In the last issue, we answered a question about using a shooting board. Several of you asked for more information – most succinctly, in this question from Vincent Rendo: “What is a shooting board and how is it used? I never heard of it.” Herewith, a further elaboration. – Editor
Stephen Shepherd: A shooting board is a handy tool for planing straight and square edges on a board. But what about a board that is 6 or 8 feet long, that won’t fit on most shooting boards, so how to get a straight square edge?
Simple, you make your workbench a full length shooting board. All you have to do is have a piece of wood 1/2″ or 3/4″ thick as long as the board you need to plane and wide enough to support the board. The piece of wood is placed on the bench, the stuff to be planed placed on top and projecting out a 1/4″ or so and clamped in place with clamps at the ends or with holdfasts or other clamping devices as appropriate.
A long jack or joiner plane is then run on it side along the bench as the base of the shooting board, (bench), the piece of wood elevates the stuff being shot and the clamps act as the stop on a regular shooting board. And the edge of your board will be square and with such a long board, either a long straight edge or string line will be necessary to determine if it is straight. The longer the plane, the truer the board will be. But on such a long board it is necessary to ‘squint the joint’ (get down and sight the board) to determine if it is straight.
So your only attention needs to be getting it straight as the shooting bench will always plane a square edge. Your body of the plane needs to be square and the iron set square as well to insure that the final cut will be square. This also helps in reducing the ends that tend to be rounded off and the boards planed with a belly. A shooting board or shooting bench will eliminate that problem.