Shaping Outside

I was thinking about setting up a section of my backyard for shaping. I don’t want to make a shed because it would block our view of the bay. Plus, I think it would be nice to work outside. I’m couped up in a cubical during the weekdays.

Here are some questions that I have been wondering about. Some might sound kind of ignorant, because I have never shaped a foam board.

  1. When using the planer, do foam bits fly everywhere. I’m worried that it will look like a white Christmas in mine and my neighbors yards.

  2. How do you pick up the foam when you are finished? Vacuum, rack, broom,…?

  3. What kind of surface do you like to have under your feet while working? Sand, dirt, saw dust, grass, Astroturf,…?

  4. My son is going to be walking soon, and will want to play in the grass next to where I’m planning on setting up my shaping area. Are the little bits of foam, and resin drippings going to be a toxic danger?

If you have an outside shaping area then I’d love to see some pictures of it.

No worries as long as the foam is an egg meringue and the resin a sugar glaze. Otherwise, ah, well, I’ll let them give you the bad news…

Get a big tent and shop vacuum.

A bit toxic and messy.

If their is a will…

Good luck,


OK, I guess that was stupid. There is no way my wife is going to let me blow toxic foam all over the back yard. I still want to set up a shaping area, so I guess I’m limited to making balsa boards. I can live with that.

Please post your backyard pictures. I’m searching for ideas.

HEY! I HAVE a big tent and a tarp and a vacuum! I never thought of that!!

Now I have a place! Thanks lavarat!!!

I don’t blame you swied–but try the tent thing!?!

A: Keep the child inside for the time it takes to build your board…your wife will love you for it…

B: Get a portable Garage, one of those ones you can dismantle, like a big tent…

C: Get a shop vac and a long hose to attach to your planer…

D: Start collecting large cardboard boxes to put under the board and under foot to collect the drips, fold up and recycle for the next time…

E: Invite the neighbopurs over to watch, then they won’t complain…

F: There is no F

I take the bulk of the blanks foam down outside. I let it fly…I usually end up looking like a snowman. I finish the rest of the shaping inside my shaping room.

I don’t glass but if I did I would probably do most of my glassing outside but not with out something on the ground to keep the resin from getting all over the place…

Bits of foam and especially resin of any kind are going to be toxic and I wouldn’t want my kid playing anywhere near the stuff. use your common sense!


F: Dont forget the Beer!!!

there is no G…

I made that mistake once… dont want to go back there… bad times…



I don’t glass but if I did I would probably do most of my glassing outside

I had to repair 10 or so beach boy rental boards in my back yard once and it was the most frustrating experience. The wind really messes everything up.

I just finished shaping and glassing my first board outside and it was heaps of fun. Neighbours arent a problem and ive got no rugrats to worry about. Sure, things get messy and foam is everywhere and resin has dripped all over the yard but to me thats part of the whole process - sorta organic in a way (except for the toxic chemicals and fumes). Wind is a pain in the ass so i stuck to calm says for glassing which i did at night in the cool - sure you get a few bugs in ya resin but it looks very Jurrasic Park with the mozzies encased in yellow resin! Nothing like the cool night breeze whilst you shape your blank… Ive been pretty careful to keep dirt away from the blank during glassing but since i stuffed the glassing doesnt really matter!

Have fun wherever you do it. Board ##2 will be outside too - this time with a planer

Good luck


I can’t believe what I’m reading! Are you guys crazy, stupid or a sad mixture of both!?

Our surfboards are extremely toxic, you all know that, yet you say just scatter little pieces of em everywhere. While we’re at it, lets change the oil in our SUVs outside and just let it all drain out into the street. Why have garbage men take trash away from us when we can just fling it around our neighborhood? Lets let our dogs crap all over the beach and just leave it there!

Lets, even for a split second, consider letting our children frolick in and ingest horrible carcinigens, maybe they will die before age 7. Alright!

Come on guys, a little bit of responsibility. Please.

Ah whatever.

You know what else is heaps of fun? Drinking a shot of resin with a shot of catalyst. Heaps of fun, you should all do it right now.

Whoa, bro

Tune the tone


There is a G: More beer!

How toxic is eps foam vs. pu - I was under the impression that the beaded foam was pretty benevolent?

Hey werepat!

You’re on the money mate - building boards outside is a very uncool thing to do…as surfers i believe we have a duty to be as good to the environment as possible…

I just finished my first board outside, and I would avoid it if I were you. If you have the money, I would suggest renting a storage unit in a crappy industrial neighborhood and do it there. You’ll find some that are just like mini-warehouses, so you’ll have acess to it 24 hrs a day, and there’s no management around. Just make sure you can get a power hookup for light and the cordless Hitachi might be a good idea too.

Several reasons to avoid shaping outside:

  1. looking at a bright wihite blank as the sun shines down is really hard on the eyes. you’re going to go blind.

  2. the weather - dictated by rain, heat, wind (which sucks when you’re trying to lam, plus you have little leaves/seeds/bird shit that can land)

  3. isn’t real easy to focus out there sometimes.

  4. plus i hate moving the board in and out of the house so much (or in my case, out of the house, into the car, across town, and back to the house)

  5. tools tend to get scattered

That, being said, I’ll be starting a new board outside tomorrow :slight_smile:

Also, I use a heavy piece of precut shelving from Home Depot ($4.99) to put under my cement/bucket racks while i’m shaping.

My understanding is that both EPS and PU foams are not harmful in the reacted state. That is, once they become foam, the toxicity is nil. However, they are eye, ear, and respiratory irritants as foam dust. Probably not real harmful to the environment in the toxic shock sense, but definitely not pleasing to the eye. I prefer to do my stuff inside as it’s easier to cleanup and I don’t like polluting! (Or my neighbors complaining)

most all our boards including all the blnaks made in this batch were shaped in this little 4x6 garbage can nook behind the mockorange hedge.

We use the two hollow tile walls on side with poky ohai ali’i and the hedge to block to flow bubbles into to the neighborhood. Shaping is usually done by Sharkcountry with a sander or planer hooked up to a shopvac while the stupid older brother is standing on the other side of the board with another shop vac trying to suck up the all the bubbles who escape from the other vac. Every now and then stupid older brother vacuum brushes down the shaper and power tool to clean it off of any electrostatically clinging white stuff. We also stop every now and then and madly try and vacuum the drive way and work area to minimize th impact to our neighborhood. It’s a very hilarious and noisy process but reasonably clean. That’s why I prefer hot wiring as much of an EPS board as much as possible in the patio like Tom Sullivan showed us before resorting to sanding. We use drywall vacuum sanding tools with drywall screens, a belt sander, planer and a two foot 2x4 with 36 grit belt sander paper.

Trying to manage a vacucm hose and dual electrical cords in such a shaping environment is tough and there’s nothing like your vac hose running along and ruining your freshly screened EPS rail with gouges…

So to try something different I bought one of these backpac shopvacs they use in my office and we’re going to give it a go on our next shaping attempt… BTW that’s not me…

Just more evidence that we really don’t know what the hell we are doing.

Oh yeah we get heat stroke from the Ewa sun most of the time and have to wear polarized goggles to see what we’re doing in the bright sun. And tent’s don’t help when there’s any kind of wind even the one’s with mesh sides. Nothing like walking around on a vinyl tent floor slippery with foam bubbles with a planer in your hand…

This is probably how the guys from that show Jack*ss would make a board…

In my opinion the more hot wire tools I can get my hands on the better. All you need is a good respirator and you can shape anywhere even in your living room with a fan. Be neat to be able to somehow hot wire 90% of your shape like an APS3000 and then just clean it up using drywall screens with the vacuum attachments…

Hey Werepat - point taken dude. I’m guessing you dont drive a car? People in glasses houses and all that…