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Shooting Board / Bench Hook (2006)

This is another one of those "simple but effective" projects. I've used a shooting board for a few years that was cobbled together from scrap hardwood, but it didn't have a base for the plane to ride on since I used it on my old melamin-topped bench. The plane rode on the melamine just fine, but now that I have a fancy-schmancy hard maple bench I wanted a bit of protection from scratching up the bench top. So I made this new simple shooting board:

It's very basic construction. The base and 1/2" baltic birch ply and the fence is scrap 1" poplar. The only trick here is getting the fence exactly 90 degrees to the base. I used a couple accurate squares to get close, and then made a few test cuts to ensure it was dead-on. Then I secured the fence to the base with screws so that I can make future adjustments if needed.

I debated making a ramped board, but in the end decided the effort probably wasn't worth the payback, and since I needed the board to fit a few dresser drawers I wanted to finish quickly. From start to finish I have less than an hour in this board - probably more like 30 minutes.

These things work great, and they're the best way I've found to make very small corrections to the length of a board or tweak the squareness of a crosscut. I also occasionally use this to make a crosscut on a board with a handsaw. I keep it hanging near my bench so that it's always withing easy reach.

Here are a few more pics:

Copyright 2006 Chris Billman