Straight Shooting Board Info, Plus “Fool”-ish Follies

Straight Shooting Board Info, Plus “Fool”-ish Follies

Once More Unto the Breach….

Over the past few eZines, we’ve had some discussion about shooting boards and about the terminology that refers to a “horn” on a mortise and tenon. To clear things up, we asked master woodworker Ian Kirby, a frequent writer for Woodworker’s Journal magazine, to take on these explanations. – Editor

Shooting Board:

“Shooting is a common term in hand tool solid wood woodworking. To ‘shoot an edge’ is to plane it straight and square to the face. To ‘shoot a drawer’ is to plane it to fit its opening because it’s made oversize to begin with. These expressions lead to a ‘shooting plane’ – a loose term for a long plane which will plane a long straight edge. A shooting board is necessary to shoot the end of a fairly small piece of wood. These days, a good chop saw blade will do most of the work of a shooting board: cut to length and leave a clear cut end. The plane doesn’t cut the shooting board because the mouth of the plane is ‘blocked’ at both edges so the blade is narrower than the sole of the plane and the guide it runs on is planed to a slight angle, 3 to 5 degrees. The plane you use should be an 05-1/2 or bigger (an 06 or an 07). You need the heft of the tool to cut the end grain clean and clear. The blade has to be sharp. The amount it projects and at what angle is up to you. The cut result on the workpiece will tell you how to make any adjustment.

“In any event, you can only take thin slices. How much and at what angle you project the blade, how and where you press on the plane as you use it, are variables which add up to the fact that using the shooting board is the only way to learn how to use it.” – Ian Kirby

Mortise & Tenon Nomenclature

“Each type of M&T has a name. There is no ‘regular’ M&T. All of them take their name from the configuration of the tenon. A ‘stopped M&T’ stops somewhere in the mortise piece. Sometimes referred to by the unknowing as a ‘blind M&T’– a silly expression. Don’t use it. A ‘through M&T,’ as you would imagine, has the end of the tenon visible – the mortise goes right through the workpiece. This allows for the insertion of wedges, a ‘through wedged M&T.’ That said, there is a joint called a ‘fox tail M&T.’ It’s a stopped tenon with wedges…another time.


“‘Twin M&T’ is two tenons side by side: this doubles the glue area. A ‘double M&T’ is one tenon above the other with a wide gap between on a wide rail, as in the kicker (bottom) railof a door. A single very wide tenon causes the cheeks of the mortise to belly out when it’s glued.

“A horn is an extra length of wood, an inch to inch and a half long left beyond the eventual edge of the rail.

“Let’s say you are making a table. Four legs and four rails. M&T into the legs at the top. A horn is an extra inch to inch and a half left at the top of the leg. It does two things. It allows you to chop the mortise to within 3/8 or so of the eventual top of the leg without breaking out what would be short grain as you lever and pound the mortise chisel. It also serves to prevent splitting the same shortgrain at glue-up time when the viscosity of the glue makes an already tight joint even tighter. After the glue is cured, the horn is cut off.” – Ian Kirby

April Fool’s Follies

On a lighter note, our annual April Fool’s edition of the eZine brought out some lighthearted responses…and some confusion. We begin with the response to Rob’s purported retirement and the sweepstakes related to it. – Editor

“Hello, Rob. I’ve followed your eZine articles and enjoy them so much I feel really bad that you’re leaving. To show my appreciation, I’m sending you a check for the retirement money you need. Just my way of saying ‘thanks for everything.’ Now you go wait by the mailbox, and it’ll be right there.” – Gene Perham

This one seems to think our magazine printers are a different kind…

“I thought I would send in more than the $287,642.00 you needed. Just open the pdf, print it and put it in your IRA. Just email the T-shirts and portraits. I can use the portraits to design a dart board.” – Lynn Zupan

“You are always thinking. I was looking for an address to send my $10.00. Did I miss it? I can always use T-shirts; and the photos would be great to keep the mice and other vermin out of my shop.” – Ken Erlenbusch

“I feel your message is in very poor taste and quite offensive. Since you became the editor of Woodworker’s Journal you have been in most all the photographs as if no one else deserves credit. I won’t enter the sweepstakes but look forward to your retirement.” – Bruce

We’re guessing that last reader is not a fan of other content from the April Fool’s eZine, either. And neither were some others. – Editor

“Your free plans for HOT DOG SAW and BLING do not make sense. No plans and what good are either?” – Elizabeth Abbott

“Well! I was disappointed at Ezine 245.5 I opened two sections and pure garbage. I am being nice here. Really, 5m hot dog fingers, cremated wood, chippin it in. Really a waste of my time.” – Ralph Tafoya

Upon being reminded of the date, Ralph added an addendum to his response. – Editor

“I forgot it; you got me! Joke’s on me. OK, you’re forgiven LOL.” – Ralph Tafoya

A few others almost got the “gotcha.” – Editor

“Ah, yes….it must be that time of year. You really got me this time as I was having great difficulty in trying to understand the gist of an article when it suddenly dawned…” – Pete Passof

“After I realized the date, I decided that you are possessed of an evil and twisted sense of humor! Keep it up!” – Dick Hanna

Then there was some “constructive” commentary on the contents. – Editor

“I’m not sure that the plans for the ‘hot dog’ saw really got to the meat of the subject.” – Linda and Tom Allen

“That clear finish formula is rich. It surely seems to fit the specifications and will seem to disappear as soon as the finish is dried. That 1,000-grit paper will keep the worker busy for a while smoothing out the raised grain. Thanks for many interesting articles. Check your mail for my $19.95 contribution to your retirement fund.” – Robert Barth

“Just a few thoughts regarding ‘information’ provided in the recent issue of the eZine. Regarding the turkey table problem, if you coat the edges of the table with turpentine instead of gravy, it will reduce the teeth marks. Don’t ask me how I know this.

“Everyone knows you can’t create hollow cores on a lathe: only convex ones. I’ve been doing this with my three remaining fingers for the last several years, and believe me, I know all about convex coring.

“The front wheel in the Ice Chipper picture is turning the wrong way. In order to provide proper stopping ability, the front wheel needs to have the teeth rotating anti-clockwise. If you turn clockwise, only the back wheels will bite. Personally, I use the Ice Chopper model, which has much more aggressive anti-vibration squiggles. Now, I can text while ripping black diamonds.” – Gee Nious, Nutjob, Antarctica

And some general reaction. – Editor

“Funny, funny, funny! Loved it!” – Loren Lemmerman

“You guys are hilarious! I really want a hotdog saw, though. It’ll be great for the Cub Scout campouts!” – Mary Louise Mayo

“Just as good as your regular issues. Keep it up. Nothing wrong with AprilFool!” – George LaMotte

You can be assured, George, that we will keep at it. Same date, next year… – Editor

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