Woodworking vacation #5: Day two ---- small shooting board with options and angle setting gizmo

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Betsy posted 05-21-2008 02:35 AM 3126 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Day one of hand tool class Part 5 of Woodworking vacation series Part 6: Day three ----- planes, chisels, sharpening..... lots of shavings »

Another good day in the shop. I’m still not 100%, but am feeling better and participated more today.

One question that came up from yesterday’s blog entry was why do the 180-220-400 then 180-220-400 sequence the way we did. The usual thought is to do one grit until you have consistent scratches over the entire surface. Deneb does 10 or so strokes on one grit then moves to the next working through 400 and then comes back to 180 and starts again. The rationale is that the more you work on one grit the more you work on the same scratches. When you finish your first round and start on the second round your scratches become less and less and that makes less work in the long run. It’s hard to explain, obviously, but give it a try and you’ll see how much faster it goes.

So today we started by continuing the work on the planes we have to fix. I’m at the point of flattening the sole of my 5 1/4 Stanley. As you can see I’ve got a long way to go.


I had to put this plane aside and work on some of my other blades so that I will be ready for tomorrow’s class where we will actually plane some boards!!! But I’ve got a good start on this plane and I can tell you the blade is super sharp!

So today we spent a lot of time on doing a shooting board and a degree gizmo.

The shooting board is typical board that you have all seen. The difference in this board is that the fence is a small mitering station.


In this picture you can see where I have marked a 90 degree and two 45 degree cuts – these are not 100% accurate, but they are close to the neighborhood and you can use the shooting board to make them perfect.


The degree gizmo is the interesting feature for the day.

These are not dominos—- they are degree indicators.


You can see the steps on the board.


Each step relates to a 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 degree bevel. They are screwed to the board. How you make this is by using a protractor and your bevel honing guide. (The little gray one).

In hindsight I should have taken a lot more pictures to explain this, but I’ll do the best I can.

Set your protractor to whatever degree you want. Reference the edge of the protractor on the board and slide your blade (already situated in the guide) up to the protractor so that the iron is uptight to the protractor. Then tighten down the guide. Take the guide to your board and place the jig against the edge. Run a pencil line across the edge of the blade. This is where you place your degree stop. Now every time you need this particular degree – all you have to do is load your iron into the honing guide and run it up against the stop and like that you have the degrees set. Now you have to remember this is not a machinist’s tool. You may be sitting at 24 or 26 degrees instead of 25. But you don’t have to have that type of precision.

The other thing on this board is just a space to put your stones to sharpen with. It’s probably not necessary but it’s good use of space.


The other little trick on this board is the shim. Which I’ve not done yet. But what it is is a small 1/8” scape. For example – your primary bevel is 25, you do a secondary bevel at 30 then you put the shim in front of the 30 degree stop and that gives you the position for a tertiary bevel of 32 degrees. Pretty slick.

There is a cleat on the bottom of the board. You must inset the cleat a bit so that when you put your honing guide on the board’s edge it does not end up referecing on the cleat instead.

The degrees on set with the iron in the top part of the honing guide. If you are using a chisel in the lower part of the guide the degree changes by 5. So 25 degrees is 20 and the 30 is now 25 degrees and so on.

Now as to the guide itself. Out of the box it’s not perfect. Who knew! Deneb had us file down the guide. We did this because the guide has a tendency to push the iron up when you tighten it and then the blade can shift. So we filed down about 3/4 of each leg. What you end up with is filed portions and about 1/4 of the leg unfiled. Use a small square to check that the guide is flat. You should now not have any pushing up of the iron when you tighten it.

The part of the guide that holds the chisels also needs filed down a bit. But this is a little zone out time for me and I’m going to have to follow up on this part.

Deneb also gave us his thoughts on stone storage. He thinks that keeping the stones in water overnight is fine – but don’t store them forever in water. This is defintely one of those opinion things. He feels that to store them constantly makes them soft and then they cut less efficiently.

Geez I wish I took more pictures.

Ok once you have the planes back together it is time to check your set up. When your plane is together sight down the body against a backdrop of white or light color which will bring out the blade to your eye. Don’t put your fingers on the sides of the plane to hold the plane because your fingers will distract your eye.

Bring the blade up just slightly until you can just see it breaking the sole. Then look at it carefully to see that it is parallel to the mouth. If it is not parallel use your lateral adjustment to move it until you are sure its straight across the mouth.

Have the smallest mouth opening as possible.

To check your setup, use a small piece of popular. Stand it on edge and set the plane so that only one corner is going to cut. Make a test cut and note the size, shape and texture of the shaving. Then make a cut with the other corner. You should be able to see if there is any difference from one corner to the other. Make any adjustments necessary until both corners take off the same type of shaving.

Once sure, then take a full width shaving. If satisfied, move onto your project.

One tip Deneb gave us was in planing to flatten to a line. If you are trying to flatten a board – make a marking guage line – when you plane close to the line – it will start to feather out. When you see the feathers you know you are very, very close to flat.

Well that’s all for now. I’ll try to take more pictures tomorrow.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

6 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4425 days

#1 posted 05-21-2008 03:17 AM

Thanks for the continuing blog.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View kem's profile


56 posts in 3743 days

#2 posted 05-21-2008 03:37 AM

Thanks again for sharing all that you’re learning! It’s almost as good as being there.

The bevel setting blocks is a great idea. I’ve just been adjusting the iron projection using lines on a board. The blocks look like they’d be much more accurate.

Hope you’re feeling better after the accident.

-- Kevin

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#3 posted 05-21-2008 03:43 AM


Thanks for the update. This class sounds really interesting and it appears as if you are getting a lot of info out of it.

Enjoy and keep the updates coming.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4013 days

#4 posted 05-21-2008 04:55 AM

Lots of great info, Betsy!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4021 days

#5 posted 05-21-2008 05:52 AM

Mmm-hmmm! Good stuff…

Did you put camber on your irons or are they straight across?

Also, the stops you guys made will be accurate to set plane irons of the same (relative) thickness, but you’d need to make other stops for chisels, because their projection from the guide will be different, right? I could be thinking funny here, but I think the thickness of the tool makes a difference…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3865 days

#6 posted 05-29-2008 06:59 PM

Great advertising for Kellys school.
Its a lot of information to remember by the sounds of it,

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics