Shapers Square

Hi there,

Am new to the forum and am about to start shaping. Most tools I own already as I’m a cabinetmaker by trade.

Question: Which Shapers square should I get. None are available here in New Zealand.


The extra lines along the center help keep you lined up straight when you mark the fins.

I have the FGH version below.—040

I use this a lot too.

Shaper Australia would be you best bet.  Closest source and a good one.  But a large Carpenters Square can be used in a pinch.  Lowel

Thanks Sharkcountry & McDing.


Whichever one you get, you’ll be glad you did. I bought one but was kinda skeptical if I would really use it all that much. I use it all the time, there are many occasions to pull it out for checking this or marking that, very useful tool.

for many decades, prior to the introduction of the ‘‘shapers square’’, the 24’’ framing square was the go to tool, for the most accurate layout.      It still works, quite well.

As a framing contractor for many years, I cut my teeth on the framing square. Heck, you could figure all your angles in a roof and do your income taxes with the tables on the side if you knew how to use them, in the days before every phone had a calculator.

This was my crew back in the pre-truss days of hand cut rafters & high top tennis shoes :slight_smile:

My comment was not directed at you, but to the novice lurker, wannabe shapers, that may think the plastic square is the only tool that gets the job done.      I thought your comment underscored that there are other ways to get the job done.     Kudo’s again, for your work on the Cedar Log.!        

Hey, I just appreciate the chance to dig that old photo out. Once the industry changed to truss roofs I lost interest & my contracting career went in a little different direction. Roof framing was the highlight of house framing for me. Still a few old school craftsmen out there doing it, but precious few.

I have a lot of squares from my carpentry days, maybe that’s why I was skeptical about whether I really needed the shaper’s square. But I find both the floppy feature & the fact it’s clear (with that black stringer line down the middle) to be a big advantage in working on surfboards.

Mine even has a fin placement chart. They covered it up with a white patch for some reason, but I peeled the patch off.

I have one of the FoamEZ shapers squares.  I bought it because I thought I needed it.  Got it and didn’t like it.  Never got around to fixing the design so it would be more practical and more accurate.  For me I find it less accurate than simply using a 24 inch center finding aluminum ruler and a  8x12 inch framing square.  Most of all I would advise NOT using the plastic shaping silly square for laying out fins…at least if you want everything to be symetrical.  You’re better off laying out your fins with a scrap of paper than trying to use one of these silly shaping squares for that task.


Thats a shame you don’t find it accurate as that’s the one I was planning to buy along with a few other items FoamEZ  list.

When I came back to shaping in the 90’s I used a framing square like many shapers have.  Then on one of my jaunts from Pismo down to Fiberglass Hawaii when they were in Santa Barbara, I saw a Pleskunas Square.  The very next shape was an improvement in symmetry.  It was much easier to work off center for setting fins, marking the outline etc.  I called it my $40 piece of plastic.  Stan Pleskuna came up with several tools that were surfboard specific.  I have bought one of everything over the years, Greenlight, Foam EZ, Fiberglass Hawaii, but still find myself falling back on the original.


I could fix the tool but never got around to it.  My biggest gripe with these plastic things is they are like a hockey puck on ice when you lay them on a shaped blank.  Too slipery which makes it too easy for it to move while you are laying things out.  Some enterprising person should mask off the important bits on the ruler and then spray it with Super 77 spray adhesive and then apply the same sort of rubber mat material that FCS puts on the bottom of their router jigs.  Even still I would never use one of these for marking out fins.  There are more accurate ways to do that task.

Haven’t seen the Pleskunas tool nor could I find an image, is it a plastic sheet like the others?

The Pleskunas shaping square is similar to the FGH version, but the original version doesn’t have the slots to make fin marks easily. I have that one too, I “borrowed” it from my brother. A lot of the store bought surfboard tools I have are “borrowed” or gifts from my brother.

What I don’t like about the 24" carpenters framing square is that it doesn’t bend like the plastic tools, so it won’t lay flat. It is also possible to make dents and cuts into foam if you don’t use it carefully.

My brother has one of these and I think they are nice to have.

Yes a Carpenters Square can easily screw up a finished blank.  A Zero Point ruler is a no bells and whistles tool that will do the basics.  I got one from Greenlight that is plastic like the others.  I’m not suprised that the Fiberglass Hawaii Square is similar to a Pleskuna.  FGH was the first supplier to carry them.  There was a time when it was Mitch’s, Fiberglass Hawaii and Monterey Bay Fiberglass.  That was it.  San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.

Hi Almo,

I do recommend a shapers square… as per other comments on the post, you can get by using a regular square but I really like the ability to measure up both sides of the board without having to flip the square.

Noting that you are in NZ - Shapers Australia ( ) might be your best bet.  Shouldn’t take too long to get to NZ (not taking into account any delays with this coronavirus thing)

I have this one


I have one of those sewing plastic square and it´s indeed the biggest pos I´ve ever seen. You can tell by the eye that the scale is dirstorted and not symmetric. Not even close. Don´t use it.

I used a framing square and a center ruler for a few boards and after that I just glued a center ruler to a scrap piece of clear 1mm plastic and marked the centerline.

Works good for me. Very accurate.

I mostly only use it for the shapers dot for the trailing edge. I could use that center ruler for the leading dot as well, but most of the time I work with a simple 7ft fibreglas ruler from a 60s drawing board or an 8ft alloy flat bar (flexible) for getting accurate toe in.

Shipping shapers square and other surfboard tools to where I live (germany) is often more expensive than the tool itself, so I usually just make my own tools.

Thank you all for the advice. Despite the criticism of the plastic sheet type squares I’m still keen to try one. Obviously I will double check things to begin with. Can anyone recommend one that they’ve found to be accurate. Not fussed as to where I have to get it from.

Thanks in advance.

Ok. Pretty sure I did already, but I like mine from Fiberglass Hawaii.

Full disclosure - I also have and use a couple flexible steel rules and other measuring tools. But my FGH shapers square is accurate & handy.