Shooting Board for a Hand Plane

Power tools are great but the big trouble with them is that they can be ear shattering loud. As a home woodworker and a father of two young children, you sometimes only get the chance to work late at night. Waking up your neighbours or your family with power tools isn’t exactly going to make you very popular. So this is when hand tools really come into their own.

Recently I learnt about the thing called a shooting board. This is basically just a guide for using your hand plane on it’s side. So rather than say using a table saw or router to neaten and square up edges, with a sharp hand plane and a shooting board, you can do the same, and in some cases it’s the better solution anyway. Despite being really simple, shooting boards are amazingly useful so I just had to build one myself.

My completed shooting board with no. 4 smoothing plane

There are plenty of different variations and ways to build one, but for me I just glued up two layers of plywood with the top layer narrower than the bottom to leave a track for my hand plane. Then you just attach a stop at the end at right angles. Best not to glue this part on as when the jig gets a bit worn out you may need to adjust the position.  That’s why I used an over wide piece so I can reposition when I need to.

Simple to accurately aline the end stop and screw in place

To help hold the board in place you attach a strip on the opposite end and underneath.  This can just hook over you bench, or if you have one get locked into a bench vice. And other than an optional coat of linseed oil as a finish it really is as simple as that!

This bench hook was just roughly glued in place with a couple of screws to reinforce

I’ve made this for my number 4 hand plane, which is smallish. I also have a pretty big number 6 plane but I decided in my little work space this would be too awkward. For me this has made working with smaller parts and getting things square and straight so much easier. I’ve already used it for a couple of projects that’s I’ll be posting about next month.

A sneak peak of my next project. Using the shooting board to square up a joint

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