Mar 29 2009
One of the coolest things about hand planes is the finish they leave behind. We have all seen the finish quality they are capable of free hand, but when you put hand planes on jigs, a door is opened and passed through where clean, straight, and angular accuracy becomes something that is hard to obtain in any other simple way.
Yes, I am talking about shooting boards.
Whether you are hybrid with machines and hand tools or hand tools only, shooting boards are one of the gateways to fine woodworking. Sure there are many gateways, but the shooting board in its different configurations provides the cleanest edge and end grain cuts to the finest accuracies, the most spectacular fit and finish, and it puts this capability in the hands of any woodworker.
I have always enjoyed making and using woodworking jigs, and have made a number of shooting boards over the years. I have thought about many different designs for a long time. Most often, the average basic shooting board is a single function tool that becomes inaccurate with wood movement.
I’d have one that did this, but not that, and wish I had one that did something else, but that soon became a stack of inaccurate single function shooting boards, and most of us don’t have the space for that. It’s true; there are some very specific types that are meant to cover specific uses. Others are great for general work, but the worry over wood movement and long-term accuracy causes some folks to question how much energy to put into the making of their own.
I decided to design a line of shooting boards that truly are precision tools, using a main design that encompasses the many qualities that I felt most woodworkers would most desire and need in a shooting board. Reinforcing as many strengths as I could and using only the best materials while diminishing the weaknesses where possible. Offering them affordably to woodworkers who are interested in shooting boards that can each cover a lot of fine woodworking situations with very high accuracy, yet may not want to build one of their own.
While we do offer quite a few different models, they are all very capable and accurate. They run from mindful of tool budgets to full on capable while addressing the woodworking needs and various planes available to the woodworker. To purchase one of our Shooting Boards, just click the “Store” button in the top menu above.
Our Shooting Board designs utilizes a pivot fence. Made from Baltic Birch for durability and stability in most any climate. It’s adjustable and calibratable for square as well as any of the offered angles. We offer it in 15, 22-1/2, 30, 45, 60, 67.5 and 75-degree angles. The base measures approximately 14-3/4 inches square. The plane chute is 2-3/4 inches wide and ranges from 14-3/4 on our standard size, 22-1/8 inches on the Wide Board™ models, to 29-1/2 inches long on our Long Grain™ models.
The lift rises 1/2 inch above the chute to assure a firm squaring registration with most any maker’s planes. The fence, 11-1/2 long by 1-1/4 wide, is positioned 3 inches from the back edge for planing stability in the chute, leaving a full 11-1/2 inches on the standard, 18 inches on the Wide Board, and 24 inches on the Long Grain models nominally as shootable usability for the work piece. The base has been sanded to 150 grit overall to improve traction on the bench and work piece. The Chutes are sanded to 400 grit. The Shooting Board has been finished with Watco Teak Oil, a user repairable finish, and the Plane Chute has been waxed to aid smooth shooting operations.
Steel T-Nuts that are precision counter bored, pressed and epoxied into the base provide 5/8 inches of steel threading to assure accuracy and lasting structural integrity through years of adjustable use. The cleat hooks the unit to the bench with four 1/4-20 flat head socket cap screws tapped directly into the base, and countersunk into the cleat for a very sturdy connection.
A dust groove runs along the left side of the chute to help assure that dust and shavings don’t foul the shooting plane’s accuracy during use. Accuracy here is 0.001 inch for straightness. The chute is also coplanar to 0.001 with the top of the board.
Steel Button Head Cap Screws with Brass Knurled Knobs assure a long lasting, secure, comfortable way of adjusting and fixturing the fence. Under both knurled knobs, a brass washer protects the fence from wear. The fence has a small-elongated slot machined on the calibration side that matches the pivot radius, so the fence can be calibrated to the drafting squares accuracy in any climate or wood moisture condition.
Fence calibration is easy and inexpensive with $4.00 Drafting Triangles available from nearly any good office supply store in their drafting supplies section. The 8-inch 45-45-90 square and 12-inch 30-60-90 drafting triangles assure the best registration. Other angle finders such as adjustable drafting triangles and various styles of protractors and protractor squares can be employed to find the other angles as well.
Here the fence is being calibrated to shoot in the square position. Simply loosen the fence fixturing knobs. A 45-45-90 Drafting Triangle is positioned between the fence and the sole of the shooting plane. The shooting plane is positioned with the toe end at the fence, and the plane sole is pulled firmly against the left side of the plane chute. The fence is then positioned so that there is a tight fit of the triangle between the sole of the plane and the fence, and the fixturing knobs re-tightened. You can also use machinist squares, combination squares, and vernier protractors with rulers from the edge of the chute. THe accuracy of your set up tooling is transfered to the jig. It just takes a few seconds. This assures total shooting accuracy every time you use the Shooting Board, any season of the year.
Here the fence is being calibrated to shoot in the 30 degree radial position. A 30-60-90 Drafting Triangle is positioned between the fence and the sole of the shooting plane. The same procedures for squaring the fence are repeated.
Here the fence is being calibrated to shoot in the 45 degree radial position. A 45-45-90 Drafting Triangle is positioned between the fence and the sole of the shooting plane. The same procedures for squaring the fence are repeated. This is the woodworking secret to perfect mitered corners, perfectly squared ends, perfected dimensional accuracy in layout.
Here a Lie-Nielsen 62 is engaged in shooting square the end of a board, the angle cut on the fence near the knurled knob is used to shoot at any angle other than square. Simply flip the fence over so this angled portion faces the work piece and recalibrate.
Here is a look at the fence, sole, chute relationship, where the wood if engaged would be being pared square by the shooting plane. A fine adjustment and a sharp blade is desirable.
This is a look at the hand position, fixturing the board to the hook portion of the Shooting Board. A firm grip on the side of the plane body near the blade bed pushes the plane forward while holding the plane against the left edge of the chute.
The Stanley #4 is a viable shooter when sharp. Here is it shooting the end grain of Panamanian Rosewood Veneer. Veneer can be trimmed long grain and on any miter angle using this method. Starburst or mitered veneers anyone? See? The planes you have right now can be shooting board planes. In fact, with any of our shooting boards, any plane you like, a ryoba saw, the woods of your choice and a bottle of hide glue, you can be woodworking with a kit capable of beautiful, very accurate work.
Our standard size Shooting Boards can shoot long or end grain to 11-1/2 inches.
As shown, the Plane Chute measures 14-3/4 by 2-3/4, which will accommodate Lie-Nielsen’s #9 Iron Miter Plane and 62 Low Angle Jack, the Veritas Low Angle Jacks, both LN-51 and Veritas Shooting Planes, as well as other Infill and wooden miter and non-miter planes. Any of the Stanley Bailey and Bedrock planes are suitable for use, and a even block plane, particularly a low angle models can shoot to the 4/4 material thickness range.
For the best results when using a plane for shooting, the soles should be square to the sides of the plane body, the iron sharpened to the equivalent of an 8000 grit waterstone and stropped. The side and sole of the plane waxed and the iron set for a thin shaving of .001 or less.
When shooting, a firm grip on the plane on the side of the sole positioned near the plane bed at mid-plane, with the shooting board firmly hooked against the bench or fixtured in the face vise. The other hand fixtures the work piece against the fence.
In order to reduce the possibility of tearout, consider making your first cuts to the work with the index finger only of your left hand between the work piece and the fence near the plane chute, so as to skew the work towards you at a slight angle. Take a few passes with the plane here, so as to relieve a slight amount of material at the back of the area being squared. Then place the work piece full against the fence and shoot the edge, stopping when you have planed to the area you relieved. With experience, you will be able to determine for yourself when this method will be most helpful.
When shooting angles other than square, it may occasionally be helpful to fold an eleven inch strip of 150 grit sandpaper cut 1-1/4 inches wide in half, lengthwise, and place it between the work piece and the fence to help resist slipping. This is particularly helpful when working steep angles.
We offer offering our full line of affordable shooting boards (the deluxe shooter model is shown) in right or left handed versions, please visit the Evenfall Studios Online Store. These boards are craftsman made by right here, built for accuracy and longevity. Meant to be a durable, serviceable tool that helps promote the ability for any woodworker to work at the finest levels of woodworking accuracy.
Customizations are possible! Please feel free to contact us and discuss your needs. We also have a full range of accessories available for all our boards, such as extra fences, taller fences, fences for any angle, planing stops, even board lifts that match shooting board height as an aid for leveling long work. All optional for accessorizing these tools, helping them do more, and custom made to order.
To place an order, visit our store, select the shooting board that best fits the work you do and the planes you have then simply click to order. Our payment processor is Paypal, but you do not need a PayPal account. Visa, MC, Amex, Discover and Debit is also accepted. We offer 5% off listed pricing for paper transaction purchases, We accept personal checks drawn on US banks in US funds, and USPS Money Orders. Please contact us if you would like an invoice for a paper transaction. International transactions are welcome using PayPal.
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© Copyright 2009 by Rob Hanson for evenfallstudios.com All Rights Reserved.
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