Sunday, September 19, 2010

Don't Shooting Board the Messenger

As I was working on the Handplane Birdhouse, I realized that cutting stock square with a saw is not easily done and requires practice. A quick and simple way to square up stock for individuals that require practice, like myself, is to use a Shooting Board.


Being the frugal character that I am, I did a little research and put some scraps together to make my own, quick, down and dirty shooting board. Here's what I got:

1x countertop (cut out for kitchen sink) from Texas
1x 1/4 plywood from Colorado Springs
1x 1"x1.5" oak from Omaha
4x 1-1/4" screws from Handplane Birdhouse
1x bottle of Titibond III also from Handplane Birdhouse

Shooting Surface

I measured and cut down the counter top to approximately 12" x 16" using my dad's old panel saw, and then the plywood to 9"x16". I also jointed the guiding edge of the plywood.

Using some Titebond III (mainly because I had it in reach, but I'm sure it helps the fact that I do all my woodworking outside, humidity and such), I glued and clamped the plywood to the countertop. The plywood does not need to be exact on the surface of the base, but it does need an exact straight edge on the surface that the plane will be using as a guide.  

Fence and Bench Hook

To set the fence, I clamped a combination square to a length of oak (soon to be fence) and to a handplane that was seated snug against the straight edge of the plywood. A little glue and two screws later, I had an oak fence set at exactly 90 degrees to the plywood. I then added another piece of oak to the underside for a bench hook and lubricated the running surface with some candle wax.

Using my grandfather's combination square clamped to the fence, I can also shoot cross grain miters. 

I'm happy with the results. It's not pretty (well, the pattern on the counter top is nice, hehe), but it's definately functional. I would prefer using a low-angle jack plane with it if I had one, but since I dont, I'm using my block plane set with a Hock blade. I was also going to use more oak to frame it out, but didn't have enough, so that will have to wait until I get enough scrap to add one. Maybe when I settle down a little more permanently?

Next Project: Hand Saw Rack  

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