• Creator
  • #2030428

    Post count: 8

    I have not used a shooting board before and after building one I am having trouble getting square edges. My fence is square and the edges of the shooting board are straight and square. I have trouble getting a square edge on the horizontal dimension. It seems to take a lot of cutting but I do eventually get the horizontal dimension square but I cannot get the vertical dimension square. I keep cutting into the top which takes it out of square.  I am using a Lie Nielsen 62 plane. I assume that my technique is wrong but I don’t know just what I am doing wrong. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Author
  • James Wright
    Post count: 108

    Sounds like most of your force is in line with the planes movement. You should have your hand on the side of the plane (now the top) and some of your force should be pushing the plane down into the bed of the shooting board to keep the plane from tipping into the work. Another problem is that the blade is not square to the side. the sole being square to the side does not guarantee the blade will be. you may want to check that and adjust as needed.

  • Mike in TN
    Post count: 293

    Hi BB,

    First, friction between the plane and the shooting board is always an enemy. Having to overcome any unnecessary friction can cause you to push the plane out of the desired alignment. To overcome this I always apply paste wax to all of the shooting board rub surfaces (including the fence and base face) and apply paraffin to the plane. Next, because most shooting is on end grain, the plane needs to be as sharp as you can get it, set for a super fine cut,  and take repeated super thin shavings. I normally start the strokes with the stock away from the plane and gently slide the stock up to contact the plane sole as the strokes continue. try to keep the plane oriented so that advancement of the stock is against the plane sole but do not push the plane away from the shooting board surfaces.  If the end is out of square with the edge against the fence (horizontal?), and you are satisfied that the plane is against the plane rub surface during the full plane stroke, then the fence needs to be adjusted accordingly.

    As James indicates, the condition where the end ends up being out of square with the reference stock face (if you are satisfied that the plane side is held flat against the rub surface during the full stroke) indicates that the path of the blade edge is out of square with how the stock is held (vertical?). A lot of people believe that this indicates that the reference side of the plane is out of square with the plane sole, which is probably not the case with better planes such as yours, but even planes with minor out-of-square sides can be used for shooting if the blade is adjusted as needed. Plane blades  used for shooting are normally sharpened with no camber and heavy weight planes provide inertia which generally helps the process.

    I have found that after going through the setup process it is best to dedicate a plane (if possible) to shooting and do check the first attempt on each work session just to be sure of the settings. Also make sure the stock has been prepared well beforehand so that the reference surfaces register well during the work. It sounds complicated but after you have done a it a few times it all becomes second nature.

    One thing to consider is that traditional methods of work often sought to hide end grain or often avoided squaring ends at final dimensions just for layout operations. There are exceptions (possibly through tenons, breadboard end boards, layout of dovetails from board ends, etc.) but many joint layout operations were conducted from face and edge reference surfaces only using squares instead of using the end as a reference surface. A good example would be blind tenon layout. Why go through the process of shooting an end if the end gets sawed off later to ensure it doesn’t bottom out and to provide glue space? The idea traditionally, of course, was to know which dimensions and conditions were critical to the finished product and processes necessary to get there in in the most expeditious way. We hobbyists enjoy the luxury of doing things any way we darn well please.  Have fun.


  • Mike in TN
    Post count: 293

    I should have mentioned that the blade normally will cut into the rub surface by the amount the blade projects during the first few strokes of the plane. The plane ultimately registers on that bottom edge part of the sole that does not have any blade. That means that you have to be sure to let the plane ride on the plane side which is against the shooting board and the edge of the rub surface remaining. just don’t tip the plane up during the stroke or you lose your references.

    Ok I will shut up now. Have fun.

  • Odee
    Post count: 3

    Here's my 2 cents

    Hi BB,

    When I made my 3rd shooting board (after finding fault with the previous 2), I used MDF as the base, and roughed up the entire top surface.

    I then milled my backstop, which I insured  had 2 perfectly square surfaces.  Take the time to do this as it will yield dividends down the road.

    Glue a strip of hardwood to the edge of a piece of 1/4″ plywood and insure that it is square with the side where the backstop will be, as well as being square with the surface onto which the lumber will eventually be placed, AS WELL AS the end past which you will be planing.

    Next, I glued that piece of 1/4″ plywood to the surface of the MDF, except in the area of the back stop.  After letting that dry, I did the same for the back stop, insuring that it was square with the surface of the plywood and the edge against which the plane sole will ride.  Once dry, I pre-filled and countersunk holes for screws in both the plywood surface as well as the back side where the backstop now resides.  WAIT UNTIL THE GLUE SETS BEFORE DOING THIS. Though the screws into the plywood may not be necessary, the ones into the backstop are.  Don’t neglect these.

    Next, I fitted my plane where it should go and began breaking in the surface (just a few passes).

    Now here is where I differ in my approach.  I create a wedge onto which I fit my plane.  The thicker part of the wedge is at the side closest to you as you use the shooting board.  This wedge need only be a few degrees, but it will definitely ease the entry into hardwoods (I have used this on purpleheart with no problems).

    Next, I create a guide strip to prevent the plane from moving laterally and attach this with screws.  Allow for seasonal adjustment.  This will help keep the plane from tipping left or right.

    After that, the rest is technique: holding the lumber securely while planing and NOT tipping the plane.  Good luck.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Log In