Tricks of the Trade: Adjustable Shooting Board
There’s really no substitute for a nice, dialed-in shooting board. It’s a bench appliance that every woodworker with a handplane should have for sneaking up to a line and making perfect miters. When I saw this particular trick in the archive, I thought I’d build it and see how well it worked.
The build is very simple – the adjustable shooting board sits in a snug dado. I took two passes with the dado stack to get the fit just right. If your table saw is adjusted properly, you should have no trouble making your dado parallel to the edge of plywood.
The original plan called for a cleat on the bottom of the board. This is ideal for end grain shooting – you have much more control if the shooting board isn’t moving around. From here it was a simple matter to use one of the holes on the bar of the miter gauge to secure it to the board.
The major flaw with this design is that there isn’t enough support to the back of the board to avoid blowing out the back of the board. Adding a backing board to the miter gauge would take care of this.
Also, using the bench as the bed for the plane is not the best practice. You really need a perfectly flat bench to make this shooting board work. You easily add a second layer of plywood to the shooting board to ensure accurate and repeatable shooting.
This isn’t a perfect shooting board, but I love the ingenuity!