Shooting board for long grain

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 02-07-2014 06:54 PM 3646 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1726 days

02-07-2014 06:54 PM

I’m working on my handplane skills. Faces of boards coming along nicely. Edges, not so much. Probably because I work small and so am trying to balance a big hunk of iron on a 3/8” piece of wood.

I love my little shop-made shooting board for doing end-grain. So I’m thinking maybe I’ll make a bigger one for the long edges. I’m calling that “long grain” – hope that is correct.

1) lets say i have just one flat face. None of the edges or ends are square/true. Therefore, it seems to me that I can’t use a fence. Can I just eyeball the position of the edge I want to plane, then clamp the board down and start working on it?
2) If I did have one true end, then it seems to me that I could use a fence, and would not have to clamp the board. And that would be better because then I could advance the board into the plane’s path after each cut. So is there a way to get that one true end when I don’t have any edges to reference off?
3) lets say I want to shoot the edges of a board that is 60” long. Could I make the shooting board 30” and use it by flipping the board end-for-end? or am I defeating my purpose?

6 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2365 days

#1 posted 02-07-2014 07:09 PM

What plane(s) are you using when doing this, and what’s wrong with the results? Is the edge not 90 to the face? Is it bowed along the length? I have a way to go with my hand planing techniques, but it took trial and error and a lot of reading before I got good edges that where straight and square. Also make sure you’re using the correct plane…a #3 is not going to level out an edge like a jointer.

When I was practicing, if my edge wasn’t straight along length, it was usually a result of bad technique and where I was applying pressure and when. If the edge wasn’t square, it meant I either was leaning more on one edge of the plane, or the center of the plane was not riding the center of the edge.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View JayT's profile


5625 posts in 2207 days

#2 posted 02-07-2014 07:22 PM

For jointing long edges, which is what you are describing, here are a few ideas.

Use the longest plane that makes sense. A #7 or 8 isn’t necessary for a 3ft long board, but would be preferable to a #5 on a 6ft long board. The general rule of thumb is that your plane sole should be at least 1/3 the length of the board you are jointing.

1) Yes, you can use a fence. A jointer fence on a plane is designed help get an edge square to the face. The vintage fences go for serious money, but it’s pretty easy to make one. (I need to do that soon) There are several shop-made fences here on LJ, if you do a search for them. Otherwise, just check with a square frequently. You could also use a straight edge to draw or scribe a straight line, then plane to the line, checking for square as you go. I’ve done this when I want the edge to follow certain grain/figure characteristics, not necessarily how it was cut with the saw.

For narrow pieces, like your 3/8” example above, either joint multiple boards at once or clamp a sacrificial piece of scrap next to your board. That way you have a wider base for reference.

2) The easiest and best way to get a square end cut is to reference off an edge that has been jointed straight. Cut as square as possible and then finish on the shooting board.

3) I don’t see how this would work—too many possbilities for error. I’d just practice jointing a board that is mounted in your vise and skip the long edge shooting board idea.

Edited for clarity.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View knockknock's profile


446 posts in 2169 days

#3 posted 02-07-2014 07:40 PM

I have a long shooting board (26” x 12”) that I use for shooting long grain. It is useful when I want several pieces the same width.

When shooting long grain I clamp a full length (26”) board to my long shooting board as a fence. I set the distance of the fence from the chute of the shooting board using a combination square.

Normally I have one good long edge on the board to put against the fence, because I joint the edge before ripping the board off the larger piece of stock. But I have done a few boards where both edges were just sawn edges (I just pick the best one).

To start, I set the fence so it will make a wider board than I want. Then I shoot/plane one edge of all the boards to that width.

Next, I set the fence for the width that I want, and I shoot/plane the other edge of all the boards to that width.

That gets me with all the boards at the same width with parallel sides. I then saw the boards to length and shoot the ends square on my regular/shorter shooting board.

Edit: I forgot to mention, when shooting long grain with a fence on my shooting board, I do not feed the board into the plane. I hold the board against the fence, and shoot/plane the edge of the board until the plane no longer takes any shavings (bottoms out against the gutter). Also, my shooting board does not have a guide to hold the plane against the gutter, if it did I would remove it for this operation.

View Farkled's profile


28 posts in 2311 days

#4 posted 02-07-2014 09:52 PM

Make one edge true. Easiest way is to plane the edge and check with a square and straight edge every couple strokes. Once you have one edge true this becomes your reference edge. It is the edge from which all others are marked. Mark the ends with a square and the opposite edge with a marking or panel gauge.

You want to have one true face before making your true edges.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3354 days

#5 posted 02-08-2014 06:44 PM

Here’s another option. Once you get the edge jointed (straight) you can use a #95 to make the edge square. The 95 is not real common, but they are out there. The 95 is only about 4” long and is great at squaring edges on smaller pieces. You might also want to look at the Lee Valley jointer fence which is magnetic. It won’t give you the flexibility of a Stanley 86 (which is one of the vintage fences mentioned above), but its only $45.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Tim's profile


3803 posts in 1957 days

#6 posted 02-08-2014 07:13 PM

Lee Valley has edge planes like the #95 too. I don’t know how the price compares to a vintage 95.,41182,56084&ap=1

I’ve also seen people make a wooden fence and clamp it to the side of the plane with some small c clamps. Not going to get super high accuracy and stability, but you can make it to your needs. It’s putting some stress on the cheeks so could crack them if they’re susceptible or make an existing one worse.

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