new to shaping - how to get started

Hows everyone doing, I have a quick question. I have fixed a lot of boards and have finally gotten comfortable with really working with surfboards. For awhile now I have wanted to put time and effort into shapin but I keep getting very nervouse.

Basically, I am wondering if anyone has any advice on how to get started…I was gonna order a video and this and that, but I am not too sure

Any advice would be awesome…thanks


Nothing to be nervous about. Watch those JC and masterglasser video’s and more then anything read as much as you can within this site. Pretty much any question you have will be answered within this site. Be patient and humble and soon enough you’ll feel in total control while your shaping.


Trust your hands and your eye.

Go for it… just do it…don’t look back… all the catch phrases kick in.

Hello, this is my first post on your forum and I am new to shaping. Right now I have watched JC’s shaping video and I looking to start purchasing the equipment to shape. If anyone has the time I have a couple questions. I am not on a fixed budget but I am looking to purchase second hand equipment and I saw that on ebay the planars are a lot cheaper. What modifications would have to be done to make the planar adjustable to what the Skil 100 is. If anyone knows of someone selling second hand equipment I am definately interested.



Hi Dan,

If your new to it, and its just for casual shaping, just go with a cheapie planer from a hardware store.

I have just a basic planer i bought for $50 at a hardware store, nothing special, but when it dies i’ll just get a new one.

Maybe not worth the effort trying to hunt and modify and so on if its just for a few boards…



One great article to check out is on It’s a very good description of where to start and such. It’s basically geared toward the beginning builder with limited tools. One good point that he makes, that I’ve found true in my own experience, is to start simple as far as tools go; sanding block, sureform, block plane…etc. The simpler your tool, the easier it is to actually get a feel for what your doing; in addition, with these basic tools you limit your chances of making an unrecoverable mistake (so that should set your mind at ease a bit).

I have seen the hitachi P20SB planer’s go for just 60-70 bucks on ebay. Do you have any recommendations as to where I can get shaping tools? I saw that USBLANKS is going to be opening up so I am going to wait and get a set of blanks from them. THanks for the link to that site.


Hey Kev,

I was in the same boat where I had fixed boards and put a bunch of broken boards together. I just shaped and glassed my first board this past winter and it turned out really nice.

You will do a great job and most likely love it no matter what the outcome. In fact, I think just the fact that there is an outcome…and the learning process are great reasons alone.

I borrowed the JC movies and that was really helpful for general steps and technique. + I just like his attitude. He goes over tools which is really helpful. I watched them about 3 times and took notes each time. Before I shaped the board, I compiled my notes and had a nice easy plan.

I started with a Clark 6’9" A, which was like a big guy fish blank, skinned it with a friend’s clark planer and went to town with the sureform. I basically shaped the whole thing with the sureform and sand paper.

I took my sweet time and spent about 10 hours drinking beer as I went through the whole process. Glassing on the other hand…took me about a month.

I really think searching through Swaylocks will give you all the details you need to make a good board. The people here are a HUGE resource. You will get the best info here, but you have to search for it. Just study the archives about everything you could imagine and take good notes.

Go have fun. Try to take photos of the process. I wish I had done that more. The best thing about it is waxing it up and getting into some waves on a self created/designed craft.

shaping tools aren’t quite as specialized as some people would have you think. just run out to your local hardware store (HD / Lowe’s) and you can get just about anything you could possible need. aside from that, be creative…you’d be surprised at the ways you can put some of the most random, unassuming things to use in the shaping bay.

will you be shaping urethane or polystyrene foam?

I was planning on using polystyrene foam for my first blank. For my first board should I use a planar to shape it? I am going to put a list together of tools and take a trip down this week to home depot. Thanks again everyone


here’s what I did:

  1. Search the forums

  2. Search again

  3. has a list of shaping vids, books and videos, instructional. I’d advise you not to click on other parts of the site, it can get expensive (had a major willpower battle for an hour, lucky praticality won)

  4. watch someone else shape

  5. gather tools

  6. get skills, and make a plan

Since I’m not using standard foam, blank (going wood) I’m hitting up a class on that. I’m at this stage.

  1. finalize plan, and do it.

Oh yeah this forum will give you IO (info overload) but its better to know its here and not need it, than to need it and know its not here.

Last night I was sitting in my bed thinking about shaping boards and I thought about this blurb that was in last months surfer magazine that is supposed to be a shark deterent, on the underside of the board they airbrushed the image of a shark. I know this might be random or a long shot but I wonder if you made the bottom super reflective. I was picturing the bottom be almost a shiny silver color. Being that some sharks use more site then smell this might work?


You can shape polystyrene with a good 'ole surform and sanding block with 50 grit if you don’t want to buy a planer. But I’d recommend spending the bucks for one and learning to use it from the get go.

But there’s no hard crust on polystyrene, so you can manage without the power tools.

have fun!

catchawavekev IMHO these people will give you great advice and will not steer you wrong! They always have for me! Try to make both sides of the blank the same and take it slow. The guy that glasses my boards has always told me " they all work." He has been at it for 30 plus years.

What if a bigger shark thinks the shark on the bottom of your board looks tasty?