Thursday, 3 October 2013

Build Surfboard Shaping Stands for under $90

Surfboard shaping stands
Namaste Shonky Shapers and welcome to this installment of building a set of surfboard shaping stands for under $90. A good set of shaping stands are a must when you're building any kind of surfboard but they can be expensive and they can set you back as much as $350 - $400. Most of the stands on the market are of the welded steel type and are pretty schmick but the price tag can be a bit of a deterrent. 

"So why not make a set, Wood Buddha?" I thought to myself.

What an excellent idea!

Now I can't weld my way out of a wet paper bag so I decided to look at using wood as a material instead of steel. Ply is cheap, strong and easy to work with so that's what I ended up going with. The other requirement was that I wanted the stands to pack away easily when I wasn't using them so they had to be easily disassembled.

So the result was a set of stands that are easy to build, relatively inexpensive, can be disassembled when not being used and very sexy. I bet you didn't think it was possible to build a set of stands that look this sexy for so little coin. I mean, take a look at them. Aren't they the duck's plums? The Jennifer Hawkins of shaping stands? I think so, but then again I've been spending a little too much time in the shed lately. I really need to get out.

"So how do you do it for so little money Wood Buddha?" I hear you asking. Easy Peesy Japaneesy. Read on Oh wise and noble reader. 

By the way, the cost can work out even cheaper because one sheet of ply will actually make two sets of stands. So if you go halves with a mate you can save some more dosh. Alternatively you could build yourself one set of stands for shaping and a second taller set for glassing.

Firstly, let's run through the material list. You'll need

1 x 1200 mm x 2400 mm x 17 mm sheet of CD ply ($65). CD ply is used in the construction industry for flooring. It is strong and waterproof.

2 x pool noodles ($6)

1 x tube of Selley's Shoe Glue ($6)

20 x 50 mm x 8 gauge screws

4 x 12 mm x 50 mm bolt and wing nuts ($10)

I've drawn up some very rough plans of the stand ends and the middle brace with some measurements. You can adjust the measurements to suit your height and the type of boards you would typically shape. I'm a tall bloke and I mainly build long boards so the measurements suit me fine. The height of 1050 mm is good for my height and the middle brace length of 1200 mm is good for shaping long boards. If you're not sure, build the stands as per the measurements below, screw the stands together without gluing up the pieces and give them a try. You can always unscrew the pieces, cut them shorter, and then screw and glue it once you're happy with the height and length of the stands.

The shaping stand ends. You'll need two of these.

The middle brace. You'll need one of these to join the ends together.

Firstly, let's start with the CD ply. I buy this from Bunnings where they also have a cutting service. It usually costs a couple of bucks to get the ply sheet cut but I've found that if the cuts are simple and I'm nice to the bloke operating the machine I usually won't get charged for the cutting. I got the sheet cut for two sets of stands.

The Stand Ends

4 x 1050 mm x 300 mm
4 x 500 mm x 100 mm

The Stand Middle Braces

2 x 1200 mm x 200 mm
2 x 1200 mm x 100 mm
4 x 300 mm x 100 mm

I get the sheet cut length ways to minimise waste.

2 x 300 mm wide x 2400 mm long
1 x 200 mm wide x 2400 mm long
3 x 100 mm wide x 2400 mm long

Getting the CD ply cut on the machine.

 12 mm bolts and wing nuts. The wing nuts were lying around in my shed. A gift from Mr. Wood Buddha Senior who was a Fitter and Turner.

 8 gauge phillips head screws.

 Selleys Shoe Glue for gluing the pool noodles. This stuff can stick teflon to ice.

 A pool noodle form Crazy Clarks. Used for padding.

 The stand end with board slot cut out using a jigsaw or bandsaw. The bottom corners of the slot are rounded using a holesaw or Forstener bit. I also chamfer the top corners.

 The base is fixed to the stand end using three 8 gauge screws.

The middle brace fixed together using 8 gauge screws. 13 mm holes are drilled in the end plates for the 12 mm bolts which fix the middle brace to the stand ends.

 Another view of the middle brace showing the top plate.

8 gauge screws fixing the top plate to the middle brace.

 The stand assembled.

Side view with the pool noodle padding. I use the Shoe Glue to glue the pool noodle foam together. I cut the foam down one side length ways and slide it into the slot.  

A view of the middle brace connected to the end.

A close up of the middle brace end plate bolted to the stand end.

Finished and ready to go. A coat of varnish and it'll be as flash as a rat with a gold tooth.

One in the slot.

...and one on the top.


  1. A nice tip re. the pool noofle padding, thanks.

  2. Nice looking setup! I really like the fact it can be broken down when not in use.