In my ‘shop, the shooting board or ‘shute is without question the most used appliance at the bench. In fact it lives permanently underneath and is available for instant use.
In a previous episode of the Blog, I had a look at one of the main bugbears of a shooting board, that of tippage and some of my remedies to cure the affliction.
The final part of the ‘shute build is to make the ‘stop’ adjustable, so that it will always register at 90° to the runway and sole of the plane. This is actually much easier than it sounds as all that’s required is a couple of screws and a large, chunky washer.
The first thing you’ll need to source is a traditional No.10 or 12 plain shank, countersunk, brass or steel screw. Brass screws are still easy enough to get hold of, but the steel equivalents which were so common years ago, have vanished from the face of the earth – if you manage to find some, treasure them like miser’s gold!
Two holes are drilled in the stop, the first one near the runway. This must be an exact or slightly smaller diameter than the shank of the steel or brass screw as it’s this that acts as a pivot for the stop. The screw needs to be very tight when it’s fitted – a little candle wax round the shank helps enormously.
The second screw to find is a little easier. It’s a 6mm, hex headed coach screw which you’ll be able to find in any hardware store. The hole for this one is drilled at the opposite end and should be around 8mm, so it’s a very sloppy fit.
By now, if the penny has dropped, you should see that once the stop, with its two screws and large washer, has been assembled onto the shooting board, there will be some sideways play at one end. This is deliberate and allows a degree of adjustment to obtain a true 90°. Plane a trial piece and test it for square so that when it’s perfect, simply tighten the hex headed bolt against the large washer to lock the stop permanently in place. Should it ever move slightly (and it may do), it’s the work of seconds to re-adjust it.
Here’s a final picture of my much-used shooting board, with all the main features that have been discussed. It’s made from a couple of bits of mdf, lipped, glued and screwed together. The only additional things that have been added are a hook to locate it onto the bench front and a clear acrylic, perspex runway.
Next time, I’ll look at a couple of additional add-ons to the standard shooting board which makes it even more versatile. In the meantime, if you have any comments, good, bad or indifferent, please don’t hesitate to leave them below.