Shooting Board and Bench Hook pair

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Project by lysdexic posted 11-08-2011 05:27 AM 43464 views 104 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Shooting Board and Bench Hook pair
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I wanted to make a shooting board, first to really fine tune squareness and miters and secondly to get my fingers away from the miter saw when taking a smidgen off a small pieces. I don’t have a dedicated cross cut sled for my table saw yet. I am fortunate to Rick at The Woodworking Source here in town who makes custom moulding. He will let go some of his cutoffs for very reasonable prices. These are made from his scrap.

Design Considerations:
I searched LJ's projects here and other internet sites for designs and these are amalgamation of several shooting boards and bench hooks.
I decided to go with a fence that is adjustable a removable.
The fence has a hole to capture miter jigs.
The bench hook fence has mitered and square kerfs which is an idea that I got from Mark’s bench hook at Bad Axe Tools.
The bench hook and shooting were carefully constructed the fences were co-linear and can assist the other.
The basic dimensions come from the Lie Nielsen shooting board but modified slightly because my scrap pieces weren’t big enough.
I have read Jim Tolpin’s book “The New Essential Woodworker” and employed mostly hand tool work except ripping the plywood and drilling. The rounded fences come from his book.

1/2” birch ply glued to 3/4” cherry ply.
The fences and cleats are either red or white oak cutoff.
Most resources will tell you this is a quick, couple of hour project. Well, not for me and I won’t divulge how long it took.
I put a coat of poly varnish on everything except the plane “chute” which smoothed with a #4 then the varnish was wet sanded with 400 grit followed by paste wax.

Galoot Index = 4

Thanks for looking.

Cut the ply pieces to size. Before glue up placed a groove for dust and dadoed for the cleats and bench hook fence.

The fence and cleats were made from one piece of white oak, beveled at 45 the rounded with a BU Jack.

To maintain the structural integrity of the bench hook fence the platform was dadoed. In order to adjust the shooting board fence it was placed directly on the surface. However, it was planed to match the height of the other fence.

The cleats were joined with a groove. Many sources say that this is not unnecessary but I did it for the practice. I did dado these on the table saw but cleaned the up with a shoulder plane.

I added some sandpaper and this really help to hold the work piece.

Next I made a miter jig with a 1/4” – 20 threaded insert. This attaches to the hole in the fence with a wing nut.

Here are some test results.

Then I finished up by making kerfs in the bench hook fence.

And the final result ready to go with dedicated shooting plane and cross cut saw.

As to why or how a shooting board shaves work pieces but does not continue to shave into the actual board.

When you first construct the board the shooting fence, if you will, is flat and 90 degrees to the shooting platform. Then you have to “shoot the board in.” This is the first time you side a plane down the board. The iron cuts the “shooting fence” until it reaches the depth a cut. Then the un-cut part of the fence makes contact with the sole of the plane and stops any deeper cutting into the fence.

It is hard to describe so I drew a couple pictures.

#1 – You are looking down the shooting board. It is newly constructed and not shot in. The plane is on its side and youre looking down the sole with the iron extended.

#2 After using the board the iron cuts a grove in the fence but wont go further with the non-cutting part of the sole makes contact.

I hope this helps.


-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

34 comments so far

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3816 days

#1 posted 11-08-2011 05:58 AM

This is the best pictorial on building a bench hook I have ever seen.

Love the collection of tools. I did not look at who did this at first until I saw your rack in the back of your bench…that’s when I realized it was you. Great work with what you are doing.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View blackcherry's profile


3347 posts in 4985 days

#2 posted 11-08-2011 06:01 AM

Oh yea, love these projects, you will love having them around for that extra fine tuning. Nice work and enjoy using them…BC

View MickeyGee's profile


119 posts in 4056 days

#3 posted 11-08-2011 06:05 AM

Really great job on the construction here. I”m sure the time you spent in research and design will pay off with usefulness – and the results you’re seeing speak for themselves.
Thanks for the extra photos included in this write-up – I really appreciate the added details on the project. Great work, and if I ever was to build a similar item, I’d follow your lead.
Thanks for posting!

-- -- Mike

View waho6o9's profile


9036 posts in 3739 days

#4 posted 11-08-2011 06:08 AM

those are some serious test results, congratulations, great work!

View bobasaurus's profile


3733 posts in 4346 days

#5 posted 11-08-2011 06:39 AM

Very nice. I need to build a set myself. Your collection of quality hand tools is also impressive.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3701 days

#6 posted 11-08-2011 07:40 AM

This is amazing. Would it make sense to combine the shooting board/kerfs into the same bench hook?

-- I never finish anyth

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 4204 days

#7 posted 11-08-2011 12:22 PM

Ive got a question – what keeps the plane from “cutting” the shooting board ??? Looks like the blade is incontact with the shooting board when making a cut on the workpiece – is the blade cleared or just how does this work. Thanks

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3855 days

#8 posted 11-08-2011 12:30 PM

Great shooting boards; I’m going to steal a few ideas myself.
1yeld, you can’t use a carriage plane; the sole lateral to the mouth tracks against the wall of the rebate and maintains the position.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 4159 days

#9 posted 11-08-2011 02:29 PM

Very helpful items one needs when doing work with hand tools !
Thanks for sharing.
(The thing that caught my attention was “these are made from scrap”) I like hearing this.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View SteveGaskins's profile


762 posts in 3749 days

#10 posted 11-08-2011 03:32 PM

Very, very nice! Thanks for the detailed posting. I added this to my list of favorites.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View John_G's profile


165 posts in 3853 days

#11 posted 11-08-2011 04:09 PM

great project but i’m also wondering just like 1yeldud1 how they work.
1: Does the blade cut the shooting board as well
2: do you just slide the plane alone the surface of the bench, seems like it could be an awkward thing/way to hold it…..

-- John Gray

View s_grifter's profile


186 posts in 3629 days

#12 posted 11-08-2011 04:24 PM

Thanks for the post, I have wanted to make these for a while now.

View WoodworkGuy's profile


68 posts in 3956 days

#13 posted 11-08-2011 09:03 PM

An outstanding job to build two functional shop items. I am definitely going to borrow some of your ideas for my build.

-- Making sawdust and memories through woodworking.

View CartersWhittling's profile


454 posts in 3836 days

#14 posted 11-09-2011 12:30 AM

Nice job, thanks for posting, I am needing to build some soon.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17435 posts in 3780 days

#15 posted 11-09-2011 01:16 AM

Very nice work, excellent write-up. Well done, and thanks for the Galoot Index! Always helpful… :-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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