Shooting Board

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Blog entry by Eric posted 01-25-2008 12:16 PM 2337 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

shooting board

A shooting board isn’t considered a major project – or even a minor one – for most woodworkers. However, it’s something I want to write about because at this early stage in my woodworking journey, I’m learning something new with every endeavor.

Skills Learned/Practiced:
  • using a square (and I’m glad I invested in a Starrett)
  • using a block plane to trim up (flush) the edges
  • making a very thin cut with my dovetail saw (to avoid having to plane/sand)
  • gluing (sounds dumb, but I’ve had bad luck with glue in the past and have learned a bit since then)
Lessons Learned:
  • Factor Murphy’s Law into every project. Despite the fact that I checked that the cleat was square to the fence more times than even an obsessive-compulsive would, once I had the cleat screwed on, it was off of square! That’s exactly why I didn’t glue the cleat onto the fence in the first place. So I just popped one of the screws out, realigned and added the center screw in case the new screw hole was too close to the wrong one.
  • Always start with way more materials than you need. I’m such a beginning woodworker that I don’t even have any scrap yet! I had to buy the MDF and shelf scraps from Ikea’s refuse section (pretty cheap, though). Even then, I found myself short when planning my 45-degree angle shooting board. The plans I saw recommended 24” long shooting boards. Since I don’t have any current plans for anything wider than a 2×10, I just went for something closer to 15”. I didn’t even consider how much space it would take for a 45-degree cleat going both ways! So that shooting board will have to wait.
  • Why do you need to have a 45-degree cleat going both ways? I suppose once I start trying to build something like a frame or box, it’ll come clear. But for now I can’t see it.
  • I’ve seen one reference (Landis, I think) recommend a groove for the chips right at the base of the fence. Is it really necessary?

I also plan to do a 45-degree shooting board like Mot demonstrates in this great video, but that’ll also have to wait.

[This entry was taken from my personal site, Adventures in Woodworking.]

-- Eric at

6 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3842 days

#1 posted 01-25-2008 12:44 PM

Good looking board. Are you going to put a bench hook on the end?

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3764 days

#2 posted 01-25-2008 12:56 PM

Looks good! As for major projects versus minor projects, the early projects are all major in my book. Sure, they’re old hat for experienced woodworkers, but for new woodworkers, they require skills that the newbie (like us) aren’t confident in necessarily. You met the challenge and smacked it upside the head!

Just think, in a couple of years, you’ll look at that shooting board and remember the challenges it presented to you, and probably chuckle a bit as your latest project was oh so more ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3751 days

#3 posted 01-25-2008 03:13 PM

Rikkor: Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me! I completely forgot about it. Heh.

Tom: Yeah, I was even thinking that when I pass all my old tools down to my son one day, why not my jigs? Kind of funny to think of that thing as an heirloom.

-- Eric at

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3956 days

#4 posted 01-25-2008 03:43 PM

That’s the way they are done!

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

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 3822 days

#5 posted 01-25-2008 04:03 PM

“I’ve seen one reference (Landis, I think) recommend a groove for the chips right at the base of the fence. Is it really necessary?”

They are not required as long as you keep all dust and debri out of the corners. If you’re not as
fussy about keeping the dust away from your work (I’m not either), that groove/notch can
help a lot. All it does is keep the 90° angle between the fence and foot clear (to a point), so your
project doesn’t get misaligned by dust etc.

-- Still learning everything

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3964 days

#6 posted 01-26-2008 12:47 AM

Being able to cut miters on both sides allows you to always be in contact with the reference surfaces you prepare (one flat face and one edge, flat and square to the face) on your pieces, ensuring that your pieces will join together accurately.

Just play with making a mitered frame and it should become clearer. To do this though, you’ll need to replace the melamine board you have there, with a wider piece, so you have a “runway” on both sides of the jig. Also, you’ll need to ensure that you’re fence is square to the left side of the guide board in addition to the right! That means that that guide board needs to have parallel edges….

Have fun and keep us posted!

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

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