Shooting a Shooting Board

Those that follow this blog know that I am a hybrid woodworker but also that I tend to lean toward handtools.  Given this fact it puzzles me that I have not built a good shooting board or bench hook until now.  I have always just relied on my clamps, vises, and scrap wood.  The problem with this is that it takes time to set up and there is a chance for error everytime I set up.  Taking the time to build a quality shooting board is a must and you will be amazed at the accuracy possible with such a simple set up.

In building a shooting board there were a few decisions that I had to make: material, purpose, and size.

I am all for solid woods but being in the construction business I also know that composite wood can be much more stable.  Due to this fact I decided that MDF, although not something I would probably build with makes a great material for shop jigs.  The product is very smooth and super stable so I don’t have to worry about movement that would cause it to become out of square…and it’s cheap too!

As for design, I wanted to be able to comfortable use the jig as a bench hook for crosscutting and for trimming my crosscuts as a shooting board.  Being left handed the design I choose allows me to cut on the left side of the fence and trim on the right side of the fence.  Not sure if other lefties are this way but I cut with my left hand but prefer to control the wood with my left when shooting a board.  Keep this in mind and experiment before you build to see which is most natural for you.

After deciding on the material and design, I stopped by Home Depot and picked up an 18″x5′x3/4″ MDF board.  By going with a base that was 14″x20″ and a top board that was 11″x20″, I had enough scrap left over for the fence and hook on the bottom.  I had very little scrap left over and the shooting board is comfortable to work with when using with a plane or crosscutting with my saw.  This size also left me with a 3″ track for my plane to ride on.  I am using my Lie Nielsen #7 and it fits perfect.

Now that the shooting board is complete I don’t know how I made it so long without one.  I can already see that this will probably stay on my bench most of the time as a go to source for accuracy.


Below I have attached the Google Sketch Up file for anyone interested.

Google Sketch Up – Shooting Board

As always….keep on woodworking!

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4 Responses to “Shooting a Shooting Board”

  1. Chris Adkins
    October 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Thanks Trevor. I can see where having a board that could be used frI'm the left or right would have it's advantages.

  2. Trevor Walsh
    October 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    I'm a lefty, my bench hook gets sawed on the left, and my shooting board is a left and right side version. I only need one face and edge flat and square to shoot on. I just flip which side I'm cutting on.

  3. Chris Adkins
    October 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Thanks Dyami. The nice thing about the MDF is it is very smooth and heavy being so dense.

  4. Dyami
    October 8, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    Nice shooting board, Chris. I hobbled mine together from OSB, but I think I'll go your MDF route once I finally build a bench worth putting a shooting board on.

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