marking/shaping rails...

hey everyone. i’ve only posted a couple of times, i’m just trying to read up, learn as much as a i can before i jump into my first try at making a board.

ok, i’ve read alot about marking/shaping the rails, and cutting rail bands and such. but i’m still lost on how this is measured on the board. i understand that the rail is marked on the outside of the rail (middle for 50/50, and further down for 60/40?), but how far do you mark on the deck for the bands? or am i just reaaallly off base on this one?

can someone point me to a thread that explains this? or anyone know of a “shaping rails for dummies” type of thread?



how far toward the center the shaping of rail bands goes determines how “pinched out” the rails are. for a more pinched out rail, take it further toward center. for a more full (less pinched out) rail, don’t take it in so far. there was a really good thread a little while ago about pinched out rails…HERE IT IS. also, i believe it was copied over to StickTheory…there’s lots of good info in there, too.

EDIT: found the thread

It’s all there in the archives…

old reference, but easy to follow instructions, along with some templates/plans for some older boards. read it. understand it. follow it. then adapt.

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on a sheet of paper, draw as accurately as you can, your rail cross section before shaping (mostly square)…then draw the desired rail shape inside of first drawing…on a cross section, cuts (rail bands) are straight…if you have any ‘talent’, you’ll easily see how to make your cuts…i normally make two rail bands and then blend the corners…i dont measure much anymore but I do place one dot where my rail apex should be…usually 9/16 or 5/8 for a shortboard rail…it takes some practice to shape rails…dont go crazy worrying about symmetry…everything works…enjoy the ride

Wow some insite has be learned about rails today, Thank you!

This link was key:

thanks alot people!! that thread is great soulstice, thanks for pointing it out. and thanks for the link FlaSkimmer.

i should be picking my foam up next week sometime.

thanks again!


(this forum has got the be the nicest, most helpful bunch of people on the net. i hope one day i can add my experience.)

All these links are great. Especially the Surfboard Design and Construction Pamphlet from '77, its awesome, just wish i would have had it sooner in the board building process for my first board, thanks for that link Great White North.

Unfortunately the links don’t work at my computer, is there another way to find the information?

Here you can see a small example:

if you want i can send you some pics tomorrow.

and here are some good threads about rail-shaping:

I just asked this identical question a few months ago when I did my first board.


The best advice I got was to eyeball it and feel it.  Depending on high thick or thin you want your rails determines where your "marks" would be.  I was lucky enough to have someone invite me down and show me.  Maybe someone will offer that to you.  Rails are hard (for me).  Just visualize what you want and go slow.  Remember that all the bands will have a nice flowing taper and start with the bottom bands.  Go S-L-O-W!  Everything will be fine!

best rail shaping thread of them all in my opinion:

print it up and read it until you've memorized it. i did between #1 and #2. the difference is night and day.

then go attack those rails... stop when it looks like a surfboard.

ignore the "longboard" in the title, this works on all types.

Hi christoph,

Thanks for the links. I would really like to see more pictures. 2 weeks ago I started making my fist board and now I have come to the point of shaping the rails. I made the board out of EPS 200 and did the rocker line with a hotwire and after that I have sawed the outline, so far so good.

But the rails… I really think the pictures are helpful. But I have some questions about is:  In one of the files you send (boxyrails)there are all kinds off measurement made, how do you know what measurements to make for your one board… Or can I use these?
I am making a fish 5’10, thick  (6.3)and
width (55cm) in the center.

I hope you know what I mean! Although it is sometimes difficult to write in a different language than my one.



I made some boards of XPS and now i started also to shape with an EPS core. simillar to you! You can use these template for the rails! If you draw the lines, you will see if its a good setup or not!

I must also wright in an diff...lang...because iam from germany, but i understand all and i think you understand me:)

Here are the pics:

here you can see the lines (boxy rails PDF)! i have just changed the nosepart a little bit, because the nose is really thin





Here you can see a pic after cuting the first bevel


Here you can see the tape for the second cut:

and the bottom rail:


Hope i could help.

P.S. i have shaped the rails wtih my hotwire-cutter:) if you use a good tape its no problem:) and the result is very exactly




Some sort of sequence in the shaping process definitely helps.  Outline, foil, bottom, underside of rails, top side of rails is how I do it.   Having your outline nice and square is an important step. The underside of the rails is sometimes overlooked in the process but is pretty important in developing the final rail shape.  Shape the bottom to the apex then bring the top down to the apex.  If done right the outline doesn't get distorted.