Shooting Long Boards with a Shooting ‘Bench’

Shooting Long Boards with a Shooting ‘Bench’

Stephen-ShepherdA shooting board is a handy tool for planing straight and square edges on a board. But what about a board that is six or eight feet long, that won’t fit on most shooting boards? How do you 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 one-half inch or three-quarter inch 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 — projecting out one-quarter or so and clamped in place at the ends with clamps (or with holdfasts or other clamping devices as appropriate).

A long jack or joiner plane is then run on its 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.

The edge of your board will be square. With such a long board, either a long straightedge 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.

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