How To Use A Shooting Board

How to Use a Shooting Board

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If you have never used a shooting board for squaring up the ends of wood and finalising rough-cut mitres, you are in for a treat. Nothing works so beautifully for perfecting such cuts, and the pure bliss of slicing off those onion skins to seat the two faces perfectly is second to none. It’s self-explanatory to make one of these, but showing it in use demystifies how they work and why they work so very well. You must make one for yourself. It’s another lifetime piece of equipment for the cost of wood scraps and an hour of your time!

34 Comments

  1. straff1 on 3 December 2020 at 11:06 am

    I am going to start to make one of these. Do you / can you get the perfect 90* on the sacrificial wedge by using the shooting board itself?

  2. john harrison on 3 December 2020 at 11:26 am

    Thanks the last bit was very Punny

  3. dpawson on 3 December 2020 at 11:35 am

    Paul (sorry, bit off topic)
    Where did you get the depth gauge for your Record Power drill press please?

  4. Andrew Standiford on 3 December 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Anyway we can get the build plans for this shooting board? And thank you for posting this video. Very beneficial for a newbie like me

  5. Jim Smith on 3 December 2020 at 1:37 pm

    It would be beneficial for us to have a tutorial on constructing the shooting board, although it appears to be relatively straightforward

  6. gridiron on 3 December 2020 at 1:45 pm

    There is a video of Paul making a shooting board on this site and in other places on the internet. Looks like it is the same shooting board he is showing here. It’s about 45 minutes long.

  7. Glen McWhorter on 3 December 2020 at 2:20 pm

    I’m working on mine right now based on Paul’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ypbvcxb-8M

  8. Peter Gaffney on 3 December 2020 at 4:47 pm

    https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com/videos/shooting-board/ for those of you looking to make your own and aren’t familiar with the site yet.

  9. jurgen01 on 3 December 2020 at 5:27 pm

    I recently made a shooting board according to Paul’s design. It replaces an earlier, sadder version of a shooting board — which is now a bench hook. The new one works very well and I could not be more pleased.

    Thanks for the design and the inspiration!

  10. Fred Pierce on 5 December 2020 at 12:23 am

    I particularly like the one stop Mitre creation whereby your shooting board transitions from the cutoff step to the shooting step without the delay of extra movements……. I do think it would have been useful to point out the little Rabbet like ledge created in the shooting board during the initial preparation of the shooting board which makes it possible to scootch up the end of your board and actually remove material from that end. You did show us the part of the plane sole that doesn’t cut but no graphic mention of this all important ledge it creates….. I could actually see the ledge in the video however.

  11. Brian Barney on 5 December 2020 at 3:56 am

    For plans for Paul’s Shooting Board look for the free video he downloaded 8 years ago. I built mine using his instructions 7 years ago and still use it a lot.

  12. David Alvarez on 5 December 2020 at 10:56 am

    Like Jurgen01, I also built one of your shooting boards of this design (from yellow pine and MDF) for an earlier project, but unlike him/her I was less successful in its execution, at least in the long run. On the project I built it for (last year about this time) it worked perfectly, but several months later the wedged stop on the 90 degree side loosened up and I was forced to screw it in from the bottom. I also had to build an auxiliary fence (screwed into the main fence) and shim it out with pieces of paper to get the micro adjustment on the 90 degree angle perfected. Any reactions to my ‘hacks’ or tips from the master would be welcome.

  13. SharpPencil on 6 December 2020 at 12:12 am

    Thank you Paul….I made one years ago when you first showed it to us……because my 45 deg is a tiny fraction out I have glued a thick shaving to rest stock against and get 100% perfect mitres.

    Thank you again ….John 2V

  14. Hugues on 9 December 2020 at 9:20 am

    I do a lot of picture framing and I can insure you that no chop saw or miter saw is perfect enough to directly get a pristine miter. Using a miter saw, a miter might be perfectly cut at 45° and square to the edge, but any saw leaves ridges on the end grain. So my miter saw is only used to quickly cut parts in series to the correct size. The passage on the shooting board is essential to obtain a perfect miter. Alternatively, there are professional miter trimmers or guillotines, but I find nothing is as versatile and practical as the good old shooting board.
    Sometimes I use a sanding block instead of the plane for delicate moldings.

  15. William Balmont on 10 December 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you, great video. I also made mine a couple of years ago but struggled to get the angles exact, so it never worked perfectly. Still, that was then good practice to try and clean up in the vice freehand. I will attempt another hopefully more accurate shooting board soon.

  16. Jon on 17 December 2020 at 11:22 am

    “This Is going to see me out I’m pretty sure….” this and the joke at the end had me laughing this morning. Thanks!

  17. Craig Medvecky on 23 December 2020 at 10:29 pm

    What do people do when the board that needs mitre is taller than the shooting board or the width of the plane blade? For example I have some face moulding that is 4 inches tall I’d like to mitre it, but it it is way too tall for a shooting board.

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 15 January 2021 at 11:58 am

      Hi Craig,

      Paul says:
      It is best to freehand this in the vise on edge if possible. Using the back edge of the board, the long point, to register the 45-degree aspect of your square against and the back face for the square front-to-back aspect.

      Izzy

  18. Roberto Fischer on 24 December 2020 at 3:30 am

    How about making a spring board where the plane run slides at an angle? Then the board lays flat on is long side.

  19. Roberto Fischer on 24 December 2020 at 3:30 am

    By spring board I meant a shooting board. Got corrected by my phone.

  20. Benoît Van Noten on 24 December 2020 at 9:55 am

    To Craig Medvecky:

    use a mitre jack:
    search for “building-la-forge-royale-miter-jack” on the Benchcrafted site
    video at the bottom of the “how to” links list.

    sometimes there are old ones on e-bay.
    in French look for “boîte à recaler”
    One can order one (not in stock) in France to gaignard-millon.com

  21. Sam Lc on 10 January 2021 at 5:23 am

    Craig, you might want to google “donkey’s ear shooting board”. I think that will give you what you’re looking for.

  22. Colin Scowen on 10 January 2021 at 9:32 am

    The most detailed explanation of shooting boards and their use that I have seen is this video.
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BobRozaieskiFineWoodworking/videos

  23. Larry Geib on 10 January 2021 at 9:44 am

    Craig-

    As noted above, Benchcrafted has blog posts on the mitre Jack and a hardware kit they sell
    Lake Eire Toolworks also has a hardware kit.

    And Redroseproductions makes them for sale using Benchcrafted’s design and hardware

    And there are several other styles. A pretty overview is here:
    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/ShootingBoard2.pdf

    It covers most styles. There are a couple more for metering box sides, my favorite of which is here:
    https://www.finewoodworking.com/project-guides/shop-projects/a-shooting-board-for-case-miters

  24. Larry Geib on 10 January 2021 at 9:48 am

    Redroseproductions will also sell you a really nice set of plans for the benchcrsfted jack.

  25. Richard on 6 February 2021 at 7:46 pm

    Does Paul mainly use shooting boards on smaller pieces? I’ve noticed a lot of times he will just plane down to his knife wall while the piece is held in his vice.

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 18 March 2021 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Richard,

      Paul says:
      Yes, I do use a shooting board as well sometimes.

      Izzy

  26. Michael Paulsen on 7 February 2021 at 6:23 am

    How do you make a shooting board without a shooting board? I can’t manage to get the parts that are supposed to be square, square!

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 18 March 2021 at 3:07 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Paul says:
      It is not a problem just planing without a shooting board but consider screwing parts together to make the shooting board pieces.

      Izzy

  27. Colin Scowen on 7 February 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Which parts are you talking about? Realistically, all you need are two straight edges fixed at ninety degrees to each other. These get put on to a baseboard that the plane will slide on. You should be able to get straight edges with the plane you have. If the problem is finding a reliable ninety degree, you can always use a sheet of paper.

  28. deanbecker on 7 February 2021 at 6:56 pm

    Glue two boards together.the one on the bottom wider than the topso a plane rides on it.
    Take a square block and glue it to the top ona 90’degree angle.
    To get it square set the plane on the bottom tight against the top and put a square against the sole and the square block against the blade. Thats a way. Or watch paul make a dandy one search it out on the site

  29. Larry Geib on 8 February 2021 at 9:45 am

    If you don’t think you can glue the block on square, Hernan Costa from Buenos Aires has a method that uses a secondary piece you can use to adjust the alignment.
    https://youtu.be/bmAU0HwwbQc

  30. Jon on 8 February 2021 at 11:01 am

    I suspect that it’s speed vs skill vs precision. The shooting board was easier for me to square end grain when I was newer. Now that I’m more confident, especially in sharpening, it’s quicker to plane in the vice. When I tried it before I snapped (blew out) a lot of unsupported edges. Paul knows he’s not going to blow out the edge and he know he’s going to end up square so he cuts out the step of pulling out the shooting board. My skills aren’t there yet.

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