Shooting Board


A shooting board is used to trim and clean up crosscut edges with a handplane.  There are many variations, some of them quite fancy.  The basic form has three parts: a platform to place the workpiece on, a fence to align the workpiece, and a runway for the plane to slide on (turned to one side).  The runway is lower than the platform because unless a rabbet plane is used, the blade does not extend all the way to the side of the plane.  So the workpiece must sit higher on a platform in order to make complete contact with the blade.

The only “bells and whistles” element I added was to ramp the runway.  This allows more of the plane blade to be used, and creates a slightly shearing cut.  The ramp I made is pretty shallow, so I’m not sure how effective it really is.  I sawed, chopped, and planed a piece of 3/4″ poplar to make the ramp.

For the platform I used a piece of birch plywood.  I ripped a thin piece of solid wood and glued that on the edge where the plane will ride against.  Probably not necessary but I thought the plywood edge might tear out.

I used a piece of 1/8″ MDF as a base underneath the other parts.  To raise the platform high enough above the ramp, I added some 1/8″ MDF scraps.  I glued the scraps to the base and the platform to the scraps.  After that was dry, I glued the ramped runway to the base.  I also cut down a piece of 3/4″ wood and glued two pieces together to make a 1–1/2″ square fence.

I added a piece to the bottom along one edge as a hook to hold the shooting board against the workbench.  Then I carefully aligned the fence with a square and attached it with screws.  It may need to be removed and tweaked over time to maintain the alignment.  It is important that the side of the plane is precisely 90° to the sole, and the ramp, platform, and fence also aligned properly so that the edge of the workpiece will be square after using the shooting board.

I put some beeswax on the runway and buffed it to allow the plane to slide more easily.  The platform and fence I left unfinished, to grip the workpiece.  Some sandpaper could be glued to the fence for extra holding power.

The shooting board seems to work ok, though my technique needs some practice.  I am using my Veritas low-angle block plane, but could use a larger plane.