The machine caused all this.

Great post Yorky.  I haven't bought a shop board in the last 10 years, maybe longer.  I've been trying different shapes, different techniques and they seem to go OK.  I cut my own blanks and try to get them as close to what I want so I don't have to do much carving. 

Got a couple of friends that are bona fide expert shapers.  I go hey check this one out.  "Yeah not bad, but if you take out that flat spot in the tail rocker it won't hang up in the lip so much."  I'm looking and saying ok, but I'm thinking what flat spot?

Recently my 14 year old is ready for a new board.  I get my friend to shape it for him.  It's beautiful - so far beyond what I'm capable of.  I tell him full price - no deals.  He gives me a price and I think about all the years it took for him to get to that level and I know it's not enough.  I pay him half again as much.

I'm not bothered by the machines.  The guy who owns the machine in my area is a good bloke.  But he's not passing himself off as any sort of artist.  My friend is not short of work.  There are enough people around that see the value in what he does.  It's just not worth it for him to get a pre shape -that's just roughing out as far as he's concerned.



Where do I start.

Firstly it would have been good if you had post the PM that you wrote to me on here, you know what I mean don’t you Surfding!

I gave my thought while you hid behind your PC and gave me everything from your contest results, who you surfed with at pipeline (and there were quite a few names)  then ended with a hurtful accusation/ussumption towards my business… who are you? Do you know me? But this is what you publicly want to write and I’m happy to reply…


“I have my own machine so I guess I’m soulless! I consider myself a
shaper and not a mere finisher. However according to you I’m soulless
so I must be? It’s not worth it. Sorry your 100% correct. My PM was a
private opinion. Since you are well supported by the experts on this
tread I guess your statement has been validated. So I stand corrected.”

I never said the use of the shaping machine was soulless nor imply anyone was a mere finisher. Yeah, I Personaly think it is boring work. I employed that the exploitation of the machine in the mass production of surfboards in places like china is where the problem lies, making cheep surfboards and floading the market.

Its like you picked two words out of my writing, put them together and fabricated a personal attack from me aimed at you and the machine.

Yes it seems a few people on this thread agree with me that the ART of Hand Shaping needs to be preserved. What’s that got to do with you anyway, stand on your own two feet.

“Machines are for KOOKs and hand shapers are the true and living Gods!”

Well big fella, you got issues that run deeper with the addition of that statement, and they’re not with me. I suggest (since your full of suggestions yourself) you take a step back and take a good look at yourself?

**“Swaylocks and the Jerry Springer show have now become one in the same.” **

I have noticed you have gained a lot of props from your fellow swaylockians, now your stating we all belong with a bunch of messed up freaks. Be careful mate, these are the people that gave you those props.

"I will now set my electrical panel on fire and load a virus into my computers.


My  Large Hitachi and my smaller one will need to be crushed and disposed of as well as my cordless planner.


Burn the Fred and my router for cutting outlines. Throw away the rail jigs because thats cheating too.


No more close tolerance blanks with custom rockers. It’s time to mow
them in. Hot wires and variacs are no longer allowed. Take a billet of
EPS if your a REAL shaper and mow it in to the perfect magic stick.
Throw away the jig saw. Sell the Band Saw, Joiner and Surface Planner.
Break out the Draw Knifes. That’s a true swaylocian. Strip it down to
the basics and shape it wearing a fig leaf!"

Come on mate, what the f@#k are you rambling on about there… call Jerry I think we got  him a real guest…?

“Take your TV out with the trash and don’t forget the PC you type your post with.”

mmm, yeah right!

“Tell your family you love them and this is good for them too!”

You bewilder and astound me! and having you even mention my family really pisses me off !

How about you forget about me because I don’t have time for people like you.







Apologies boys, we're not at school here playing on the playground.

One question I ask everyone is if you learnt to shape by hand would you say it was the biggest learning curve for you to understand how a board works, which then let it improve the shapes that you now do either by hand or a CNC?

Just want to know on that one. Cause I have a mate that annoys me cause he's designing fins and boards on his cool as CAD program at uni and is continually at me with questions like whats foil do, where should I place the bulk of the foam. Now if he spent a bit more time in the water that could all be solved and if he shaped by hand he'll learn all those answers the hard way but will have better understanding of how a board works as he'll probably want to perfect it since its gonna take some time for him to do (he's a bit of a pansy so 5hrs plus taking his time on his first board so he doesn't stuff it up would kill him) he'll study up on all the effects of rails, tails and fails, and know by hand experience rather then making 500 boards on a CNC before figuring out what works and what doesn't.

Thats not a dig at anyone using a CNC cause hey if it makes your work easier, and we're all for that go for it use it. But I sure wouldn't buy a board of a CNC artist (yes artist cause some of that stuff they do is crazy, have you seen them plasma cut steel into tiny little sculptures) whose never shaped by hand as I just wouldn't trust him to know his stuff. Could just be another poser at uni trying to impress his friends by saying he's a surfer and is making his own board so he sounds like he'll be ripper of a surfer but really he cant even do a basic turn. Get a hair cut yah muppet.

Just from an accuracy and precision perspective...

The difference between accuracy and precision is pretty much summed up in the pictures below.

Machines can aid in achieving both. And by machines, I mean virtually any tool, from a piece of dragon-skin to CNC. Of course it is possible to make a piece of crap that is both accurate and precise. Without proper context, these terms don't address function or design in general – considered in isolation, they tend to be more about quality control.

So some customer tells you they want such and such kind of board and they even give you some numbers - length, various widths, thicknesses. What kind of accuracy and precision should be associated with these kinds of numbers? Or to put it another way, how much room does the designer/shaper have to play with?

Chances are, you might be thinking, 'That's a dumb-ass question, it depends … ' or something to that effect. But now tell me if you're answer changes if the board was ordered from a milling shop -i.e. CAD/CAM?

Here's a rule which I just made up (if it already exists my apologies), in particular it's from the customer's point of view, but I believe applies in general: “Expected accuracy and precision increases (exponentially?) with the sophistication of the tool used.” Whether or not it's justified is another matter -i.e. incompetency in tool use aside.

When paradigms shift, the shift is never clean - things are always a bit fuzzy at first, and this is particularly true of standards. The level of accuracy and precision that one of your peep's will allow you when hand-shaping their board is quite different from that you'll likely get from some relatively anonymous customer, a non-peep or neep if you like. And this tolerance is likely to decrease dramatically, when you aren't hand-shaping -i.e. when you're milling, for both peep and neep. (Okay, the 'neep' shit was an unnecessary diversion, but hopefully you'll get my point.)

Right now, hand-shapers are allowed a level of grace that CNC millers aren't. This extended grace can be wrapped in all sorts of justifications, directly related to the final product or not. But, in particular, this notion that somehow when you reach for that more sophisticated tool something spiritually deep and soulful will be lost, while at the same time, a hell of a lot more is expected, seems a bit unfair, if not nonsense, not to mention somewhat inconsistent and contradictory. Tools are tools. Competency is, well competency.

Prototypes, in virtually any industry are almost always hand-shaped first. The process is valuable on any number of levels. But in this world, product is not about means, only ends (as long as you aren't producing too much toxic waste in the process.) And 'ends' are about function, -i.e. design. And the fact that traditionally hand-shapers have been given such grace when it comes to accuracy and precision probably says more about their precise understanding of functional design than a boat load of threads will likely be able to cover, but I guess that's another topic.

It's likely that hand-shaping will always be with us, for any number of reasons, but the paradigm is changing.

Admittedly, there is a lot about surfing which is transcendent. But, if the shape is up to the job, whether or not a monkey, man or machine shaped the surfboard isn't, transcendent that is. Then again there's a museum in Virginia (a state in the US) that has displays suggesting that men and dinosaurs once roamed the Earth together, because the belief in the Bible seems to demand as much. So I guess opinions on what is and isn't transcendent will differ.


I have stacks of invoice books, filled page after page of machine finishes I have done for top drawer Mfgs. and as many for 2nd string labels.

It was mind numbing to have 30 8-A’s, 45 15-NR’s and a score of other models that all become a blur, finishing one and starting the same one over again and again, but I was getting paid well for them, mind numbing all the same. Machine cuts serve a purpose, to reproduce the same characteristics reliably  time after time, but to be stalled, waiting in line for giant orders to be cut first, picking up the planer keeps the doors open and a cash flow.

I think that surfing shaper designers in the end shape time tested designs that a non surfing finisher will not see or understand the nuances to what lies before them, understand what you see and put it to practical use.

We’ve seen what grinding out numbers for quanity’s sake has done, flooded markets during a down turn in the economy, if it absolutely doesn’t need to be churned out, put your trusted workers back to work.

Yesterday at the Sacred Craft I had no less then 4 out of work top drawer shapers ask if I could put them to work ghosting for me and I am really small potatoes, one had an offer to be a machine opperater






I am a garage hack so the discussion is entirely academic for me.  

I look at the machine as a tool that has limitations, just like any other tool.  If I was in the business and part of that business involved building “standard models” of whatever sort I’m pretty sure that using a machine would be in my best interests from a productivity and consistency standpoint if nothing else.  I mean, we use planers instead of jackknives because they are a more efficient tool and enable us to be more productive, right?  

As for which process is more mind numbing, I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder.  If you’re handshaping several similar boards a day I would think it possible to describe the steps that involve roughing out the blank as fairly mind numbing after the first 100 or so.  If you’re regularly toying with “standard” CNC files to produce variations on a more customized basis then I suppose that could be mentally engaging.    

Which steps in custom shaping require the master’s touch and which can be satisfactorily completed by the shop mascot or a machine?  

I think if I ran a small volume custom operation I might consider the use of a router table and some rocker templates to expedite roughing out the blanks and to promote consistency and accuracy. I could probably still do quite a few custom variations from there.  Then again, if I were that great with a planer maybe it would end up being faster doing it that way.    

I kind of doubt that Slater would be riding his own boards in contests if he was handshaping them and glassing them himself.  And without his use of the CAD programs for those boards, several of the variations from other shapers would not be in vogue today. That includes some shapers who only do handshapes.  So who’s following whom on that one?  

I don’t think it’s entirely accurate to say that the only way we can get any innovation or refinement in design is via handshaping.     Sure, the computer shapes are based on a knowledge base that was built by the hand shapers, but regardless of how that knowledge base was built in the past it’s here now and is available as a starting point for the armchair designers to use with their own refinements.  

If you’re already doing what everyone else is doing then innovation isn’t your strong suit anyway.


Here’s a question for the gallery:  If you had a (paid for) machine for your own exclusive use and also had the ability to do both design and the operation, would it be worth your while to do many of your shapes on it?   

no way… the machine can totally do custom boards one by one.


how long does it take you to make a new template, cut the board etc…??

if you are good on the software you can totally do a new model probably faster than by hand with more precision. the machine is limit less.

the only argument is that the sacred art everybody is talking about or only handshape is.


you guys should try the machine before you post.


like i said i love my planer and i think its more soulful to shape it by hand but i think the machine has exactly the same freedom. THE MACHINE WILL CUT WHATEVER YOU DESIGN.



Going away for a few days.

To try some new boards and get some me time.

What ever floats your boat guys, Each to there own.

If I had a machine I would use it, there is no doubting they are a great piece of machinery.

I NEVER wanted this to turn into a debate.

I just wrote about a personal experience and what is currently working for me. I’m happily busy shaping away in my bay at home and supporting my beautiful better half and  my just turning 2 year old son. I’m with them all day and rely apon no one. And that feels good for ME, thats all, it works for ME, NOW.

Good luck to all the honest hardworking people out there.



Well i will throw myself into the fray here…

 i have been making boards here on the Gold Coast for about as long as Adrian…Yorky as you know him. 

 i have seen lots of change around here. i became involded in the industry as profilers were just taking off around here and a mr Hyman started using a pantograph profiler. but i learned to Handshape. by about my 50th shape i had a few orders coming in and i was quite busy working in a large glassing factory. i thought about using a machine… i made a plug which gave me room to move from 6’0-6’4. i Gave this to A now well known german inventor of the APS3000 who was operating Nevs pantograph and building prototypes of a machine which morphed over time into the APS3000. i ran into problems pretty quick. you see i was a custom shaper (well all my orders were custom for people) everyone was different and the pantographed curve did not suit them all. so after half a dozen or so boards i shelved the machine and stuck to my hands… for another 2000 boards. my average full shape time was 40 mins

 by then i had my own little factory and bought a profiler with the factory i moved into. i made a few curves for it and used it for 90 % of my boards… i was doing about 20 boards a week with it! good repeatable boards…within the curves i had made for it.  it still took me 20 mins to finish a profile and 15 mins to profile it.  but if i had new ideas i would pull out the planer and plane away. not too bad but i had issues with that system. i would take me at least a day to make new profile curves. only to have that curve go out of date in a month…

 Along came an old friend who had bought a new generation shaping machine… using macsurf sofware they could cut me different curves an outlines etc. i was stoked to still make each board custom. i would sit in the computer room with him and tweak the curves. the finishing time was still around 20 mins a board. all good for a couple years and another couple thousand boards. 

 Along came Miki & Nev with the APS3000 software. on a dark night they took me behind closed doors signing non disclosures etc… i was a bit dumbstruck. it took me a couple weeks to play with the software and a couple sacrificed boards. (i cut 2 boards into slices to help me understand how the program worked)  i was hooked. i could design anything i dreamed up at night and get the file to Miki and i had it in my hands… i could make a 4’6" and then a 9’6" within minutes of each other… and i had all my recorded measurements i had religiously kept in all my log books from the last few years. i could cross reference all my designs and data and create it again digitally. and i was down to 15 minutes a board to finish one from out of the machine.

 Miki started getting really busy making machines. then i had to deal with the machine operators, as the Legend of the APS grew loads of shapers around here jumped in too. the cues to get boards cut got longer… the machine operators got really busy “designing” boards for all the computer illiterate shapers…

 it took me 3 years to get the funding together to buy my own… 

 i have not looked back. my boards designs are all mine, i dream then design then cut… my cuts are just what i want because i cut them all when i want with the blank i want… My chosen tool does the job i need! i produce around 30 board a week… the machine gives me the time to work on other parts of my business like the graphics i love to do. i get time to work in my shop meeting my customers and talking to them about thier orders, designing with them if they want too…

I think im using the  "machine " in the way it should be… i would probably still use it if I scaled down to 5 boards a week. its just too good being able to get exactly what i want with out the physical effort and the fortnightly visits to the chiropractor with the distorted back. i love the repeatability. my knowledge has grown so much from doing simple tiny increments of change without battling twisted blanks and bent stringers and surfed out arms, or burnt out brains from the nights activitys…

Sorry im an EX-HANDSHAPER… 

great story Dave, I think some people forget that there is a big difference between a high-volume industry pro who needs to turn out a consistent product and a hobbyist just doing a few for fun.

the machine that did it!

Well my surf trip was aborted,


Dave, so true, we have been making boards for about the same time. I remember from day dot when you were working with either DHD or Murrey Burton, one of them, and I was mowing foam tucked away at home.


I have followed the progression of your career ever since the start, and you have put a lot of time and effort into your business and I am happy for you, you seam very proud of  yourself and your accomplishments thus far, and good for you.


 I remember, way back when you said, "that’s what business is all about, building alliances" Do you remember that? That was some good advice that I will never forget, However I was and still am not that way inclined, I know it sounds a bit selfish but I Just Like doing things My way, ya know! Push things till they snap, then you know your own boundaries (If that makes sense)


We had very close factories for a long time, since the very beginning (I even fixed a few dings for you for a while)  we always seamed to do things differently.


I was very close to your workers on a personal basis over those many years. Always calling in for a chat and a beer and to see how you were progressing.


No apologies needed on being an EX-HAND SHAPER, nothing to be sorry about, unless you decide to build alliances with a land of cheep labour and pump out 1000 boards a week. But your not that way inclined are you!


Remember, "Keep suits out of surfing" that was classic.


Keep It Real Mate.




No matter what your chosen method of making a surfboard, here is why we do it.


Hey Dave, see that large white button on the top computer? well now days if you push that button, it can send a missile half way around the world.

cool ha!


Great post yorky go holden.

Thanks crex.  yeeewwww! You know it! one back for Holden!


These are our old cars, bloody big waist of money. Both 300kw.

Sooo much fun though!


…And what we got now :frowning:

Dave, so true, we have been making boards for about the same time. I remember from day dot when you were working with either DHD or Murrey Burton, one of them, and I was mowing foam tucked away at home. 

 Actually i started working at Newline Resinworx, a contract glassing company, we Glassed  Nev, Jim Banks, Thornton Fallander, Zappa, Goodtime. NP etc.

i never worked for the Pipedream arm of the gold coast eg Murray Burton or DHD.  No board company has ever paid me to shape thier boards. every shape i have done has my label on it!  so for 5 years while my day job was in production of boards. my after hours hobby was learning to shape, i was fortunate to have 20+ boards a day from aformentioned shapers go thru my hands so i got to see how things should look pretty quickly! i dont remember saying this "I remember, way back when you said, “that’s what business is all about, building alliances” Do you remember that? That was some good advice that I will never forget, "

 i have always struggled with any alliance with any other boardmaker. thats why i have always stuck with my own setup! most shapers including you have left working with me as i kept them too busy doing my glassing/sanding/dings to do thier own boards haha.

[img_assist|nid=1046552|title=keep suits out of surfing|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=410]

Cool Dave,

I knew you were working for someone in the industry, before you ventured out on your own and we met.

**Newline Resinworx, a contract glassing company, we Glassed  Nev, Jim Banks, Thornton Fallander, Zappa, Goodtime. NP etc. **

Some legends there. That would have been invaluable and a wonderful experience. 

No board company has ever paid me to shape thier boards. every shape i have done has my label on it!

I suppose thats a good thing,  good for you.

i dont remember saying this "I remember, way back when you said,
“that’s what business is all about, building alliances” Do you remember
that? That was some good advice that I will never forget, "

No problem, it was a long time ago, we’re not computers after all, Ha Ha.

most shapers including you have left working with me as i kept them too
busy doing my glassing/sanding/dings to do thier own boards haha.

so, so true. How long did that ding work last 3-4 weeks… thats right, I Left to shape for Paul Ward under the “Brothers Nielson” Label. That was a while ago. I enjoyed doing Dings, There’s $ to be made for a young bloke if you get in and work hard, also if the set up is good. You had a great set up for repairs by the way,  “go the sun cure”.

How was Bali? Get any waves? you know those balinese click, click, click, cheap photos! got any shots for Us?

Keep on keeping on mate

All the best to your young family.

have a good day




It seems from this that vertical integration is the key to having machine shapes AND soul?

Dave seems to have struck upon the idea - being a shaper who can run their own machine and then finish the board (and spread the costs/profit over the entire process).  This is a different business model to generating hundreds of preshapes a week in order to pay for the machine/overheads, etc. or paying part of your profit to have preshapes done and then transporting them to the shop to be finished.

A shaper I know well invested a lot of time and energy into getting
machine shapes “right” (he’s pretty particular about 1/32" measurements).  Months and a few dozen boards later they still
weren’t “his” boards coming off the machine - rather the operator’s
interpretation of how the boards could be done / fitted into stock
blanks, etc.  The shaper took his eye off the handshaping ball at this
time in the belief that the machine shapes could/should be able to
achieve his curves and this hurt him financially in wasted blanks, lost
orders and travel time.  He’s back to hand shaping and making money and great boards that don’t borrow their lines from “generic” files doing the rounds at cutting houses (now’s not the time to talk about (lack of) nondisclosure, is it?).

Adrian, Your first post said it all - it’s about work/life balance.  Crank up the overheads and the balance gets screwed because you’re chasing the $$.  I envy your location.  Us folks in the city have to really plan to get time for the important things (family, fishing, surf, board making hobby) - so much time wasted commuting, etc. Coming up your way December to find a place in the hills so I can get away from the rat race in a year or two.



Your right Red, i think balance is the key… i believe the Aps was designed as a tool for shapers to get the design they wanted accurately. just like most technology and progression. it gets abused as well as used… A mobile phone detonated the bali bomb… maybe we should all stick to smoke signals… 

**just like most technology and progression. it gets abused as well as
used… A mobile phone detonated the bali bomb… maybe we should all
stick to smoke signals… **

This Planet would be in a lot better shape if we had!


hello Yorky, bloody hell ,hope ure well, all this is still going on ? check out when I gave it to Micky.  Is that the pic of you with ure grom? wow , what happened to the curly white hair? haha, mate hold ure ground on this one, lol, I cant help laughing, Im pissing myself actually, 40 years next year,shaping , allergic to machines, hahahaha

. May I say , with respect, where's ure surfing pics Dave? surfer , shaper??????????//// Hey and that vodka you gave me for that young sort at the ivory that night, what was in it? I drank it , fukn hell , it knocked me. Ive told you I think you've done a good job , what ure doing , being middle ground around here, so be proud.

    I only came on here to see about Bruce Hansel , heard down the beach today he'd had a heart attack and was in big trouble, could have been the machine he's been working for for the last year or so , na , any info please on that , he's a good mate of mine.

 so should I be sorry if I stirred some shit, ooooh obviously. Yorky , Brian Ingam was the last guy who shaped a board for me, wish I had a secret machine , body hurts , haha , take care mate, oh wait , you know how you get those pics from Ulu's , got 1 , @ 54, cheers, H.