March 11th, 2013 | By | 1,072 Comments

How To: Convert Your Garage Into A Shaping Bay Board Building Series Volume 1.


Be the envy of every guy on the block by converting your garage into a fully functional shaping bay. Friend of SWELL, Andrew formed his own surfboard label by building and glassing boards for a fraction of the cost. Here’s how he began the hobby that makes him part of the salty society of DIY shapers.

The Shaping Block is the centerpiece of your shaping bay. Like a saw horse, you can improvise a number of set ups. Andrew constructed his with mobility in mind to roll in and out as needed

Materials: 2 alloy wheels from an old dually truck (or 2, 5-gallon buckets)
1 bag of quikcrete
Wood: 4″x4″ 3 feet long (2ct)
2×4″ 26 inches long (4ct)
2×4″ 6 inches long (4ct)


-Cement in the 4×4 into the bucket and screw two 2×4 to the sides. The top should be just below waist high.

-Screw 6″ blocks to the top creating an even (use a level) surface to rest a board, then staple carpet in the u-shaped saddle to protect your blanks from rail dings.

The next step is creating an organized set-up for your shelves and lighting. Adjustable back lit lighting is crucial for seeing curvatures and shadows in the shaping process. Here’s a quick tutorial on basic shelves and lighting.


A hard pegboard is perfect to keep your tools at your fingertips, and at $20-$30 it beats buying some spendy toolbox. At this point you have the framework to start making foam dust

Shaping tools:
Surform: Tool for shaving thickness out of nose and tail; shaping rails and concave
Spokeshave:Tool for cutting the stringer in the nose rockers
Block Plane: The most popular high quality large hand planer among shapers
Pull Saw: Japanese style Bear Saws made to cut on the pull stroke, protecting the blank.
Finishing Sanding: 40 g Paper, 80g Paper, 80g Screen, 120g Screen, 220g Screen, sanding block
Shop Vacuum, Dust Mask, Level, All these tools can be purchased  at EZ Foam or your local surfboard supply store


The shaping bay should be a self-contained space, but can still function as a parking space…just not at the same time since foam dust and resin is corrosive and messy. In fact, you’ve probably noticed much of the supplies are improvised or recycled material so you’re not investing to much into stuff you’re going to coat chemicals. Be sure to cover any exposed valuables with a drop sheet and visqueen.

In the next volume of our board building series, Andrew shows us the basics of shaping your own blank.

Not a fan of inhaling foam dust? Check out the massive quiver of new surfboards at SWELL

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