Hand Tools Archive

Use of the shooting board
Response To:
V11 vs. O1 end grain ()

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
I have a healthy lazy streak so I tend to do whatever I find efficient to get something made and in service Where I wind up, of course, depends on what I know, what I can successfully do and what I have to do it with. For me a plane is the best way to remove small increments of wood in a controlled fashion to achieve a perfect fit. This need appears often in building case furniture.

Over time as I became familiar with a shooting board and acquired a plane that worked well on one (LV shooting plane) I found I was using this device ever more. I now use this device so much in building case furniture that it stays in arms reach of the bench. Derek, who also builds case pieces, seems to have arrived at the same conclusion.

David has shown a way to plane end grain but I will find little application for it. I do understand that mounting something with end grain in a vise and planing to a line works well, but I rarely would encounter this need for what I do. I will however, as a result of his work, take more care to change my technique on the shooting board to prolong edge life.

My use of the shooting board falls into two situations- adjusting an end to some angle (90, 91, 45, etc) and trimming to length. I used to diddle with cross cut (power) sawing to get perfect square ends or adjust an angle to fit something not 90 degrees. I find it easier to get mostly square ends and ensure a fit by a quick "shoot" across the ends. As an example I now "shoot" the ends of drawer sides to ensure they are square and to "polish" the end to see scribe lines better.

A similar application involves miters. I find it difficult to get perfect sawed miters, or I am mitering to a case that is 89 1/2 degrees on some corner. Again, rather then diddle with the saw I just saw and shoot to get the angle right.

A combination application is installing cock beading where I am trimming to length and adjusting a miter rough sawed to length and angle.

Another application is fitting. I am frequently fitting some piece between two existing pieces. I like a fit tight enough that it stays in place before gluing or nailing. No better way for me than to saw approximately to length and shoot to fit.

An exception is fitting doors. These are done with the door mounted in the bench vise and my "go to" #5 Stanley.

Now that I know how to prolong edge life planing end grain I expect to use a shooting board even more. Without the handy ergonomics of the LV plane I doubt I would be shooting nearly as much.

Summary- I encounter lots of opportunities for end grain length and angle adjusting. The handy ergonomics of the LV plane and shooting board becomes, for me, the best way to meet the need.

Thank you again David for the information that will lessen my time spent sharpening.

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