YOU ALSO CAN BECOME A SHAPER. THE GUIDE
PART I - DESIGN
Chapter 4 - HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR SHAPE / GLASS ROOM
Do you have a shed with rooms to use as a shaping room, a glassing room, a sanding room and a clean room to change into? Let's suppose that, like most of those who had the idea of building a first board, you don't have all of this. It doesn't matter, a good table can be done in a temporarily occupied space like a garage or, at worst, in a garden. If you are wondering if you can build a board at home, the answer is yes, it can be done! My first table was done outdoors in a garden, and it turned out well. But not the second table: in fact, there are many unforeseen events in an open space and we have to pay attention to many variables, which in my case was an unpredictable summer storm that caused a disaster. From this experience I decided to buy a small 3x2 meter greenhouse for a few tens of euros. During the last phase of the gloss-coat, the excessive heat inside the greenhouse caused an immediate but partial hardening of the epoxy resin, making it gelatinous at the end. Another disaster !!! In the meantime, I built two more tables, learning from mistakes. That board still carries all the errors (including rails, fin position etc ..). Now that many years have passed I continue to use it from time to time, and under certain conditions, it always turns out to be my favorite board !!!! With this I want to express two concepts: a table can give satisfaction even if not technically perfect. The second concept, which is of more interest here, is the fact that the more the environment moves away from a professional place, the more variables to pay attention to.
SURFCOVE , Shaping Bay in Livorno, was created to put within everyone's reach a professional space and an environment where you can compare yourself with other expert shapers.
Having said that, I repeat, whatever your space is "Yes, it can be done !!!!"
1. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WORKPLACE
Here are the characteristics that your workplace should tend to be:
AN ADEQUATE SPACE
Closed or outdoors, perhaps under a canopy, it is important to keep in mind some ideal characteristics:
To build a board you need at least 60cm of open space around the circumference of the blank you are working on, in order to allow the shaper to work on all points without the need to move the board. A small 3x2 meter space is enough to work a 6 foot blank (about 180 cm).
The floor will need to be reasonably flat to prevent your racks from moving. If you put a plastic sheet under the stands, the floors will be protected.
The outside temperature is very important. Each resin has its ideal temperature for processing. Polyester is less sensitive to temperature change, while epoxy resin needs more accurate temperature / humidity control. If you do not have a temperature-controlled room, you can still choose the most suitable hours of the day (for example at night in the height of summer, at noon in winter).
Epoxy resin does not have a bad smell and does not emit significant toxic vapors, so you can safely use it in a room temporarily lent to the construction of your table. If you use polyester resin, it is absolutely not advisable to glaze indoors. The toxic and annoying smell of polyester will keep you company for long and long periods.
The space must also have electrical outlets nearby, in order to use your electrical tools and perhaps provide lighting.
The professional shape rooms generally have all the walls painted a blue tending to celestial, which contrasts well with the white of the blanks. If you don't have a dedicated room, you can hang blue tarps (but also other colors) from the ceiling to create this contrast.
Another important element: if you do not want to find residues of resin or polystyrene / polyurethane around everywhere or the neighbors pissed off because their hanging clothes have turned white, close your work area with sheets, walls, etc. .. You will have to contain the most possible the dust that will be made.
Whether you are outdoors, in the garage, in the house or in the basement, you will make a lot of "mess" when building a surfboard. In all phases of sanding and shaping, dust, foam or polystyrene pellets will fly everywhere. Outdoors you will have neighbors or your partner, or truly Inca mother ..... !!!! We are generalizing of course, fathers or companions will normally be more lenient. If, on the other hand, you are working in a garage you will have to cover your things with tarps or you will have to dust every corner of the room. It would be better to create a room, even temporary, the shape room, which contains all the dust, where to do the shape phase and the sanding phase. In addition, you must ensure that the dust created is eliminated as much as possible. Here are some useful tips:
try to close as much as possible the room where you are going to make dust;
at the end of each work session, use a broom and a vacuum cleaner;
try to wear clothes that you will put on and take off at the entrance and exit of the shape room. Better smooth fabrics such as shirts and avoid sweatshirts that retain dust. At the end of a process they will be covered with dust; with a compressor give them a splash and leave them inside the room; you will put them back when you have to enter again.
All this is very important in order to have a clean place in the lamination and glassing phases. If you are careful and scrupulous in cleaning, you can resin in the same place where you made the shape. On the contrary, you will have problems. The biggest annoyances caused by dust and impurities are the bubbles on your resin layer.
You will have seen how in professional shape rooms there is lighting that comes from both sides of the room. These are fluorescent neon lights positioned on each side of the board in the longitudinal direction, parallel, about ten cm above the height of the rails. These side lights cast shadows along the board rails, showing imperfections. Lighting set up in this way would be ideal, but other cheaper techniques can be used:
you can rent or better still, borrow two neon lights and hang them up temporarily for use.
Instead of neon lights, a portable fluorescent torch can be used for work; moving it on the surface of the table will identify the areas that need to be machined.
Sunlight can be used; position yourself with the light behind you and observe the table that must be in front of you. As for the observation of the rails, you will have to let the sunlight arrive perpendicular to the rail and put yourself between the sun and the board. Then do the same thing on the opposite rail.
Ideal situation: along the entire length of the neon, on top, shelves are positioned which have the double function of containing the tools at hand and directing the light on the rails of the table avoiding dazzling. An additional work surface, close to your racks, be it a table or whatever you want to put all the tools necessary for the construction of the table. The tube of a compressed air compressor that comes from outside the room.
At the very least, hunting around for tools while you work can get you off a few bad words. So even if you don't have an ideal room of this type, try to strive for this ideal situation. It is certainly essential to plan ahead before starting. This can also be of vital importance when frosting, as the resin hardens without asking you if you have found your tool !!
2. SHAPING RACK AND GLASSING STAND
Before shaping the table, you need trestles to work your table with ease and without risk. It is possible to build a surfboard on a pair of simple trestles, coated to cushion the blows. However, the results will be better and you will save time if you take the time to build your own surfboard construction stands. Low costs to obtain the material and little work to build them, this extra energy will greatly improve the chances of obtaining good results.
The ideal solution would be to create two different types of stands, with different characteristics that adapt to the processing phase: the Shaping Rack for shaping and sanding and the Glassing Stand for resining. In reality, you can do it all with a single pair of tripods, capable of mixing the characteristics of both. Methods to build trestles for both stages will be outlined below. Next I will explain how to make a single pair of stands for all stages, easy, cheap and very effective.
The following two projects were taken from https://greenlightsurfsupply.com , but as I did for mine, feel free to improvise, especially as you can adapt them to the material you have or can find. You just need to make sure you have the basic requirements for both types of tripods.
The structure must be stable. It must not wobble while working on it. If the floor is not perfectly flat, just use shims under the feet to stabilize them;
The ideal height depends on the height of the shaper. In general, the upper part of the stand must be at waist height, therefore from 90 to 100 cm
The interface with which the board comes into contact with the tripod must be padded. Good padding will protect your blank and keep it from slipping as you work. It is also important to use a clean, American-type adhesive tape on the padding of your rack. Use the minimum amount of adhesive tape to maintain the characteristics of the foam trying to avoid the wrinkles of the tape that can leave dents in the blank when you press down during processing;
The width of the top of the rack is also important for the stability of the blank as you work. The "wings" on the top of the rack should be approximately 12 "(30cm) from end to end. This provides a stable platform for the blank, but not wide enough to hit us when working on it.
All shaping racks also have a "saddle" in the center which allows you to place the blank in a corner to shape the rails. This "saddle" should be 10/15 cm wide and 15 / 20cm deep and fully padded to allow the blank to sit comfortably and safely in the saddle;
Note: You can download the greenlightsurfsupply.com project at the following link https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0689/1441/files/build-a-surfboard-shaping-rack_634360b1-c14a-4376-a5cc -a4bf19c500df.pdf? 16216708058669744041
Just like the shaping rack, your glassing stands must be stable and must not wobble while frosting a table. A large paint bucket can be the ideal solution, where to make a concrete cast. Alternatively, compacted sand acts as a solid base for the posts;
Glassing stands are generally taller than those used for shaping, because when you are glazing you have to rotate the cloth up to the underside of the table, and it is more convenient to have the rail higher. Most glassing stands are around 1 meter tall, more if the shaper is taller. In general about 5/10 cm more than the waist height.
The upper support part must be narrower than the shaping rack as it must allow the lap of the fabric to rotate around the rail during lamination. It is recommended to use a support with a length of 20 / 22cm. These narrow racks reduce the stability of the blank, so you need to be a little more careful that the blank is correctly centered on the racks to keep it stable while it icing.
Finally, you must do your best to make sure that the blank is as level as possible, especially from one side of the board to the other. Since the resin is applied in liquid form, it will tend to flow down to any significant slope on the blank before it dries. You can adjust the level of the racks using wide tape by rolling more tape around the contact point that needs more height. It is important to check the leveling before each resining !!!
Note: You can download the Greenlightsurfsupply.com Glassing Stand project at the following link: https://greenlightsurfsupply.com/blogs/news/how-to-build-surfboard-glassing-stands-cheap
SINGLE STAND FOR ALL PHASES
As we said at the beginning of this chapter, a single board can also be built in classic “do it yourself” easels (padding is recommended). But without having to build two pairs of trestles, we can reduce the work to a single pair that knows how to combine in the best possible way the characteristics required by both models, one for the shape, the other for the resin coating. Below is a project found on www.surfsteve.com capable of integrating the above in the best possible way.
Notes: the project shown here, together with others, can be viewed on the following link: http://www.surfersteve.com/stands.htm
Following this S urfsteve project, you will need to get:
n.1 wooden uprights of 10x5 cm length 65/70 cm
2 wooden strips 10x50 / 55 cm 4/5 cm thick
2 wooden strips 10x10 cm thick 2 cm
screws and brackets to join (your choice)
n. 2 large home dye buckets
sand to fill the buckets
insulation foam tube to be placed on the whole part that will come into contact with your board
You can use woods of different sizes than those proposed. Go to a wood shop and see what they offer. It doesn't matter if you change the measures, the important thing is that you have the idea of the project in mind. To work on the rails, the distance can be adjusted using pieces, anvils or spacers made of polystyrene or polyurethane foam. Attention on the upright: it is preferable to make holes with the drill bit, of course with a tip smaller than your screw, before joining the pieces of wood by screwing your screws, to avoid fracturing the wood.
Once the trestles have been assembled as shown in the drawing, you will need to cover the entire interface of the trestle that can come into contact with the board with foam or an insulation foam tube (good one for one-inch tubes). You will then have to mask everything with adhesive tape, the canvas one is fine, as your masterpieces could be stained black in contact with the foam. Also by adding new ribbon, you can always have clean easels. Once the construction is finished you will have to insert them into their respective buckets and fill with sand to the brim. Buckets filled with sand can be moved and re-leveled anywhere. It is necessary to level the racks periodically by placing a level between the two supports of the stand and in the longitudinal direction. You can stiffen the structure by placing scrap wood, bricks or pieces of old surfboards in addition to the sand between the rack and the sides of the bucket.
The cost of this indispensable tool will be amortized if you decide to continue building your surfboard or even just for repairs. Purchased in the shop, the price of all the material for the construction of your easels is around 30 euros. If you make do, you can find most of the material you need without spending a single euro.
PROFESSIONAL SHAPER STAND
A professional workshop often has a tripod capable of better adapting to the type of board, the specific processing and even the height of the shaper. On Shape House there is a professional easel with all these features, designed for a workshop used as a shape room. See Pair of Stands for Professional Shaping.
Now that you also have your suitable tripod (s), it's time to get to work.