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Step 6: Shaping the Rail Bands and Foiling a Surfboard

So here comes the fun part and where the surfboard really starts taking shape. For this this part I will explain my method of shaping the surfboard but some people freestyle and shape as they go. If this is your first surfboard I recommend drawing out some lines as guides like I do.

Starting with how you want the surfboard to perform will dictate the type of rail. Rail design is a very in depth and would take an Instructable equally as long if not longer than this one to cover. But the basics are easy to follow and then you can design your own.

First make perpendicular lines on the surfboard at 1 foot from the nose, 1 foot from the tail and at the middle. The basics of designing the rails is to then mark 2 lines on the deck of the blank and two lines on the side of the board. The placement of the lines are determined by the type of rail you want to shape. I highly recommend heading over to www.greenlightsurfsupply.com (affiliate link) and grabbing their PDFs for examples on how to mark the rails.

For my board I am marking the top of the board at the middle at 2" and 4" from the edge of the blank. For 1 foot from the nose I marked it at 1 1/5" and 3" from the edge of the blank. For 1 foot from the tail I marked it at 1 3/4" and 3 1/8" from the edge of the blank. Then the marks are connected using a wooden dowel as a guide, I like using a dowel because it's nice and flexible.

On the bottom edge of the board and side the "tuck" of the board was marked for this I marked 1/4" on both but leaving the last 18" of the board with a hard edge.

Now we removed the first railband which is the material between the 1st rail mark and side mark. I used the hand power planer and then sanded it flat.

Once the first band of material is removed, then I marked the mid point between the second rail mark and connect the marks with a line using the dowel as before. Then this second railband, was removed using the power planer and belt sander.

Lastly the 1/4" tuck on the bottom edge of the board was removed with a random orbital sander.

Now it's time to foil the blank to round off all the hard edges from the previous railbands that were removed. We want to blend them all together. Using a belt sander and long even passes the hard edges were brought down. I used a 60 grit belts to really remove material quickly. Try to count how many passes you do on one side and repeat on the other side. Also now is the time to thin out the blank if it's too thick. Just roughly shape the board until it's 90% to the shape you want. After chambering the board and putting it back together we need to do final shaping so leave a little extra material so that can be done later.

I'm keeping the bottom of the surfboard flat, mostly because I like a flatter bottom surfboard for speed, but now is the time to shape in a concave or any other type of bottom you want.