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.