you foam stain you can free lap the whole thing.

I do the bottom as a cutlap, then do a single layer inlay on the top followed by a full wrapping deck lam with either 1 or 2 layers of clear. That gives me either 2 or 3 layers of glass around the rail for strength. With softer EPS foam, I do 2 layers on the bottom first, or one layer with a heavier glass like 8oz.

Watch this video from Fiberglass Hawaii about Jack Reeves doing an inlay.

Love that video:::::makes me a bit squeamish when he just flips the cloth up off the rails onto the bottom and saturates the laps by hand - but i guess he’s glassed one or two boards before.

yeah I would much rather take more time and do the deck as an inlay and keep it clean pristine. No deadline to meet on this one.

Brian from Greenlight is the most rational and systematic approach.  Think about it ;  If you lam the bottom first with a cut lap;  You can do the bottom any way you want.  Tint, opaque, clear.  Makes no differance.  Then when you inlay the tinted deck you will be able to tape off the cut lap .  Lay down the tinted inlay and you will easily determine where to cut because you can feel the bottom cut lap even if you can’t see it.  The lay up a final layer of 4 oz on the deck with a free lap and your logos.  Pinlines if necessary.  Lowel

This is done all the time, I’m sure there is more than one way to get a similar result.  I do as Mattwho said from the beginning, and a lot of others have clarified with additional details, bottom first with a cutlap on the deck rails.

I love colors! There’s more than 1 path to take…

Joseph owns six or seven Stingray surfboards. Most of them fish. Joe hates leash loops. Joe also told me to stop putting the leash plug in the center. The leash wraps around the fish tails or something…he’s a goofy foot.For now on all his boards have the leash plug out on the side. Standing at the back of the board leash plugs go on the left side about center of the fish tail. Rider input. Most of the boards have been retro fitted with new leash plugs. He feels there’s less drag. I bet leash drag matters more than color work…ha ha

Ah, no plug or loop for Joseph’s fish boards.  They surf better with no leash.  Mike