Shooting board

It wasn’t long after getting into woodworking that I started drooling over premium hand planes like Veritas or Lie-Nielsen. Fast forward 3 or 4 years and I finally ordered my first high quality hand plane.

I went with the Veritas low angle jack plane. It comes with a 25 degree A2 blade which is ideal for end grain work. I also opted for and addition blade, a 38 degree blade which is great for smoothing, effectively making the plane twice as versatile for 40 bucks. A no brainer.

Because the low angle is great for end grain work, I figured I would take Jay Bates advise and make a shooting board. A shooting board is basically a guide for a plane to ensure accurate 90 degree and 45 degree planning of a work piece.

To get started you must first decide what material you want to use for the platform. Something flat and stable is ideal and that’s why I used ½” Baltic birch. MDF would also be a good choice. The size of your platform highly depends on the size of your plane. My plane measures 15” long so I made my platform 18” long. The bottom piece of the platform is 12” wide and the top piece is 9.5” wide leaving me 2.5” for my plane to run on.

I made the top piece 3.5” shorter than the bottom piece because I need to leave room for the fence as well as a back piece. I also made sure the top piece was PERFECTLY square as this is what my fence will reference off of.

Before gluing the two pieces together, I made a curf cut at 2.5” in from one side on the bottom piece. The cut is only about 1/8”deep and this is to allow room for any dust build up.

I then could glue the top piece to the bottom piece.

I used some heavy weight till the glue set.

Next I could make my fence. I used walnut for this but any hardwood will do. The important thing is to make sure it is very straight grained and running vertically.


This is because the fence is going to fit into a slot and wood shrinkage could cause the fence to become to loose in the slot. Here is a great link explaining wood movement.

The fence is 1.5” square with two slotted holes and a small rabbit on the front face.

the rabbit is at the bottom of the fence. it’s depth is the same length as the slotted holes and its height is a little higher than the distance from the edge of the plane to the blade. If you didn’t have this rabbit than you wouldn’t be able to trim the fence flush because of the portion of the plane where there is no blade wouldn’t get trimmed and it would be left to long. now I can set my fence up against the top part of the platform and then sandwich the back piece against it. I used a small amount of glue to avoid squeeze out and then clamped it together till the glue set.

I added two ¼” T-nuts to the bottom of the platform. Theses will be used to bolt the fence to the platform

I then bolted the fence to the platform making sure the fence is a little bit proud of the edge so I could trim it flush with the plane.

An important function of the fence is to prevent chip out on the back of your work piece. As the fence wears, you will no longer have zero clearance and chip out may occur. Because the holes are slotted in the fence you can keep advancing the fence to keep your zero clearance.

I then could test with a piece of scrap. If its perfectly square in both directions than its good. Don’t forget you can adjust the blade angle if its out of square from the platform to the work piece. The fence should be perfect if you made sure your plywood edge was perfect;)

For the 45 degree fence I first took a piece of ½” plywood 6” square and cut a 45 degree angle on the chop saw. I added a slotted hole in the center to attach it to the platform.

Added another 5/16” T-nut to the bottom of the platform so you can easily attach and remove the 45 degree fence.

I then took a 1.25” square piece of walnut and added a 7/16” deep by ¾” wide rabbit to one side.

This will give me an easy way to glue the fence to the plywood while still making sure the fence is exactly 45 degrees to the platform. I used some heavy weights to hold the fence till the glue set.

Finally I could attach the hook, a 1/2″ piece of plywood held with some glue.

I then could advance the fence slightly and trim it flush to the edge.

A must have for any woodworking shop:)