Shaping machines are a common thing of 2020 surfboard production we use them to get the initial shape then refine all the edges and important details in the shaping bay. But look back to 1964 when Larry Gordon made the first shaping machine. Here is an extract from G&S: One Long Ride.
In 1964 Larry got the idea for a shaping machine. He had a relative who was an inventor of sorts. Herb Bent had built and designed many of the machines at Gordons Plastics. They embarked on a very expensive project to create a shaping machine. Larry gave up his Saturdays for a couple of years to work with Herb. Finally by the end of 1965, it worked well enough to use on some of the models. It still tore into the board rails more than was acceptable for Larry. They continued to tinker with it as a solution to the steady flow of orders streaming in, but finally stored it to make room for additional shaping rooms. The availability of good shapers had increased and Larry was able to hire them. Later, when they moved down to the Gaines St. factory, they had room to put it up and refine its production ability.
Fast forward 30 years and the shaping machines of the 1990s were not far removed from that first prototype. It was a "master" whose shape was mimicked by a duplicating guide.
Photos: Bill Yerkes, San Diego Union Tribune