Pls help me design a shaping shack

Hey Gents,

Got permission from the wife to build a shaping shack in the back yard so I thought I’d check with you homey’s for any must have design features before I start. Going to check out Home Depot prefab wood sheds tonight. I have space for a 11’x13’ structure.

Light placement?


Exact color of blue for interior?

??? Thanks Gents! Cheers, Happy Holidays!

Light, cheap, easily taken apart and reassembled…

Use PVC pipe and slip-fit couplings. Don’t glue the couplings, just drill and insert a pin (nail, for instance, but round off the point). The get some black plastic sheeting and make yourself a nice dark room. Use the sheet on the floor too for easy cleanup if that’s a concern. Hang some lights, place your stand, plug in the planer, good to go.

Thanx for the input Charlie. I’d like to make it more permanent. Something big enough to store blanks and boards at different stages of completion etc.

Hi Ray,

I’ve designed quite a few set-ups for friends. Take advantage of this opportunity and build

the thing as good as you can. First advice, proper racks, both wall racks and shape/glass racks.

May I suggest a single loft-style work area with the shaping rack right in the middle of the room.

I’m sure there are board-builders on this site who can show pictures of their set-ups.

Your shaping lights are best designed as “light shelves” so you can set your tools on them

and not get hit in the face with too much direct light. Most likely your light shelves would

be portable and usually run about waist to chest high depending upon your shaping style.

I like my shelves about 45 to 48 inches up from the floor. I have pics on my website, lurk

around there to see how my shelves are set up (actually we use double shelves, I’m talking

about the upper ones). The shape rack usually runs about 6 to 8 inches below this, depending

upon the cast of light you prefer and color of the room. I use dark blue (called Navy Wool) and

a lighter ceiling is good for sighting your decklines.

If you can, make your shape racks articulate, well worth it if you can find a metal/weld shop

nearby. Steel is the best material but woods and plastics will get the job done.

One important thing. I am a big proponent of conserving resins. I highly recommend using

“glassing trays” to catch your resin. When used properly, I get 110 boards out of a 55 gal drum.

(I make about 7 small boards out of 10). That’s lams, hots, and finning. I can PM you some

of the techniques for saving resin if interested. Also keeps the floor (and shoes!) quite clean.

Lastly, ventilation. You got to respect this one. Two vents. One for moving air/bringing

fresh air in (a wall-mounted propellor-type fan is good) the work area is important. The second

one is used to collect dust- woodworkers use dust collectors which will work fairly well, they

run a couple-hundred bucks for a decent one. A vac for the planer is also important to consider.

As for glassing, if you are in a dense neighborhood, you may run into problems. There are some

charcoal filters you can place over your large wall fan to filtrate before exhausting. The other

way, I was told by Gordon Clark, is to run a high-velocity exhaust tube or stack (like 10" diameter)

that mixes the styrene fumes when they exit. This quickly gets rid of the smell outdoors.

CAREFUL: I know a lot of homebuilders who shut down their rooms during glassing and tough it out

with a respirator on- this is dangerous, ketones and styrenes will absorb into the skin and eyes at

these high concentrations very easily. (I always use a full-face mask for resin/epoxy work, one that

supplies filtered air to your eyes as well). Even if remotely possible, please consider moving the

air out while you glass.

Hope this helps,


Hello Ray (4to8m8)

Plusone has helped me out so much in the last two years it just amazing. Some really good tips so far…

My shaping stands are made from saw horses. Do a search for “shaping stands” or “shaping racks”. There’s been some threads in the past like “show me your shaping room”… try a search. I bought a wall mounted shop vac at home depot that works great for me. Keep in mind that I do more repairs than anything. I made a storage rack out of steel 1/2’ square tubing that holds five boards. I need more rack space !!!

Have fun


aka stingray

Gentlemen, Thankyou so much for the input. With this and info from past threads I’m sure my shaping oasis will turn out quite swanky! I’m leaning towards a 8’ x 14’ prefab wood shed. 8’4" high. As i am mainly interested in shaping longboards, these dimensions will limit board/blank storage to only a few options. 1. Racks horizontaly on each side above my head. Probably two boards on each side. This is a hobby/creative outlet so I won’t be shaping volumes of longboards from this space however being able to rack only four boards sounds inadiquate. I will look into having the shed made custom at 10’ high to accomodate stand up wall racks at the non door end of the room. Lighting/shelving/color all as per your generous inputs. (This will be a shaping only room as I transport the shapes for glassing.)


Here’s my room right now. I’m always trying to make little improvements.

I have a pvc glass stand that connects to the shaping stand.

here’s plans for my stand.

Try to go as high as you can. 1) you might need to store boards on end, so 10 ft in a minimum. And if you don’t think you’ll need that high of a ceiling, then you can put board storage up there. I think the Home Depot sells a barn type shed, I think the barn roof would work quite well for a shaping room. Also you’ll need to be wider than 8 ft, 8 ft won’t cut it with lights and some kind of shelves.

In a perfect world you will need about 3-4 feet of clear space all around you. So for a 9 ft board a 9x16 or 10x17 room would be great. Obviously this might be a bit large, but remember all the stuff that starts to clutter up the shaping room: Lights, Shelves, blanks in various stages, tools, templates, brooms, dust pan, stereo, speakers, mini bar, friends standing around…drinking from the mini bar…etc. My last shaping room was 8 x 12 way too tight, couldn’t shape a longboard with out opening up the door and hanging it out.

If this is just a hobby, then your getting pretty serious about your hobby. I mean if your just doing a few boards a year, shaping under the old tree works just fine. So if it’s a shed your after, make sure it’s big enough to do a professional job…so when your hobby takes over you can keep up with demand. It’s funny, if you get good at shaping, and you get good at surfing your shapes people will start asking for boards.


Hello all,

I have a 12’x12 shaping shack which works pretty well. Does anyone know where to get a exhaust fan with charcoal filters?? I try to glass my boards at night since I don’t want the neighborhood going crazy…



Side lights that move up and down are a great feature. Shelving on top of the side lights get loaded up with stuff so make them stronger and with small back panels and a front lip so the clutter doesn’t fall off too easily.

Howzit stingray, resinhead is right on about dimensions for shaping room. Think about it this way, the blank will be about 2’ wide, the wall racks wil be about 2’ wide which would leave you with only 4’ of space and that means 2’ on each side of the blank. now figure that with the wall racks on 1 side it will offset you shaping racks from the center of the room. Go with 10’ wide which allows for the racks and you will be able to put the shaping racks in the center of the room. A good length is minimun of 14’ because if you shape a longboard you want a couple of feet left open at each end or it will be to much of a tight fit. I built a shaping room for a friend a few years back and he had us make it only 12’ long. I kept telling him go 16’ but he insisted on 12’. So after the room was done he then realized it was to short and we had to add 4’ to the front which was a pain since it meant moving the door way also. Aloha,Kokua


Try to go as high as you can.

I agree here. The one thing I always wish for is more height in my room. More height equals more strorage and board spinning ability. Get high!


There’s enough advice here to get you off to good start but…

What’s the fascination with blue painted walls? Reminds me of my kids rooms when they were babies. Personally, it aggrivates me. Did mine a nice dark/forest green and I think the darker color actually helps to cut down on weird shadows and give a crisper sight line.

Food for thought…


Hey Ray:

Here’s my 2 cents and I’ll try to post pics of my rebuild (first time pics).

I just finished modifying my shaping area in the garage and thought you might

like to see the pics. The area is 10’ x 16’ which I would say is the minimum that

would work for shaping longboards up to 10’ +. I’m sure CarveNalu would chime in

if you are planning on doing a SUP or two and recommend longer. I shape mainly

longboards now, so I really need the length and like to move around the board.

The overhead light is switch-able (clap on/off!!!) and I’ll be painting the shelves

in a day or two. I have an overhead exhaust hose for the planers and overhead

electric to keep the cords out of the way. The light wall is painted Lowe’s color

4008-108 (Blue Burst) and the back wall is a lighter –10A. I like the blue as it gives

good contrast on the longboard bottom to highlight any humps/dips. It also makes

me think of the tropical water and seems to be more peacefull. Pay attention

to George’s measurements for heights. I would suggest that you make your equipment

as flexible as you can as you will want to modify everything and move stuff around

the more boards you do. Make sure you have a good floor, especially if you are

going the shed route. You might want to pour a slab if you are really serious.

The Lowe’s/Home Depot sheds don’t usually come with a floor but have an available

floor kit and it is up to you on how you make it. A friend made one with the kit

but used cheap thin plywood and launched his first board off the racks when he

stomped on the floor too hard one day!!! Best wishes and good luck, be sure to post

pics when you are done.

Okay Gents let me first say thankyou for all the input thus far. So glad I stumbled uopn this community and hope someday to be able to contribute in some way.---- Reality is setting in and I’ve decided to scrap the prefab option. Man, it would have been so easy to just dial 1-800 come plop a shed in my backyard! So, I am now sketching out dimensions for a proper size shaping room that will accomodate maneuverability and storage. Sturdy shelving(with a lip), overhead power, dust collection, color-hmmmm, and ventilation. Between family, work, and messing around on the race track I hope to have it ready by spring. Again I am only building this for hobby/creative outlet/sanity sake. I grew up in Socal then lived on the North Shore for many years so residing in Virginia Beach really tests stoke. Having Austin right around the corner to bug for advice is inspiring. That young man is talented! I’ve been planning on setting myself up properly for years. 10yrs or so ago I even begged Mr. Barnfield to video tape a shaping session which he most generously obliged. Wish I could find that damn thing. Thanks again gents. I’ll keep you posted with progress. Cheers!!

Aloha 4to8m8!

I think the most important thing about building a shaping shack is THE SIMPLICITY. Work about this item always. To me it makes the diference.

Any shaper who works in a ORDERED SPACE, with EASY-TO-USE setting and GOOD LIGHTS on it have a good start.

A few pics from mine.



Going to check out Home Depot prefab wood sheds tonight. I have space for a 11’x13’ structure.

Sure, I guess you could do that. But, if you have the skills to build a surfboard, then why not build your own shed. It’s all about doing things with your own style. I’ll bet you could make something much better than what Home Depot offers. It will probably be cheaper too.

You could modify garden shed design. They seem to be popular on the web.

Sidelight shelves 9 and 10" wide, just wide enouph, another inch or two would be nice. Shaping space width between edges of sidelight shelves 70", wide enouph, more would be better. Shaping space length 12-13’ for 8 1/2’ boards is working OK. If you build side wall shelving, put them above shoulder height, or better, above head height to allow more body movement space.

My set-up is pretty basic. 9’ x 16’ shape racks centered. wall racks high on both sides, one side for shorter one side for longer. Side lights are slightly higher than the shape rack, which I put at bellybutton hieght. Simple shelf brackets and plain 10" lumber over the lights to direct the light out not up. One thing I did that has proven to be really cool is both side lights and top are all on individual swithes and can be used as needed. Top light usually only on for templating and cutout, then it’s also cool to look at your shape with only one sidelight on. The different shadows are cool. I had a welder buddy make me my racks for a free board, and it was worth ever penny. I copied a design I’d seen a picture in SURFER in the 70’s. They adjust height (although I have never adjusted it once I set it up) and more importantly length. I have shaped everything from 5’0" fish to 12’ tandem boards on them and they work great. I used flat black “darkroom” paint.

Lot of good info. I have to agree with making it as large as you can.