New Discouraged Shaper/Glasser :(( Kinda depressed

I shaped a fish and seemed to have a real knack for it. Everything went off well and the board was looking REALLY sweet…

Then…disaster struck :frowning:

When I began glassing the bottom of the board, on the first lam, I noticed that on my laps that cloth would harden due to the resin kicking too fast. No problem - as I figured I could just sand those off.

I realized my first board wouldnt be perfect, or even good. I just wanted something that didnt look like T total shit and would go well in the water.

Well…I glassed the top and it has air bubbles all over the place. Huge ones. And dry spots that wouldnt saturate no matter how much I tried. Also, the bottom laps are doing the same thing as the top ones did, with big cloth pieces sticking and hardened up.

Is this board just garbage now? Or can I try and sand these things down before the hot coat? I’m posting this hoping one of you will say “oh dont worry - here is what you do”

I’ve been feeling down about it because I LOVE LOVE shaping boards, and really have a strong desire to eventually get into the field. But this is really discouraging, to say the least.

I know what you mean. I just shaped a pretty good fish but I remember my old high school days in the garage trying to get a good glass job going. Shaping was my forte but glassing was part of the equation too. I never had 100% glassing but thenagain there were no resources for learning it back then. That’s why I’m almost opting to let a real glasser do my fish. But then, I haven’t watch Carper’s Glassing 101 yet. I’ll make a decision after I watch it. I have no idea if your board is salvagable - probably someone in here can give you better advice. My only advice is to - keep going again, and again, and again. Every successful person in any field has had plenty of setbacks and I mean plenty. You just have to regroup and start another one (if this one doesn’t work). As you start another one you’ll get wrapped up in that one and will forget about the first one. In the meantime, do your homework as to not repeat the original problem again. Remember, that hopes breeds eternal. Now. Get me off my soapbox…


Hi Bryan,

This is what I would do. Keep in mind I’m a novice (24 boards). I have had the same thing happen and the board turned out water tight and surfable. Without lookiing at the board, cut, grind, sand, surform, the stuff that hardened too soon and did not bind to the foam(on the rails). Sand and/or cut the dry spots that will not absorb resin. Treat all as ding repairs until all is covered with glass. Hot coat as usual. Try to determine why your lam went off too soon.


No biggie. Almost any mistake is salvageable.

Wait for full cure. Take a sander or palm and sand all the high spots, take a razor and cut out the dry cloth. Be careful NOT to sand into the blank.

When you get everything flush, you can patch in all the non glasses spots. For the rails, you can buy 2" fiberglass “tape” at Marine Supply Stores.

Next time don’t mix so much catalyst. Use close to recommended for sure, but give yourself a cold batch.

If you think it’s tough today, try glassing your first board in 1968. In San Francisco.

Bryan…Did you test a batch of resin for kick time??? I told you what happened to me on my first board. I sanded it all out and it came out OK. Did you glass the bottom or the deck first??? Bottom first then deck…2 layers on the deck. First board is a learning curve thing. Try to not have any of those mistakes come back to you. Do not be discouraged! Call it the ugly duck and keep at it. Good practice for the little problems that come up from time to time. If you have a digital camera, take a picture or two and email 'em to me. I finished shaping one grom board today and will be painting Sunday I hope. I am making you a picture guide but it will be a week at least before I get all the glassing stuff done!

Hang ten…hang tough



Relax. It’s not the end of the world. Let me tell you, the first board I ever made, (also a fish) I decided to glass it outside in the summer. In the middle of the day. My buddy was still using the garage to shape his board and I was amped to move on to the next step. It was a catastrophe. All the resin went off about halfway through the job. I wanted to cry. My whole life was ruined because the stupid resin went off… This was before the days of swaylocks, so I had no support except for a group of very sarcastic friends. So I mixed another pot of resin and finished the job. I’ll just shorten the story (skipping over the part were I sanded the board by hand with a block, which I highly recommend NOT doing) to the part where the board looked like shit but surfed like a dream. One of the best sticks I ever had. I wish I still had that board to this day. (I sold it fund my next project)

Finish the board, no matter how trashed it looks, the experience will be worth the effort. How it looks won’t affect how it rides. I personally would just leave the air bubbles and dry spots alone. It adds character to the board, you can hang it on the wall when you’re finished riding it. It’ll keep you humble when you get a couple thousand more under your belt and start feeling cocky. -Carl

I’m not sure I described my problems correctly. There are several triangle “hard spots” popping up all over the top of the deck and BIG - 3 inches or so - air bubbles that just popped up

Krokus - I think the resin kicked faster because I timed it (and had 20 minutes of work time) inside, but took it outside to glass. I think the sun heated up at the time and kinda messed it up.

Basically - to smoothe all these areas down, I should use what? I have a power sander (Black and Decker Mega Mouse - probably not the right kind) Someone said to use a surform? And razor blades to cut these areas out?

Any help would be appreciated, you guys have been great to me throughout the whole process, and while I dont really care how the board looks, I just want to be able to surf it

Thanks again to everyone on any advice they can give me, specially you Krokus

Still kinda bummed on it though. :frowning:

Oh yeah Krokus - I’ll take pictures of it tomorrow and send it to you. You should get a kick out of it :wink:

What is up with fish around here, all I hear about is “where do I place the fins on my fish” and “what size fish should I make”. Of course there is the odd question about an egg, but doesn’t anyone shape normal boards any more? Everyone is on some sort of fish kick. Can anyone explain the reason for the fish trend?

My main reason for wanting a fish is because my performance stick doesnt quite cut it on the small mushy waves of SC. There is only so much longboarding I can take - although I’m all about that too.

Bryan, What kind of paint did you use to paint the deck with and how thick did you put it on??? If you sealed up the pores in the foam and didn’t let the paint dry good between coats the resin might be lifting because it had nothing compatible to adhere to. (No pores or maybe moisture) If that resin got really warm when it kicked I guess it could have caused the foam to “gas off” and make bubbles…but it sounds like poor surface adhesion to me.

Send the pics

Try to smile then laugh! It could have been worse!


The best advise I could give a first time glasser is to use sun cure resin. Take all the time you need, then carry the board outside and let it kick.

Lrolus - The only place that would have that problem is on the rails, the deck was spray paited on, and really wasnt that thick, as we kinda nailed it on the first coat. But…that could explain something, maybe it was thicker on one end then it was on another.

SHould I just get a surform and grind those suckers down? And lay small layers of glass on top of it with a small cup of resin?

Hi Bryan

What I have learned is to take my time. So pour you resin for your lap into 2 containers mix the first batch and glass the port or starboard side of the board lap the the rails of the same side and then mix the remaining batch and glass the remaining side moving from the stringer out towards the rails. This way you have 2 X 20 minutes

Good Luck

Bryan, To fix the big bubbles without major surgery you can drill two small holes at the extremities and inject resin. Saves a lot of cutting, patching and sanding.

Be bummed for a while, but don’t be discouraged. The three worst spray jobs I thought I ever did were the three that got the most complements. I couldn’t work it out, but life goes on.

First off I’d say that it doesn’t sound like your a discouraged shaper at all, in fact you seem pretty stoked on it, it’s the glassing your discouraged with. Don’t let this scare you next time you shape a board your really digging and run off to a pro glasser, keep at it.

…it gets a lot better, trust me. And you’ll learn more off this board than any other.

I wouldn’t recommend splitting resin batches. It would work, but could become a crutch later on. Take Lee’s advice and start with a ‘cold’ batch. Then incrementally get hotter.

As far as your repairs: If the bubbles are saturated in resin you’ll need to cut them out with a razor. Dry spots can be saturated with some fresh resin and a little squeegee force. Take your time, let things thoroughly dry and sand away… stay away from the power tools!

This might be a good opportunity for you to try your hand at airbrushing or artwork… put it on top of the hotcoat.

I remember those days when you haven’t folded your laps yet because you spent a “little” extra time getting the deck/bottom perfect and suddenly you notice the resin left in the bucket was almost completely gelled. Then it was a race to fold what you could and sand off the rest!

Laminating with epoxy solves all the issues. Plenty of work time, no gelling, no drain and you get a stronger board to boot.


I am really starting to believe it is a much better product. In my post “working outdoors” even a breeze screws the up relationship/reaction with polyester. It would be hard not to agree that Polyester is very tempermental.

Using only scientifically know or common accepted facts as a base, has anyone ever put together an objective (as possible) and articulate pros and cons list of sort?


Herb Bean

Don’t be discouraged…Fish are like plentiful. Some are ugly some are thin, some are fat, some are colorful, while others are grey, but they all have somthing in common is that they can all swim.

For your next bopards remember that you get better exponentially at glassing boards.

My biggest piece of advice is to use UV cured resin, it does not cure until you expose it to UV rays…thus you could take a few hours to laminate your board. So many benefits to this so little time: here goes

  1. Near unlimited working time

  2. No catalyst ratios In fact, no catalyst

  3. Slightly less dangerous to the environment and to you (but still wear a respirator please!)

  4. Once exposed to UV light a full cure happens in minutes.

  5. No waste, pour what you need, if you need more pour some more, if you poured to much, then pour it back in the gallon for later use.

Some things to be careful about using UV resin!

  1. UV light is everywhere, be semi careful to reduce just about all of it from invading your work space

  2. Fin boxes and very dark tinted resin will not work with UV cured resin, why? if you stick it in a fin box then how is the light supposed to get to it?

  3. Hotcoats are possible with UV resin, but i’d advise against it.

  4. Gloss coats…forget it.

Hope this helps you in the future, Stay with it.