The Minimalist’s Budget Surfboard Shaping Set Up

Budget Surfboard Shaping
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If you’re just getting into surfboard shaping or fin making, you don’t need to go crazy on your tools and work space.

Here’s my philosophy – if you can learn the mechanics and basics of something with the minimum equipment, you’re going to excel faster and better utilize the tools when you do decide to upgrade.

When you’re first starting you’re going to screw up. Mistakes are part of the process.

This page aims to outline my recommendations for the minimum tools and setup you should consider when shaping (or reshaping) a board out of a foam blank.

Minimum Work Space for Shaping & Glassing a Surfboard

For a space to work, you can keep it simple, but you should be sure you have a way to contain and clean up your mess. It’s going to get messy.

  • Shaping/glassing rack – can be made simply out of 2x4s and some foam/tape/carpet or can be improvised out of saw horses or garbage cans.
  • Tarp/drop cloth.
  • Florescent Lighting – preferable side, but you can get away with overhead.
  • Vacuum/broom.

Minimum Tools & Supplies Needed for Shaping & Glassing a Surfboard

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  • Planer – it can be low end. Look for one with depth adjustment and a weight and handle that feel comfortable for you.
  • Sandpaper (100-320 grit or so).
  • Sanding screen (220+).
  • Sureform or file.
  • Sanding block – made out of wood or dense insulation foam.
  • Variable speed sander/polisher with sanding pads.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Pencil/pen.
  • Mixing/measuring cups.
  • Brush.
  • Squeegee/spreader.
  • High-temp masking tape.
  • Sharp scissors.
  • Eye-protection.
  • Dust mask.
  • Gloves.

Most of this stuff can be found at your local hardware store. Your local surf shops probably have a few shaping supplies too.

You can also make some measuring devices and templates out of scrap ply or heavy paper you’ve got laying around.

That’s really all you need to make yourself a pretty decent first couple of boards. Have fun with it. Don’t overthink things too much.

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