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Making surfboards requires a modest but quite specialized set of tools. Some of these tools are easy to find at your local hardware store or large store, but some are harder to find and only available at special shaper material suppliers. Our online store has a wide assortment and an ever-growing catalog to meet everyone's needs.

It is possible to build a surfboard from start to finish without power tools. If you plan on building just one board, it might not be worth investing in a full set of power tools. But if you think you want to move forward, it is highly recommended to invest in some specialized tools both manual (surform, planers, pads, etc.) and electric (planer, variable speed sander, vertical milling machine, etc.) in the board-building process. .

There is not a single "ideal" list of tools, just like there is no "ideal" way to build a surfboard.

If you do not want or can create your own "factory", it is always possible to rent professional workshops at our SURFCOVE - SHAPING BAY , where you will find everything you need to produce a surfboard in complete safety. This is a new project born in Italy to meet those who want to embark on this adventure in complete safety without having to invest in the purchase of premises and tools, a place where you can socialize with other shapers and maybe have a beer in company.

That said, what follows is a list of tools you will need to maximize your chances of getting a good end result. These tools can be used for both polystyrene and polyurethane foam:



  • Electric planer ; you can do without it, both the professional one adapted to shaping and a normal commercial plane. It is not recommended for your first board because its use on a foam must be well tested or you risk doing irreparable damage. It can be useful for the beginner who has to trim a whole block of EPS.

  • Electric router cutter; it is not a necessary tool in shaping but it is for the installation of the boxes. You can do without it if you choose to use FCS X2 type plugs (the old FCS cups). In this case, a drill and a 32mm diameter cup is sufficient to install your plugs.

  • Spokeshave , or mini two-hand plane to plane the stringer in curved areas.

  • Gauge for measuring thicknesses ; fundamental tool in professional work; this too can be easily built with a plywood panel. Cut two curvilinear pieces capable of measuring the center of the board, therefore at least capable of reaching half of 22/23 “with the ends, and attach them together with a wing screw.

  • Set of limes, you will need them to shape a fish tail for example; they exist on the market of very economical type. For more accurate work, finer blades such as Microplane or Surform should be used.

  • Rocker Stick; it is a tool for measuring the rocker along the entire length of the board. Even this tool, not really essential for one or a few boards, can be made with a long and perfectly straight aluminum shaft.

  • Compressed air compressor; I reluctantly included it among the options. For me it is a fundamental tool, but you can replace it less effectively, with violent murmurs coming from your lungs and brooms; evaluate well because it is a useful tool in all stages of processing.

  • Soft foam blocks for shaping. They are essential for accurate shaping of curved surfaces on the deck and bang.

In the professional world, or semi, there is a wide range of fundamental tools, which we have not included only because they are not strictly necessary for the novice shaper, to whom this guide is dedicated.


  • Shapers Square; transparent plastic square for various measurements and fin positioning. We have put it among the mandatory because it will allow you to maintain symmetry. Although expensive, you can build it with a model of about 60cm x 30cm and an extra fine tip pen. You will draw a central line "0" along the axis of symmetry, and then you will make the measurement line start at the bottom both to the right and to the left, preferably in double units of measure "cm" and inches.

  • Weights for shaping; flat gym weights or, more simply, small mason bricks wrapped in a clean cloth or in plastic bubbles for packaging are fine. You will need it to keep your blank from moving during shaping.

  • Sega hand to cut the outline;

  • Surform , or grater plane for roughing larger surfaces; excellent manual replacement for an electric plane; there are different sizes. It would be better to have one large and one small.

  • Combination of squares and protractor, whether they are from technical drawing or large ones as a bricklayer; (to measure everything in perfect orthogonality: thickness, rails, etc.)

  • Planer one-handed planer stringer in low-lying areas. If you don't want to spend too much, you can also get one of the cheap ones, knowing that you will need to be able to get a super sharp blade.

  • Sandpaper grain 60-80-120 to use the blocks to shape;

  • Hard block for short sanding; you can take a perfectly straight wood with the following measures: 115 x 230/280 mm and 2/3 cm thick so as to perfectly accommodate the standard abrasive sizes. Without spending a euro, you can attach the sandpaper using small screws; you will need it to shape your table;

  • Hard block for long sanding; you can take a perfectly straight and not deformed wood with the following measures: 50/60 x 10 cm 2/3 cm thick to which you can attach the sandpaper using small screws on the sides so as to make it interchangeable; you will need it to make your shaped lines flat with the short block;

  • Abrasive net , you will need it to quickly obtain smooth and perfect rails. Abranet by Mirka is a valid alternative to the traditional screen, ideal for all surfaces.

  • Sponge or similar material such as a block for soundproofing in construction to be used with fine paper (# 120 or # 240) to conclude the shape phase;

  • Measuring tape cannot be missing from your tools, preferably with measurement in both cm and inches;

  • Parallel Line Marker; it is an instrument that is difficult to do without. It is used to quickly tear up reference lines of all kinds. It is essential if you want to make precise lines for the cut laps, or for drawings, for the bands of the rails etc .. You can easily build it with a piece of foam or more durable with a block of wood of 10/15 cm x 3 / 4cm x 2cm to make a hole to pass another block this time smaller 1cm x 1cm long at least 15 cm. At the tip of this shaft you will drill a hole to make room for the pencil. Use a fin screw to lock the shaft to the chosen size.

  • Shaper pencil to mark, mark and sign your shape; a charcoal or mason pencil can do very well;

  • 60 cm "spirit level,

  • Dust mask, preferably at P2 protection level. The gases released by the smooth foam can cause damage to health

  • Protective ear muffs or plugs; if you use electronic tools such as planer or router they are essential protection;


  • Quality masking tape; avoid super cheap tapes to make cut laps, hot coats, and mask the openings of the plugs !! There are standard tapes from professional brands on the market that can also be used for the entire construction of the table, and special anti-chemical tapes that have a very high cost. 50mm tape is essential. There are also various measures suitable for each type of masking. If you need to make tight turns, you will need a narrow ribbon.

  • Wooden sticks for mixing products such as resins, hardeners, additives, etc. Choose flat sticks, wooden sticks like pediatricians' sticks, or even cheaper ice cream sticks. For epoxy resin, the use of flat sticks are essential to move all the contents.

  • Seamstress- style scissors for cutting fiberglass. There are various qualities, for sporadic use, the cheaper ones will suffice.

  • Soft spatula for lamination; of those generally in yellow color; useful for both epoxy and polyester resin.

  • Large hard plastic containers. You can recycle 1kg or ½kg jars of yogurt to prepare the laminating resin or hotcoat. If using epoxy, the container must be smooth and flat. Be careful not to use containers that are too thin because the catalyzed resin heats up and can break through your container.

  • Medium vessels or jars to prepare touch-up compounds or plug installation. Hard paper is also a great material for holding resin and additives.

  • Electronic precision balance. Useful if you use polyester resin, essential if you use epoxy resin whose mixing ratio must be strictly respected. A small quantity error and the table will be entirely covered with a gelatinous substance that will never harden !! Alternatively, graduated containers.

  • 10cm (4 ") or 12.5cm (5") large brushes for Hotcoating. The use of cheap disposable brushes is preferable, rather than the use of cleaning solvents, such as acetone. You will need 2 if you do only hotcoat, 4 if you will also do a gloss-coating.

  • Razor blade or precision cutter . Always useful, you cannot miss a cutter in the form of a single-edged razor blade or a precision cutter in the shape of a scalpel.

  • Protective gloves; disposable ones are fine but forget about the latex. It would be ideal to protect yourself with long neoprene gloves, but rather vinyl or nitrile.

  • Professional masking tape anti chemical agent, anti uv etc .. Expensive! It can be considered non-essential. But avoid cheap tapes. Its use will avoid possible dripping, and a lot more work.

  • Printer for printing logos on rice paper. Prefer a super cheap one with an external tray. Hardly a copy shop will put your rice paper in their machines.

In the professional world, or semi, there is a wide range of fundamental tools, which we have not included only because they are not strictly necessary for the novice shaper, to whom this guide is dedicated.


  • Electric router or one-hand milling machine is a tool that is not really necessary if you decide to make a simple table with a system of fixed fins or FCS cups; instead it becomes necessary to install long boxes, futures or the new FCS II plugs.

  • Electric drill or good screwdriver; necessary if you decide to make a table with FCS cups system;

  • Cup tip the size of your fins / leash plugs

  • Fin angle protractor (CANT) during installation. You can also build wooden templates with various angles. For the central (0 °) a 90 ° angle. For the laterals, the shaper has the power to vary; normally it ranges from 3 ° to 9 °, so your templates must have angles from 93 ° to 99 °. Just take a plywood or piece of wood and cut the chosen corner perfectly.

  • Adhesive tape for locking the fins during resin casting and plug masking.

  • Fins plug installation kit. Each fin system manufacturer offers its own specialized installation kit which will make installation quick and easy. That's not to say you can't do without it using the hand-held precision weapon. Even the installation fins, you can use old fins by making cuts to pass the tape through during installation.


  • Variable speed sander / polisher. You will need it if you don't want to do everything by hand. There are very cheap ones on the market, useful for odd jobs. I struggle to put it among the options, as well as the following associated tools, but know that with a lot of patience and hard work you can do it by hand or with other electronic tools you already have at home.

  • Pad of various densities. There are many densities, but if you really don't want to spend on it, you just need a hard one for lowering the thickness of the soft plugs to sand the board in the deck and in the bottom. An inexpensive polisher usually has a hard sanding pad supplied to which you can add a soft interface.

  • Adhesive spray; optional if you want to attach plain sandpaper to the block without using velcro.

  • Sandpaper grit 120 to rise up to 400, it waterproof. You will definitely need it for rails and other details where it is best to avoid the car.

  • Mouse / foam pad for handwriting


  • Optional adhesive spray if you want to attach plain sandpaper to the block without using velcro;

  • Polish

  • Microfiber cloth to give the final cleaning touch to your finished jewel.

Thus it can be concluded that a surfboard can be built with most of the tools and tools that can be found in any garage. Then there are some essential products and others optional. In principle, most of them can be found in hardware stores, others in specialized shops for the sale of shaper products and still others can be self-produced. Our products are always at the top and are guaranteed to be tested for the construction of surfboards!

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