I have read a number of articles regarding building and using shooting boards in several different woodworker magazines. The articles are clear on building and using the jig to plane the workpiece but the question that comes to mind and is never answered is “What is to keep the plane from planning the shooting board itself?” I am pretty sure I have it figured out, but it would sure be nice to see an explanation in print especially for starting out woodworkers and myself. – Richard Faunce
Tim Inman: Your question is a good one. At first blush, it would seem that you might just end up planing away your entire shooting board. But, most planes (and certainly the ones you want to use with a shooting board) do not cut to the outer edges of the sole plate. In fact, the cutting plane iron actually extends through a little rectangular hole in the sole. The hole comes to within about 1/8-inch to 3/16-inch of the edge. This leaves a small controlling edge or depth margin at what becomes the “bottom” edge of the plane as it slides along the shooter. You can never plane deeper than the depth of cut set up for your plane. You will, as you observe, plane away just a “curl’s thickness” from the shooter the first few times you use it, though.
Chris Marshall: Richard, did Tim confirm your hunch? I agree with him: you have raised a really helpful question here and one I’ve never seen explained previously in other shooting board literature. Thanks for asking it! A simple mystery solved — and for more than just you, I’m sure.