Troubleshooting a shooting board?

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Forum topic by AESamuel posted 03-26-2015 04:24 PM 2502 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AESamuel's profile


105 posts in 2068 days

03-26-2015 04:24 PM

Hi there,

I made a shooting board a while ago using some thin sheets of plywood and a pine fence. I tried shooting some 3/4” x 5” white oak and what was happening was either the blade just skipping across the grain or if I deepened the cut the blade would catch and CLUNK, the plane would stop in it’s tracks. Shooting pine was no problem and planing the oak freehand was working too. I was using a No.4 stanley with a razor sharp blade, the only other plane I could use of a wooden jack plane.

Now, I’ve got some more 3/4” oak I want to shoot and really don’t want to have to resort to planing the end grain without the shooting board and I’ve never been happy with the results so what could be the problem?

This is what I’m thinking:
Too heavy handed with the depth adjustment,
Chip breaker not set close enough.
Fence not set at correct angle (Don’t think this would affect the clunking)
I could try dampening the end grain with water to soften it before planing.

Thanks for any input!

4 replies so far

View JayT's profile


6411 posts in 3057 days

#1 posted 03-26-2015 04:31 PM

Proper depth (very light) and sharp are the keys. Using a standard angle plane with a straight cutter will still give a bit of an abrupt start to the cut, but shouldn’t be a problem. (That’s why many use a low angle plane or dedicated shooting planes with a skewed iron)

I currently use a Stanley #5 with my shooting board and haven’t had issues with any species, as long as the iron is sharp. End grain will abrade the cutting edge quicker than planing a face or edge, so you might have to touch up the edge more often. You can plane faces with a less than razor sharp edge, but not end grain.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View OSU55's profile


2657 posts in 2835 days

#2 posted 03-26-2015 04:33 PM

No concern with tear out, chip breaker can be 1/8” back. Dampen end grain with mineral spirits, provides some lubrication & softens wood. Make depth adj in VERY small increments. Fence angle will effect final angle, but not ability to cut. Be sure the blade really is razor sharp. wax plane side and shooting board run. You may be rocking the plane off its side when stroking.

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 3104 days

#3 posted 03-26-2015 05:03 PM

The Stanley 51 a shooting plane weights over 7 pounds and the Lie Nielsen version comes in at over 9 pounds. My advice would be to figure out a way to add some mass to your plane or pick a larger heavier plane. The 5 1/2 is about 6 3/4 pounds and would make a good substitute.

A 5 1/2 that is complete can be quite expensive. The trick is to get a solid body and then buy a no 6 and swap the parts. 6’s go for jack for some reason.

View OSU55's profile


2657 posts in 2835 days

#4 posted 03-26-2015 08:09 PM

While not the best choice, the #4 will get you started. If you consider a different plane, it should be one with a low cut angle, which excludes all bevel down bench planes except the Veritas custom series. A bevel up plane, that can be used for other tasks with blades sharpened to different angles, is the logical choice. Typically with a 12 deg bed angle, and a 25deg bevel, the resulting 37deg cut angle passes through end grain easier than the 45 deg cut angle of bench planes. The new Stanley Sweetheart is the cheapest, then the Woodriver, then Veritas, then LN. The Veritas bevel up low angle jack is an excellent shooting plane that will work as a jointer, panel plane, and a large smoother. While the dedicated shooting planes are great, there are also very expensive.

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