Setting up new shaping room. Any tips?

Hey all,

Finally setting up my first real shaping room, dedicated full time to shaping, won’t be used for any other purpose (well glassing in the same room, but this is a huge step up for me). I’m stoked! Was wondering if anyone had any good tips/setup techniques that they’ve adopted or adapted over the years. I know most of the obvious things: blue/green walls (flat paint to absorb light I heard is best), sidelights just above rack height, etc. Anyone have less obvious tips that have worked well for them over the years? I have checked the archives and looked at as many shaping room photos as I can find to kinda spy on your operations. Any cool tips would be appreciated.


None yet! Maybe I’m just asking stupid questions again. Or maybe… no one wants to share their secrets… hmmm. :slight_smile:

I know that there are not many “secret shaping bay mysteries” out there, was just hoping for ideas I hadn’t yet thought of before I begin to outfit mine. Plus I’m bored at work and can’t stop thinking about my new bay :slight_smile:


It is a good idea to make your sidelights adjustable in height.  One method I've seen is to mount vertical shelving tracks to the wall and hook the lights on those.  Minor changes can make big differences in how shadows are cast across the board.




Thanks. Good tip. Are 4’ lights adequate or should I shell out more for 8 footers? I’ll mostly be bulding boards 8’ or shorter.

Hey Badhoudini,

I shape and glass in the same area and one tip I would like to let you onto is make sure you have and way to keep your glassing stuff from getting foam dust all over it.  For instance I have a book shelf like thing that I can close while I am shaping to help keep dust off the glassing stuff.  Also make sure you have enough space for a small table or something where you can measure out resin, mix colors and lay out glassing emergency stuff like an extra pair of gloves, paper towels and what not.  If I had to rebuild my shed again I would make it a little longer so I could fit a bigger table to work on in there.  If I think of anything else I will chime in…  Good luck and having a dedicated work area will make shaping and glassing a lot easier for you.



Make a wall mounted box to keep your rolls of glass clean when your not using them. I have seperate rooms for shaping glassing and sanding but still get dust everywhere.

Make the shelves on top your sidelights able to hold a lot of stuff, mine are flimsey, odds and ends are fallinfg onto the floor all the time. Making those shelves stronger and more easily adjustable is my next upgrade.

Hey thanks guys. And yeah that was a concern of mine, since I will be shaping and glassing in the same room. Keeping  out  foam dust of everything as much as possible makes good sense. Think I’ll build some box shelves on the far wall and maybe cover them with a small piece of tarp when shaping, then roll up the tarp oput of the way when glassing. Was concidering mouting a rod type glass roller on the wall (like a big toilet paper roll) and build a hindged box to cover it when not in use.

Has anyone tried the shop-vac-connected-to-the-chip-ejector-on-the-planer trick? If so, what were the results? Seems kinda annoying to me. Is it worth the cleanliness factor. I’ve seen were shapers wikll hang the hose above their shaping racks with a hook and weight system thing to keep it up out of the way. Is this overkill?

Cool, thanks guys. Keep ‘em comin’ if ya got anymore good tricks.

Settin up a vac hose is so nice but a pain to get right. I am redoing mine but it saves hours of vacuming dust if you start doing a few boards a week.

Do a search on this site for shaping room dimensions.  The width is very critical for working efficiently and for the lights to work properly. 

Do a search on Surline.  They have a whole series on shapers shaping rooms.  Just by studying the pictures I learned a few tricks and took some ideas from the pros.

The T8 (smaller diameter tubes) 8' fixtures are more energy efficient and are easier to tuck under a shelf.

If you want to be low key, fiberglass insulation in the walls will cut down on noise but only if the room is sealed, ie you will need an air conditioner.  If you can, insulate the ceiling as well and cover it all with drywall.

You are going to need a compressor.  I put mine in a room next door to the shaping room.   I learned a while ago that a good belt drive oil lubricated 220v is quieter and uses less electricity.  The oil less ones are loud as hell.

Make a shelf for your templates.  Having them on the ground is no good.

I have a 10'W x 14' L shed and set up the shop vac to the exhaust port of the planer...DEFINITELY worth the effort to set up. Will reduce your clean-up effort exponentially.

Once again thanks.

Sounds like setting up a vac system to the planer port is a good plan after all. Makes sense. I have a shop vac and the hose attachment form my old Makita, geuss I’ll go get an extension hose. Probably the best plan for me anyway as I have to glass in the same room. Sanding dust will be a pain in itself, so reducing the mess anyway I can is my best plan I think.

I'll try and remember to take some pics to post up here but I plumbed PVC pipe along the roof om my shed and down to my shop vac. I used the clark foam slinky hose to hang from the end of the PVC pipe above my racks and down to my planer. I also ran an extension cord up there as well, and ziptied to cord to the PVC to keep it all clean...

Do an overhead 8' fixture also, and wire 3 switches so you can control individual sidelights and o/h seperately.

I cut a “crevasse” attachment, for my shop vac, at a long angle so it fit just so over the planer exhaust, and wedged it nice and tight w/friction/electrical tape - been workin’ real well.   The shop vac is the best tool for the one room does all motif.  

I have some high shelves and hooks.  Keeps stuff up and out of the way, and I tie my shop vac up high in the corner, out of the way when I’m glassing.

I like an old “boom box” too…

Hey badhoudini

As far as lights go, you need at least 8 feet of light on each side. If you are not going to wire them in I suggest home depot. They carry a 4 foot plug- in florescent light that is cheap. I bought 4 for about 40 bucks and ran two down each side. They come with chain hangers and I just drilled holes in my shelves so that I can just move them up or down by running a nail through the chain on top of the shelf.  

Doesn’t sound like you are building a separate rooms for shaping and glassing??? I would if I could but my wife is cool with my little shaping bay so I don’t want to push it, so I’m doing it all in one room. I know it’s been said but if you are in the same (one) room for all, I would recommend keeping all of your glassing supplies in a space outside the bay.

I am considering the shop vac set up for the planer but I will still have to clean a lot because I sand down fins also. Thats a f*#!ing mess in itself. 

I have found that taking a few extra minutes to clean after each step pays dividends in the build process.  

One way or another, mess and all, having your own shaping bay is like having a little piece of zen. 

Have fun! If you live in SD let me know, you can come by and check out my set up.


Hey Taylor,

Thanks, yeah boom box is already there. First piece of gear I moved in actually. Still “remodeling”. Couple more pieces of sheetrock to nail up. You still over in Oregon? I haven’t forgotten, you were going to show me some secret spots around Newport when I can get down there.  :wink:

I lucked out, my buddy is letting me take over his extra shop, about 12’ x 16’ (just used as storage now) in exchange for a small longboard. Promised him the first (or second) board out of my new block of foam. I get to do whatever I want to it. Got my own key and everything, no rent. Hell yeah…


That sounds cool. You have it plummed (spl?) around your shop and into the shop vac? Does it get clogged? How long is the PVC pipe? I have a little alcove up on one wall, would be perfect for that sort of setup.

Mike D,

Was thinking exactly that same thing. Most of the walls are already sheetrocked, but I have 1 and 1/2 walls that are insulated but not yet sheeted. Cool thing is, there is a stack of sheetrock siting there. Never was nailed up. Think I will wire in some switches to the lights before sheeting those last two walls. Wire a second switch from the overheads to the shaping shelves, so I can switch them on individually. Good timing man, thanks for the idea.

I have a shelf over my side lights that are both tied to a central pulley.  It makes for a single adjustment that titles the shelf up or down to direct the light.  I just pull the rope to the right tilt and hook a loop to predetermined pegs.  Works nice.  Oh and I screwed a lip to the shelf so that I can still put stuff on them and not have things go for a ride when I drop the visor.