No planer, alternatives?


New to the site, new to shaping. 

I don’t have a planer, not ready to fork out the coin to get one just yet, depends if I can really do this or not. Wondering what the alternatives are for getting rid of what the planer would do?


Any suggestions?



There’s a guy (probably more than 1) selling pirated CNC files on the innerweb for $200.  $200 for the file, $200 for a blank, $150 to have it cut, $25 to sand, $125 for boxes, fins and a leash plug, $300 for glassing.  For $1,000 you can tell your buddies that you made your own board…No washing machine filled with foam dust, no blobs of resin on you or your garage floor, no pissed off neighbors (or significant others) about the smell/noise/dust. 

But mostly, no apprehension/anticipation of how the board is going to float, paddle or ride or that magic feeling of your first turn… 

You can just use shaping blocks out of wood. 80grit, 120grit, 240grit. Get your blank and make a board that is close to the blank dimensions, so ou don’t have to take off too much foam, and kill your shoulders 

belt sander?


u kinda really need one mate.

I shaped my first board with just a surf form and sandpaper. I have a planer but to be honest I was petrified of screwing up so didn’t use it. The hard part was scrapping off the outer skin, but it can be done, it will just take a long time. My board took me a full day and a half to get to what I wanted.  I didn’t mind as I used it as an excuse to get used to how the surf form cut into the foam - I even used it to plane down the stringer.

I have just started using the planer (board no 4) and it is so much better in every way, apart from saving you time, it is easier to get the board even and symmetrical. 


Just do it!

i can do close tolerence witha surform bu it would take a fair while. all you are doing is skinning the blank anyway. eps you can use a surform and sandpaper sweet as. surform is all you need and some 80 grit and is done. i shaped an eps with an angle grinder . i shaped an eps with a hotwire and a surform. i shaped one with a chainsaw once . i also shaped one with an arbourtech. i shaped one with a SAK

Hey Paul, i used a chainsaw on eps once. OMG doesn’t it send them beeds flying.


get a cheap planer off craigslist. for $20.00 or so. 

Artz is right.     Or, start as I did.     Rent a planer from a tool rental yard.     I did that from 1958 until 1964, when I bought a new Skil 100 for $150 dollars.      I still have it, and use it.    

Thanks guys was thinking a surform would do the trick. I have an orbital sander too, what do you reckon about that?

If you don’t want/have a power planer, you can always try using a regular human-powered plane. I did my first few boards with a block plane and it gave better results than a surform.


Definitely don’t use an orbital sander unless you want lumps and bumps!  Too small of surface area and it would be hard to do full strokes on the board.  Be sure to get a close tolerance blank like Beerfan suggested. Get a sharp hand plane something like the David Plane to plane the skin off and cut the stringer down, it works great.  Use a sanding block with different grits, something like our Shaping Pad, and finish with some Sand Screen.  You can also use a Surform to take volume out.  That will get you where you need to be.

Best of luck!


Hi Dallasf,

I shaped my first board without a planer - as I knew/accepted that I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t want to rip into a new blank with a power tool.

I made a long sanding block (was longer than the width of the blank) with 40 grit sandpaper.  I used this to thin and rough shape the blank… Took me a f#(king long time but no reason why you can’t shape a board without a planer.

needless to say, I invested in a planer before shaping my second board - 5 minutes of the planer replaced about 2 hours of repedative sanding :slight_smile:

Get creative that’s what its about!  General consensus is electric hand planers are great, but nowadays people that program CNC’s think there the real deal; almost always image trumps reality because most operate at a superficial level.  The hardest part is getting through the skin, and the first board I shaped I only had a surform to get through, and I didn’t even know what an electric planer was.  Took me a week to get the skin off that old blank, and the resin near the stringer, and the stringer took forever to get down; that was over 40 years ago; its still fun, most of the time.  Dealing with some people is probably the hardest thing, and definitely harder than that crusty old foam.  Stripping longboards sure was easier, except for the itch.

Still don’t be a idiot, and get yourself a planer, a good one can last a lifetime.

Here ya go.

The first surfboard planer.

Won’t take your fingers off!


hahaha, hilarious guys thanks (all of you). 

I think I’ll go the combo of the surfplaner and the 40 grit to start off with. 

I’m sure from reading everyones experinces I’ll no doubt invest for the next board. 


Thanks again guys. I’m sure there will be more questions to come. 


Forget all that planer, Surform/sanding block stuff.  Go to AKU.  Design your board and forward the file to someone like "surfding" or another CNC shaping house.  You'll be a PRO shaper overnite and save yourself alot of tired aching muscles and time in general. 

I’ll be interested to see your first board for sure Dallas as you and i are in the same boat shaping our first boards except i (probably rather stupidly) have opted to shape my first with a planer and after never having used one in my life. Hell, I powered up the planer when it first arrived off ebay and nearly took half the kitchen wallpaper off the wall! The competition is on! ha. 

i did my first board with just a block plane surform and sandpaper and took about 6-7 hours(it was a mini simmons type board so not a ton of foam to take down… the crust was the worste for sure untill i took the block plane to the crust moving foward at an just spiralled off. it will save you so much time. after that i got a 40$ ebay planer and its night and day. you can mess up the board with the planer but just keep it on a low depth and move slow. im still getting the hang of using it but it is SOOOO worth getting.