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San Diego Surfing Home > Surfing School > Shaping - Surfboard Template Building

Surfing School - Shaping - Surfboard Template Building

Shapers have several nose and tail templates that can be combined in various ways to produce virtually any design they want. Templates are usually made out of fiberboard or plywood. Great care is taken to keep edges smooth and lines free of bumps. When a particular finished board performs in an outstanding manner, a shaper will often make a new template in order to preserve the design he has created.

The easiest way to make a template is to find a board close to the desired shape. Lay the board upside down on top of a 1 to 1 1/2 foot wide sheet of thin plywood setting the center stringer of the surfboard exactly even with the straight edge of the plywood. Carefully trace board's outline making sure the pencil is perpendicular to the plywood at all times. This prevents an imperfect representation on the plywood. The line should be drawn solid so it is easy to see.

Next, take a jigsaw and slowly cut the template out. Have the blade of the saw (use a finer tooth blade) cut just outside the edge of the line and not through it. Take the rough template and clamp each end to a solid object about waist high. Starting at one end using 60 grit sandpaper and a sanding block, make one continuous sweep to the other end while applying even pressure. Repeat the process back and fourth three or four times until the template has a smooth uniform edge.

This type of template will last for years and can be used many times. If the template is to be used once and discarded, cardboard can be used in place of plywood or fiberboard. In this case, use an Exacto knife to carefully cut directly on the trace line of the cardboard. The cardboard should lay flat on old plywood to allow cutting without damaging the plywood. No further smoothing is required and the template can be used immediately.


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