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In this episode Paul Sellers shows how to make a shooting board. This is an indispensable piece of hand tool shop equipment and we will be requiring one in future projects. So, click below and learn how to make one.
Nicely done 🙂
Brilliant! thank you!
brilliant! what you are doing for our craft is simply excellent,
Classic! I’ll be making one this weekend. Thanks Paul!
Thanks Paul, nice job. 🙂
A master craftsman and teacher; a true gift. Thank you.
Great demonstration on making the miter/square shooting board. Super use for some larger and smaller cut-offs that I have laying around.
Going to try this thanks Paul.
As a suggestion and by no means a criticism, when you show your cut lists I take a screen shot on my iPad to store in my photo gallery to refer to later, however the lists are only part complete and not necessarily named for which parts. Maybe a full cut list with the name of the pieces/sizes could be shown then a picture can be taken and printed, could be a nice touch.
You have those no4’s running so well, yet t have mine quite how I want it!
Thanks for that, much appreciated.
Joseph, great job I’m sure it will be a great help to us all. Many thanks
Made mine at the weekend. Been meaning to build one for a while so this was a wonderfully well timed and informative video. Great project and a very useful appliance. Works a charm!
Post a picture on the forum if you get chance. We would all love to see how it turned out.
This is just wonderful to watch, thank you Paul for sharing your vast skill and experience.
I am enjoying these videos immensely and am so glad to see you using pine on your projects since this is what is readily available to me. Hasn’t been my favorite wood but it is growing on me as I learn and use my hand tools more.
Thank You for your efforts and looking forward to many more.
An overhead camera would be a wonderful addition. On some of your work I can only imagine what you are doing.
Once again excellently done… enjoy the way you describe the fine details as you move through the project.
Fun! Thanks for the freebie. Look forward to the online classes.
Thanks. Good video and good explanations on the little things.
What type of wood do you recommend? And what is the thickness of the boards?
You can use just about any wood. In the video Paul used Pine but you could use a hardwood as well. You can use any thickness between 5/8″ and 1 1/2″ but I suggest you stick with around 1″ thick.
Hope this helps.
How do you shoot the end of wider boards like for example the mitred joint of a loudspeaker box? Is is just a 45 degree ramp with a fence?
I know its an old question but thought I would try to answer. Do a search for donkey ear shooting board and I think you’ll find what your looking for. I plan to build a donkey ear attachment to mine soon, will post pics when I do.
Do you have a tail vice? I made a video recently showing how I use mine to shoot mitres.
Brillant, simple and clean. Congratulations.
Happy New Year to all on the forums …!!
Just a quick question on the shooting board design – when squaring a piece of wood do you not get end grain splitting away on the portion of your piece of wood that sits above the wedge or should the wedge always be thick enough to sit higher than the piece being planed square?
Second this question…
Based on Paul’s comments about making it thick in the video, the answer seems to be yes the fence needs to be as tall as the piece you are shooting.
Great video Mr. Sellers. One question for you though. The piece you screwed onto the bottom of your board, I noticed you glued it too. Is that just a (good?) habit you’ve gotten into or does the glue actually assist the screws holding power?
Hey Scott, I know you addressed the question to Mr. Sellers, but glue will form a stronger bond than the screw will. Anytime you’re permanently joining wood, its a good idea to put some glue on there.
Thanks Adam. It sounds like common sense but I never thought about it like that.
I liked the design of the shooting board. I am heading to the shop now to see if I can do as good a job as yourself. Thanks for the video.
Finished the shopting board tonight. It was nice to get detailed descriptions of each step. It repláced my other shooting board (screwed together a few months ago) and works much better. These vidos ar great!
I finally got around to making one. Now I just need to learn how to use it properly.
I made the base and the part that has the dados and, the cleat from a 1 x 12. I made the wedges from a couple pieces of 2 x 4.
I *think* the “1 by” material might too shallow. But, I’ve never used a shooting board before so, I don’t know if it makes a difference or not.
It seems, I’m able to introduce an angle to the edge of the board that’s being squared. It’s very easy to tilt the plan toward the piece (leaning onto the corner between the flat side and, the bottom of the plane). Thus causing bevel on the end of the board. I hope that makes sense.
So, maybe I’ll make another one from a piece of 2 x 12. Whew! That’ll be a lot of work to plane the base boards down to 1 inch.
There’s a picture at the link below.
i am a new member aged 72 and these videos are great for me as i enjoy working with wood as hobby , it is a new and great experience. thank you.
A hundred years from now – or more , this poem will be very appreciated .
Thank you , PS !
Hey Paul, I know this is an old topic, but do you usually finish your shooting boards with a coat of shellac or anything or just leave it as is? I just finished glueing up mine and I can’t decide if I should throw some finish to help protect it a little
No, I don’t find it of any real practical value. I use it as it is. I am more interested in what I can create with it rather than making it of lesser value. But that’s my perspective and others like to finish out their jigs which is fine too.
I’m hoping to get in with my shooting board soon, great video!
Just wondering if you have any opinions on the plane to use with it. I notice you used the trusty no.4 here and seemed to work well. I bought an old record 5 1/2 to use thinking the extra weight might help. Will anything do? Does it help to have the plane sharpened to a higher grit to shoot? Although you demonstrated end grain planing with a 250 sharpened blade….
Thanks again, the videos are great
Just about any plane will do. For shooting where the name of the game is accuracy, sharper is better.
Thank you for all of these great videos! I ordered your book and 7 DVDs set and can’t wait till it gets here! This is something entirely new to me but I believe I can do this! Thanks for the help!
In this project, the saw was used to deepen the housings, but in other projects like the bookshelves, the housings are deepened only with the chisel. If the housing isn’t stopped, how do you choose between saw and chisel for deepening the knife walls?
I think they are interchangeable. The chisel is likely a bit more precise, and the saw is faster. Since this this is a shop jig, faster is better, but you could do it either way.
Great video. Thank you for making that one downloadable.
I made my first Shooting board this morning. It only takes trying to saw a 45 degree angle on a frame to make you realize that unless you have 50 years experience sawing by hand and have calibrated your eyes, your probably not going to get a good 45 degree joint.
I will now! Thanks for the training and the video.
Happy New Year!
My old shooting board fell apart last week, so this was on my agenda for the weekend. Went together really quickly. Finally got to really put my new (vintage) Stanley 71 router plane through its paces. I must have gotten a good edge on it, because it was slicing those dadoes like butter. The wedges are a great idea. Made mine with pine, but if it works out well, I might make another in maple or something.
Will 19mm thick boards work ok? I have just enough of that lying around to build it
The first one I made was from 3/4 inch plywood so you should be good.
I bought a “cordless router” immediately after seeing this. I wish I could find out how to properly sharpen the 3 blades that came with it.
I treat mine like any edge tool, but here is a link from lee valley.
Paul, you have proven again that you teach as well as you woodwork. Thank you
Paul, is my shooting board ruined if i leaned the plane over while trimming the wedges flush? My fence is now out of square. If I re-true the wedges with the plane perpindicular will it still be usable (though still ugly). Im hoping my 5 hours didn’t go to waste. Im just getting started with the hand tool woodworking and was anxious to use my shooting board for the coaster project.
As long as the fence is not far out, so you can still register the plane on it squarely, you should be able to make it work. You can advance the wedges by planing some off the length and then carefully plane them square. Make sure they support the end grain when you are plaining your peace.
All the best, Phil
Hi Paul, when it comes to shooting mitres on end grain, what causes the plane to chatter and leave ridges? Am I doing something wrong, or is my plane simply not sharp enough, or do I need to use a low angle plane?
how would you go about adjusting your shooting board if the angles are not exactly 90 or 45? Is there any simple method to micro-adjust the angles?
This technic is described somewhere in picture frame series, if I am not mistaken.
Should have said “technique” and not “technic”.
The technique from the picture frame series is to use a piece of paper between your workpiece and the wedge to adjust the angle slightly. You can adjust the position of the piece of paper and its thickness depending on how much out of 90 or 45 your wedge is.
After watching Paul do so much great woodworking, I finally went into the garage today and made a shooting board all by hand. It was so much fun to see the steps unfold exactly as Paul said they would. Using the plane is very rewarding, and its amazing how you can see the shine on the areas that have had wood taken off, and also listen to the sounds the plane makes. I was worried about my hand saw skills but it all worked out fine. I made a 45 deg cut, planed the ends with the shooting board, and they fit perfect. I usually get frustrated swapping cords for my power tools and give up, but I finished the entire project in an afternoon. I’m looking forward to doing more projects now that I have a working shooting board. Thanks Paul for all the great videos.
Hi Paul, i’m just getting started with woodworking and i just finished my own board, but i have one question. I realised this only functions well if the side of the plane is square. My new Stanley 4 1/2 isn’t. Should it be or am i doing something else wrong? Btw. great videos. Thanks.
If the plane you have Is not square , make a square plane, you can use the blade from your 41/2. It’s easy to make a plane see the project from last year, the ones shown are small just make yours 10 inc long, use what ever wood you have even pine, you wax the runner so there is little ware,if you have questions just send a note or call if in US 856 381 2437 US eastern time.
This is one of the few situations where you can adjust the presentation of your blade to the wood using the adjustment lever so that you get a square edge to the piece you are planing. In other words, I wouldn’t worry about the absolute squareness of your plane.
I finished my very own shooting board today. It was a challenge but I was very pleased with the results. My 90 and 45 degree angles were dead on and the wedges fit tightly. What a great confidence builder for me! I know you can whip these out in your sleep but this was a big step for me, knowing that the angles had to be “dead on” as you are fond of saying.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us Mr. Sellers!
I am finishing up my sharpening die holder right now. Then I will sharpen the chisels and knife. Then I do the shooting board! Wish me luck 🙂
Good Luck! 🙂
I’ll ask this one of the group. My shooting board came out well, but the wedge for the 45 degree angles does not protrude exactly the same amount when used in each of the two 45 degree channels. My solution was to make a third wedge. But i’m surprised that a third wedge was not an integral part of the project. is there something i should have done to make sure that a single wedge can work in both 45 degree positions? just wondering.
Hi – as I live in metric land, I noticed an error in the mm values for the wedge material. It’s given as 100 x 480 x 22 which is not equal to 4″ x 10″ x 1 1/4″ (~ 100 x 254 x 32).
I was making notes as I am planning to head off to buy wood for my first project. I’m quite excited. 🙂
Made this tool too. And I managed to get a Stanley No 6 in a very good state. Only the blade had a contact with a nail. It took me 3 days to sharpen it, rest was nearly nothing as I could take advantage of Paul’s plane repairing sessions. As I am Austrian, English is not my native language, but I understand every word Paul says and on piece of W² (“Wooden Wisdom”) fits to another. And that shooting board and the number 6 – man – I tell You… My number 4 is fine, but that is a locomotive against a grasshopper.
This Shooting Board is an absolutely must-have and rocketed me foward in the quality of my stock. In July my wife has birthday, I want to build a standing watch with vitrine part below (so it will be an electric watch). Let’s see, if I am as good as needed then.
Considering what my Ohio #5 does on it, I can imaging what sharp is doing.
Finally got around to viewing this. While it’s a great fixture, I prefer separate 90 and 45 degree ones. I just never saw reason for multiple use tools. I’m sure this will help many craftspersons.
In a word, space. Some don’t have the space for 2 or 3 boards of this size. Paul’s design can easily be done as single boards, so it also probably makes sense from a teaching stand point to show the multi use board as it is a more complex design.
Hi Paul. I made your shooting board, and I am quite happy with it, except for one thing. Out of the 10 various planes (older and newer in various states of repair) I’ve checked, only my Veritas No. 4 actually has cheeks that are anywhere near square to the sole. Is this likely to be a problem, or is the lateral adjustment lever enough to work around this?
The best way to know is to lay the plane on its side on a flat surface and see if you can adjust the iron so it is plumb, checking it with your square.
I must have watched this video (and others) a dozen times by now. I could watch them all day long. Thanks, Paul!
Curious about the material Paul used to make his shooting board, the laminated plywood. I have never seen that in a wood supply store. Any information on the specific type of plywood, the smooth material used to laminate it, and how one adheres it to the plywood, would be appreciated. Although I would use thicker wood for the wedges, as recommended, it looks like using that material for the base can really help with making the plane ride smoothly on the board.
Found this video extremely instructive, as with all of them. I have learned I need to listen very carefully; some of the things Paul happens to say, in passing and almost under his breath while doing something repetitive, are often the most brilliant observations!
Angelo, the plywood he used looks like plywood backed with melamine. It’s widely sold here in the States.
Here’s my local lumberyard, they sell two kinds as you can see: http://www.th-h.com/products.htm#plywood
Alder W/Melamine Back
Maple W/Melamine Back
They also sell the “Red Oak White Mel One Side” but I’m not sure how that differs from the two I listed above. I suspect it’s just the same as the others, but white melamine where the others have black colored melamine.
Be aware that at the US home centers, you’ll find 4’x8′ sheets first, but if you dig in other aisles, you can find smaller options. Sometimes they are in “handy panel” bins and sometimes they are with miscellaneous things in the millwork aisle. Sometimes, it is with shelving, often in the decorating portion of the store rather than the lumber aisle.
Personally, I don’t think the melamine is going to add much and cheaper material could be used. Also, if the melamine is over chip board, particle board, or similar material, which it often is, it is going to be hard to cut the housings with hand tools. Even in ply that will be tricky. Solid wood will be the most instructive for learning to execute the housings. If I wanted to make a super fancy board, I’d probably make it from solid wood and then apply something like formica after cutting the housings, but honestly the simple pine shooting board is just fine.
Very late to this, but I believe that plywood is formply, which is used for making structures for pouring concrete into. Because it needs to be flat for building work it’s strong and true, and because it’s made in volume it’s relatively inexpensive. It may be harder to find smaller sheets than 4’ x 8’ though.
amazing end grain after it is planed!
Great project,Paul, thanks. I finished mine up and have benn practising with it and I must say this is fantastic. A little care with setting the blade skew and with making sure the set is light enough, and I get absolutely dead square ends now. Wonderful!
Just another thought – not sure if this is so obvious that it’s not worth mentioning or not, but I found that the ‘other’ wedge (the one not currently in the board) makes a perfect support for the tail-end of the piece I’m shooting. Because of the wedge shape you can slip it lightly in to exactly the right height to support the piece without lifting it so much that the end being shot goes off-square. Works great.
I made it! Thank you! I like it!
How important is it to ensure the faces of the boards the plane rides on are square. I.e. do you spend any time preparing these surfaces for square prior to assembly?
That is critical and you certainly want to make sure the edge is square prior to assembly.
Made mine when vid first came out……perfect finish…..still use it as and when
Lucky enough to pick up a Record T5 plane……high sided and square to the sole, I believe these were made for shooting boards
Side handle was missing so turned one then secured by using perfect brass round head screw from box of bits ( ex toilet cistern )
Great. Thank you for teaching
Are there plans for this? Don’t have internet access in my shop
There are no plans for this video.
Another great video. I made a very basic shooting board that is much more Like a standard bench hook. I’m going to retire it as a shooting board and make this one soon. I don’t have a routing plane so I may have to cheat and use an electric plane :/
I do have one question; I don’t understand what the bottom wedge piece if for?
Thanks for the great video…
The bottom wedge is for mitres.
I’m sure you could achieve sufficient flatness with a chisel and a paring cut. Have you sen the video on the poor man’s router?
Hello — I must have been drunk or something, I made my board 13” long instead of 19” — could I compensate by leaving off the second mitre recess (the one Paul says is for the moulding and just go with the 1 straight across and the 1 45 degree?
Personally, I have not yet needed to shoot a miter, so I’d say make a 90 degree only board with what you have (can be easily used as a bench hook as well), give yourself some extra length so that you can use it for jointing smaller pieces if you wish, and then make a dedicated mitering board if you need. They can be easier to make separately.
@DARETHAS Sure, just the one mitered support usually works well for both ends if you just flip over the piece. It only becomes a problem with large mouldings where you only have a good registration face on the back.
Is there a written set of instructions?
There is a pdf on the popular woodworking site that isn’t signed, but it sure has Pauls fingerprints all over it. It has an overview of several shooting boards in including drawings for one like the one in this video.
Paul mentioned in his blog he wrote a 36 page PDF for them. This one is only 21 pages, but still…
Thanks Larry, that article is fantastic!
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