Long grain shooting board idea

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Blog entry by Beezle posted 01-23-2011 11:03 PM 5044 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I tend to use hand tools when I can. This is primarily because I like working that way. Quieter, less dust, more feel for what I am doing. And more satisfaction for some reason. But I am not dedicated to it per se, I just enjoy it.

Not having all of the larger machines a typical shop would have – in this case a table saw – I often find myself needing to square the long edge of a board. So I began using planes to do this. For larger boards I will use a jointer with a fence attached (Veritas) or I will set a board on a bench raised by thin MDF and run a plane along it.

Then I came to problem of how to make two edges parallel? Not always an issue as I would use my bandsaw to get them close, then just clean up the edges. But I am not that exact in my planing and they would often be off a bit.

This led me to wonder why a shooting board doesn’t have a fence? So that you can plane a board to exact dimensions and parallel or at a particular angle to another edge.

So I have built a few of these now, and this is the latest:

This is two layers of 3/4” MDF, some track and a Bench Dog router table fence.

Using an adjustable square, I can easily set the fence to an exact dimension from the cut edge of the upper MDF layer.

Lots of issues with this idea. The edge the plane runs on is waxed MDF, and will obviously have limited life. The cut edge’s stability requires that I very carefully adjust the blades on the planes I use. These vary from the picture Lie Nielson No. 5 to the Veritas low angle jack plane. I am using a milling machine and DRO to set the blades within 0.0005” and so far that works okay.

If I build another, I think I will use a thin layer of phenolic, then a replaceable thin layer of MDF on top of that.

I have used this for a few projects now and have been happy enough with the results. For example, this train layout table I am building. All of the long boards were planed with the above.

3 comments so far

View bonobo's profile


312 posts in 3067 days

#1 posted 10-08-2012 06:44 PM

I just joined Lumberjocks for the sole purpose of telling how much I like your idea of using the track and fence.

I’m wasting way too much time hand planing the edges of my boards perfectly square and was trying to figure out the best way to set up a long grain shooting board on my german-style workbench; in a way that won’t require drilling holes for hold-fasts or clamps.


-- “Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men! Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.” —Bertolt Brecht

View Beezle's profile


31 posts in 3692 days

#2 posted 10-09-2012 02:26 AM

Thanks for the compliment.

It’s been an interesting thing in that the pros I’ve shown it to don’t seem to get the point of it. Yeah, a classic shooting board can work if you are happy with aligning the board perpendicular to one of the ends, but that’s not nearly as as accurate as using a long fence.

View LeslieJohn's profile


18 posts in 2405 days

#3 posted 08-26-2015 12:39 PM

Very nice planing board! I see the fence so how is the fence attached to the planing board?

Is this board clamped on your tablesaw while using the fence?

-- leslie john

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