Wednesday, 20 January 2016

How I Made My Miter Shooting Board (Pt. 2)

While I poured herbal tea into me and tried to cure my cold I have used the time to complete the post from last week.

Have a look.....

Just a reminder - the base and the stop blocks were done. A shelf, a guide and a bench hook have to be made and installed.

The Shelf

I didn't find another term for it. It's nothing else than another piece of ply glued to the base between the two stop blocks. The purpose of this shelf is to uplift the work piece being mitered above the extreme edge of the plane blade.

The "shelf" fitted between the two stop blocks

The board was aligned with the edge of the groove.
An awkward glue up followed. I guess I could have fixed it somehow different.

Gluing in the shelf board

After the glue cured there was one last step to be done.
The additional board will give you a perpendicular edge. But due to the bevel of the whole construction it has to be 45 degrees too. I think the angle is not critical as long as the edge has no impact on the angle of the plane.
The first portion you can plane down with the plane you will use on your shooting board in the future.
After a few strokes you will recognize the problem. It will not take any shaving any longer.
That's exactly the effect as I have described above.
To solve that I grabbed my rabbet block plane and planed down the edge a bit more. Until the "miter" plane could run smooth through the groove.

Beveling the edge of the shelf board

You can avoid the whole procedure if you would do a V-groove instead of a straight one. But I did not know a way to to do an accurate v-groove into ply wood with hand tools.

The Top Guide

Next stage. Between the two stop blocks a guide has to be mounted. The purpose of this part is to guide the plane.
The challenge again is to to establish a 45 degree bevel along the complete length of one edge.
As a starting point I have marked a 45° angle on one of the ends coming in a few millimeters from the top edge.

Marked a 45° angle

Now I took my marking gauge and scribed a line starting at the upper and lower point of the marked angle.

Lower scribe line

Upper scribe line

The scribe lines are my orientation for planing. No further measurement is necessary.
And now - happy shavings.
While planing down I've watched these two lines and from time to time I have checked the angle.
Doing this while planing leaves enough room for corrections or improvement.

Checking the bevel during the planing

And after a while, with a little bit of patience, I was done.

The result - spot on

It is nearly as easy as described. From my point of view the following points led into a nice result:

  1. Check your progress regularly. The earlier you recognize an error the easier you can correct it.
  2. Make fine shavings. Of course you can start with a coarse setting of your plane. But when you come closer to your lines decrease your setting.
  3. Be patient. Doing this kind of work takes it's time.

And here we are. The base, the stop blocks and the guide.

First dry fit

I couldn't wait, nor resist and have done a first test.
Here is the first miter joint from the incomplete shooting board.

First miter joint

I think it's looking good. The result is 90°, the joint is closed. What more do you want?
Alright, the guide had to be brought to length and then finally mounted on the stop blocks.

Therefore I have made one end square on the shooting board.
I took the measurement directly from the blocks.
Making the square end flush with the top stop block and then making a knife nick at the other end.

Flushing guide end and stop block

Making a mark

Squaring a knife line all around. Made a v-kerf and cut the guide to length. Finally squared it on the shooting board again.
Now it only has to be mounted into it's final position.
Therefore I've drilled some holes, countersunk them and screwed the screws in.

Drill some holes

Countersink them

Fixed with a SPAX Pozidriv screw


The Bench Hook

That's the most easiest task I guess. Cutting a piece of wood to length so that it will match the width of the base and mounting it under the near end.

Material needed for the hook

I'm usually gluing a piece of sandpaper to the inside of these bench hooks. This protects the board from sliding around.

Sand paper on the hook inside

Mounting the hook to the underside of the base

Here you are!

And that's it. The new miter shooting board. Let's see how it will work.

Test Run

All that done now the final test run.

I've cut two strips of scrap wood to length and shot them on the board.
See how they came out.

Test shots

I call it dead on

I'm glad about the result. The bevels came out spot on.
Of course, the first complete box frame will show if the result will be exact enough. I am of good cheer.

Final Thoughts

Two things I'm unsure about.

  1. Shall I finish it somehow? Linseed oil for example. I never have done that with my "normal" shooting board or other workshop devices.
  2. The second question is about the stop blocks. I've thought about the fastening for a while. Would it be better to do them somehow adjustable?
On my regular shooting board the stop block is attached with a pivot in front (sliding track side) acting as pivot point. On the opposite is it fixed with a bolt and a hand screw nut in an over sized hole. This let some room to shift. And you can adjust the stop block whenever it is out of square.
Would that make sense for a miter shooting board?

The final board

And last but not least I have to think about a hot dog for my low angle plane. I think it will make it easier to drive the plane.

What's Next

Now with the miter shooting board done and functional I can start soon with the first box designs.
I hope I could encourage you to build yours. Maybe my description will help somehow.
If you have got questions or remarks don't hesitate to get in contact.

Dudes, third week of the new year and the first project already done. This feels good.

Stay tuned!


  1. When I did the 'track' on my donkey ear jig, I used the board atop the two outside arms. It was already 45° and I used that to guide my chisel for making the track.
    I need a tapered shim in my jig to get a 45 - it's something on the A list to investigate and fix.
    Your jig looks great and I wouldn't put a finish on it all. But if you must I would use shellac.

    1. ah, sometimes the simple things are not so obvious.
      Using the beveled guide rail is dead simple.
      Thanks for this eye-opener.
      Regarding the finish. I just thought it would make sense to rub some oil on. Just for protection. Not to make it nice.