Ramped Shooting board: Is it necessary?

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Forum topic by handsawgeek posted 01-20-2015 08:41 PM 1232 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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591 posts in 814 days

01-20-2015 08:41 PM

Hi, All,
I’m planning on building a shooting board in the next couple of weeks, and I have to ask the million dollar question: Is a ramped guide board necessary, or does a flat guide board work just fine?
I’ve read a number of conflicting opinions about this subject. Some argue that a flat guide board will wear the plane sole down over time. Others say ‘no worries’. Let the discussion begin…..

-- Ed

10 replies so far

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1653 days

#1 posted 01-20-2015 10:41 PM

A flat board would take several life times to wear out a plane sole IMHO. Some of the reasons I have read, (1) The plane iron acts as a skewed edge and can cut gnarly wood better. (2) The plane iron wears more evenly. If one were shooting a consistent width of board(s) for a good while that area of the iron would dull and one would have to take it out and hone it more often.
I have all flat boards because I am too lazy to make a ramped ones.

-- Jerry

View JohnChung's profile


367 posts in 1493 days

#2 posted 01-21-2015 12:48 PM

It is not necessary BUT will help a lot. Here is my post:

View handsawgeek's profile


591 posts in 814 days

#3 posted 01-22-2015 02:13 PM

Thanks for the replies.
I think I will have to decide which method I wish to go based on available time. I’ve seen some ‘ramped’ boards where the ramp is hand planed into the guide board. Johnchung, I like your version with the guide held up by wedges. Jerry, a ‘no ramp’ version looks viable, too. Plane soles can easily be re-flattened, and irons can be sharpened (once in a while). Decisions, decisions.
Anyway, thanks again!

-- Ed

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13569 posts in 2037 days

#4 posted 01-22-2015 03:23 PM

The reasoning behind a ramped shooter has never included ‘sole wear’ that I’ve ever seen. Jerry said it: That’s bogus. A skewed iron goes cross-grain with less tear out, and a shooter on a skew -or ramp- does cut end grain better. My input is based on owning and using shootboard planes with and without skewed cutters.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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591 posts in 814 days

#5 posted 01-22-2015 04:30 PM

Thanks Smitty,
That settles’s a skewed ramp for me!

-- Ed

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 2777 days

#6 posted 01-24-2015 03:29 PM

Late to the party, but if you’re using a Veritas shooting plane, the ramped board isn’t necessary because the blade is already skewed.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View waho6o9's profile


7115 posts in 1995 days

#7 posted 01-24-2015 05:02 PM

I think a skewed ramp works better, at least for me it does.

View JohnChung's profile


367 posts in 1493 days

#8 posted 01-24-2015 05:26 PM

The Veritas shooting plane works better with a skew board. I have use both designs and the skew is my preferred choice.

View handsawgeek's profile


591 posts in 814 days

#9 posted 01-26-2015 03:13 PM

Thanks for the further replies. I will definite go with a skewed ramp. I will likely be starting out with a regular #5 jack plane until I can spring for a low angle version or even the Veritas.

-- Ed

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

296 posts in 3387 days

#10 posted 02-01-2015 01:40 AM

The advantage of a ramped shooting board is that it enables a plane with a squared blade to enter the wood at at slight angle (skew) – not for a skew cut, but a progressive cut at entry. What this does is reduce the impact shock, which makes planing easier and more pleasant. There is also some spread of wear on the blade, but I do not consider this to be particularly significant.

Now if you have a plane with a skeewed blade, such as a Veritas or Lie-nielsen #51, then the impact issue is a feature of this blade, and a simple flat board is all that is needed. Indeed, the ramped board will reduce the skew of the blade by 5 degrees – not particularly significant in use, however, but still a fact.

Here is one of several articles I have written:


Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

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