When it comes to shooting boards, Traditional designs come with limitations that have to be accepted. The downside to this is that these limitations become part of the mental lexicon that woodworkers carry in their mind when they consider the capabilities of the shooting board. I’d like to take a moment or two and address how our shooting boards help overcome many of these limitations.
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There are a lot of different opinions floated out about accuracy and precision in woodworking, and further, about how it applies in handtool woodworking. I’d like to take a few moments and help add some additional perspective from a toolmaker, and from someone who has also had a long career as a journeyman tradesman. This read is a little long, but I feel the perspectives will be helpful to us as we develop our craftsman skills.
I don’t want to overstate what others I’ve read are saying, but cumulatively I read a lot of woodworkers who write say things like: “wood has too much movement for a need to work accurately”. “Measuring is unnecessary, just match things up so that they are good enough”. I could go on, but I am sure we are all aware of what I am referring to.
On it’s face, sometimes these statements may be true, maybe only true for those who state them, but they can be precarious things to say in a context where the reason why is not well prefaced. Let me explain.
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I have been considering an occasional column on our blog, just for sharing some various thoughts and news with you, so welcome to Volume One, 2015.
For small businesses, it is often challenging getting the word out. I want to touch on the scope of our blog. It wears several hats. We are a small family business, a one man custom tool making shop. I make precision tools for woodworkers and makers. Some of the ways we use the blog is to provide methods for working that have a lot of application on any project. We also use it to help teach and inform about our tools and methods that can help woodworking become easier and more accurate for you.
Getting the word out to woodworkers all over the world about what we do and what we may be able to help you do in making is a big part of our blog. I’m remiss about not blogging more often and I do try, but it happens. Client work in the shop and the matters of life are something we all can understand in our own way. We appreciate all our subscribers and readers. Our blog is aggregated by Leif at the Norse Woodsmith Aggregator and has been for years. Recently our blog has been aggregated by Siavosh over at woodspotting.com, which is a new form of Aggregator that is growing fast and allows people to submit blogs to it. We really appreciate both of them for their their support in helping us network and get the word out. If you enjoy our blog or use it as a reference, please feel free to bookmark, subscribe directly via RSS or email as well. This helps us stay in touch and we appreciate your support.
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Through the years, I have fielded quite a few questions about shooting boards, and so I thought it might be nice to share some of the considerations with you, for your own thinking process.
Make or Buy?
That is a biggie, and it’s multifaceted. If you can make a shooting board accurately enough to suit what you need it to do, you may not be considering buying, but there are hurdles to leap.
Ask a few questions:
What is your time worth? You have a busy life, a full time job, a family that deserves quality time. When you get shop time, do you want to spend it making tools, or projects like furniture, jewelry boxes or cabinets? Time for most of us is in short supply. If you want your time spent making beautiful things for your family, then tools that can do what you need done, and directly are really nice to have.
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And I blog… If I could, I’d like a few moments of your time. I have a few thoughts I want to share.
When I began the Evenfall Studios Woodworks Blog in early 2008, I was an avid woodworker (still am) and I was running a woodworking business part time. I spent a lot of time writing to woodworking and making topics that I wanted to flesh out and help us all become better woodworkers and makers, and I did. To be certain, I still do want to continue this work.
In 2009 I evolved the business into a full time concern as a toolmaker and Continue Reading »
A well-made shooting board, built from quality materials is a tool that is capable of providing top quality results in the hands of any woodworker. Additionally, it can help develop a woodworker’s skill as well as improve outcomes for many woodworking tasks.
In it’s most basic form, a shooting board is a jig that fixtures a work piece and guides a plane so that the ends and edges of a board can be trimmed, but it doesn’t have to stop there. It’s one of the most important woodworking tools. The definition of trimming itself becomes a list of desirable outcomes from a shooting board, and with a sharp iron in a plane, it can allow woodworking tolerances to 0.001-inch accuracy.
Jigs are a huge part of woodworking, and many are single purpose built. Given the small shops that many woodworkers work in, it is valuable to have some tools and jigs that will help perform a wide range of tasks, and take a minimal amount of space for storage. Continue Reading »
Accurate cuts right off the saw are always nice, but that isn’t always reality. Sometimes we don’t need accuracy, other times getting it will make a woodworker break out in a cold sweat. Never the less, when you really need that magic to happen, you need it. Sometimes the boards are special, rare boards, with amazing figure. Other times they are just barely large enough for the project, and every saw cut has to be right on the numbers or the last board could be too short. It’s times like that when every cut counts.
Imagine for a moment what some of those crucial cuts are about. Sawing drawer fronts in a matched flitch? Figured boards book-matched where waste isn’t an option? Need to saw dados on target? Accurate angles in face or edge grain? Thick bench legs that match? (That’s a big cut!) Tenons, Finger Joints, Dovetails?
For a long time, I have wanted to develop a sawing fixture that offered great ergonomics, and high miter box like accuracy. I also wanted it to be widely capable of handling many sawing situations and allow the use of any saw, so that the right saw for the job could be utilized. First we developed the East / West Bench Hook, which allows the sawyer to do their best work, and then we developed a magnetic saw guide that helps maintain high sawing accuracy over a wide range of sawing situations, and as an added bonus, it also helps develop good sawing posture and muscle memory. Continue Reading »
We now offer a new board in our Shooting Board Line. It’s called the ‘51’ Shooter.
It’s our Deluxe, Basic Plus and Basic Shooters made available in “Chute Style” for the LN 51 shooting board planes.
While we have mentioned similar news of this recently, and have been offering chute adapter kits to be used as an upgrade to our shooting board line, it just made sense to give this series it’s own identity, and make it easier to order. Continue Reading »