Nov 06 2016

What is a Woodworking Shooting Board?

First let’s sort out some ambiguity. This is a tool used in woodworking, and not to be confused with things that are used in the sport of hockey or firearm related sports.

Ultra Plus Shooter
The Ultra Plus Shooter.

A shooting board for woodworking is a tool which is sometimes referred to as a woodworking appliance, but for the most part it is simply a very important tool that makes a big difference in a woodworkers kit of tools.

It is a tool that consists of two separate functions while using those functions in ensemble to facilitate its operations. It is a combination of Fixture, and Jig. The fixture half of the tool is the “lift” and “fence” which is the part that the wood rests on and holds the wood still in a specific angular position so that it is “fixtured” or stabilized for trimming. The jig half of the tool is the “chute” part that a hand plane slides on or in and when pushed through the workpiece, trims a slice off of the end or edge of a board.

You could think of a Shooting Board with Plane as being similar to a Miterbox with Saw, Where the gimbal is the “Jig” that holds the Saw at a specific angle and the Box “Fixtures” the wood. The main difference being here that the shooting board is far more accurate and the hand plane creates a nicer finish on the work.

Why is this “Shooting” necessary? There are several reasons. Accuracy, Fitment and Finish being the main ones. It also allows a woodworker to safely trim work pieces, even very small ones very accurately without risking injury to their fingers with a Power Tool or Shop Machine. A powered machine would likely snatch the part from your hand and perhaps injure your fingers in the process. With the Shooting Board, the woodworker is the supply of power and discernment. The tiniest sliver of wood can be taken to make pieces the perfect angle, straightness and size all at once. It is the safest and most accurate precision tool of it’s kind.

Wood is a solid yet fibrous material. It’s hardness and fibrous qualities vary from species to species and even from board to board within a species. When it is cut, often the edge is left rough from the tooling that cut it. Additionally, while layout lines can be precise, The edge of a saw cut is often times rough, not accurate enough to be considered finish quality.

Enter the shooting board. After the board is sawn to the length or shape required, it can then be fixtured on the shooting board and trimmed to final shape and surface finish quality. It is the important difference you notice in high-quality craftsmanship.

Shooting the Work
Shooting a Workpiece.

Functionally, what’s happening is that the board is being held still, and at a selected particular angle by the fence. The edge of the board is slid over to the edge of the “chute” so that the Handplane, set to take a thin shaving can be pushed past the workpiece to trim the edge.

On the “lift and fence” half of the shooting board, the fence can be positioned to fixture the workpiece so that any number of angles can be precisely trimmed. Traditionally, shooting boards were built to fixture work for one angle. Multiple boards were employed so that additional angles could be used. Most commonly, 45 and 90° angles were what woodworkers needed most, and a shooting board was made for each angle. Today, we offer shooting boards that allow the woodworker to choose from 2 to 8 different angles for common fixturing, and we have an accessory fence, that allows woodworkers to fixture at nearly any angle between zero and 90° that they need.

On the “chute” Half of the shooting board, the hand plane being used is usually set for taking a thin shaving, somewhere in the thickness range of 0.001 inch. End-grain wood fibers are tough, somewhat difficult to cut, so the thin shaving not only helps accomplish the cut, but also provides a high-quality finish on the surface of the edge. Usually it takes several passes to completely clean up the edge being trimmed, and the finish quality of the edge once it has been finished is equivalent to the polish left behind from 5 to 600 grit sandpaper.

Straight Chute
Chutes Straight to 0.001 inch.

There are additional benefits. The “chute” of a shooting board is straight. The shooting boards we offer have chutes that are straight to 0.001 inch over the length of the chute. What this means, is that the hand plane can glide through the wood in a perfectly straight line, Transferring the straightness from the shooting board to the work, truing the board along it’s edge to a highly accurate angle and surface quality.

This is not only great for the finish but also great for the fitment of how parts fit together in any woodworking projects such as furniture, jewelry boxes or what have you. It is the one woodworking tool that allows for the manufacture of wooden parts to the accuracy level that is usually only approachable by machinists in steel.

The shooting board is the woodworking equivalent of machine shop accuracy. It’s the one tool that can clearly help anybody step up their woodworking game. Are you ready?

Simple, Straightforward Calibration at 30 degrees.

We make shooting boards, because woodworkers need a long lasting, high accuracy tool that is simple to use, and allows them to quickly calibrate accurately for shooting a wide number of angles they may encounter in their woodworking. Woodworkers needed an accurate and versatile tool that didn’t take up a lot of space, yet would allow them to simply make things with high accuracy every day of the year.

We make a number of different styles of shooting boards from which to choose:
Shooting boards in Single and Double Chute styles, Left and Right Hand models, Standard, Wide Board and Long Grain Lengths, Options for using “Enclosed Chute” style Shooting Board Planes on every model, including Single and Double Chute, Standard, Wide Board and Long Grain Models. And dont forget to check out our Versatile Shooting Board Accessories that help make Shooting on any woodworking job easier and more accurate. We manufacture to 0.001 tolerances, and offer end user calibration capability to less than one degree and is calibratable in just seconds. That is sub minute angular accuracy for woodworking. All the woodworking control is in your hands.

Please have a look in Our Store, check out the different shooting boards we offer, as well as the accessories that help them work even better! There’s probably a Shooting Board there that’s right for you!

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