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Thread: Shooting Boards Do I really Need Them?

  1. #1
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    Shooting Boards Do I really Need Them?

    I have done woodworking most of my life and feel like my work is pretty accurate. I have made several shooting boards and still have some, but never really found that I used them. I have an industrial quality table saw and sleds to help with accuracy and I use a high quality 60 tooth carbide saw blade most of the time. I appreciate the ability that the shooting board has to get clean end grain surfaces and to tweak a surface in very small increments i.e. with miters. The thing is, with the 60t blade, careful adjustments, accurate sleds and quality table saw, I seem to get by without using the shooting boards. What am I missing?
    I don't want to ruffle any feathers, I imagine some are passionate about needing a shooting board. I am just trying to understand what I may be missing.

  2. #2
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    I have two shooting boards that I would not live without. One for 90* cuts and one for 45* miters. I can and do work without them but for furniture and instrument work they are superior to machines, at least for me. The first time I built and used a shooting board it was like having a blindfold yanked off. It improved the quality of my work a great deal.
    Andrew Gibson
    Infinity Cutting Tools

  3. #3
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    Hmm ... why do you ask? Seems like an odd question to post in the hand tool forum. If you were doing your cross cuts with handsaws, my guess is that you would use a shooting board more regularly. Given that you are cross cutting on the table saw and getting results that you are happy with, then its hard to argue that you are missing anything.

  4. #4
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    It all depends on your style of working. Many of my cuts come off the saw without any need to be taken to the shooting board for squaring. However the saw does leave the end grain a touch fuzzy looking. A stroke or two on the shooting board makes it much smoother. Cosmetically you may be able to achieve the same thing with a bit of sanding after assembly. On my projects sandpaper is not used very often.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
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    This is what I have been using..lately....
    Langdon 75.jpg
    YMMV...

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Joe A Faulkner View Post
    Hmm ... why do you ask? Seems like an odd question to post in the hand tool forum. If you were doing your cross cuts with handsaws, my guess is that you would use a shooting board more regularly. Given that you are cross cutting on the table saw and getting results that you are happy with, then its hard to argue that you are missing anything.
    Pretty much this. Shooting boards are handy for when you use a hand saw and saw off the line. But if you've been doing it long enough, I daresay you can saw to the line with only a minor touch up from the plane needed afterwards to which a shooting board may not be required.

  7. #7
    I understand your question. Everyone loves them but you canít figure out how your work would improve with them.

    The shooting board excels at being able to take one shave at a time. This allows you to shim and adjust the fit in a more controlled way than even a cross cut sled affords.

    Small pieces are sometimes easier to work on a shooting board than larger ones.í

  8. #8
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    I ask because my impression is that others who use hand tools and power tools (as I do) seem to use and like shooting boards. Jim's response make sense to me thanks Jim.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Prashun!

  10. #10
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    Makes sense to me!

  11. #11
    I have never owned a table saw. I made a shooting board around 1982. I used it a few times and put it on a shelf. It is more efficient and quite a bit more comfortable to do your shooting with the wood in a vise.

    Traditional uses for the shooting board included shooting joints for very thin wood or shooting miters on small pieces.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark R Webster View Post
    The thing is, with the 60t blade, careful adjustments, accurate sleds and quality table saw, I seem to get by without using the shooting boards. What am I missing?
    .
    I have a tablesaw and jigs that can do what you described (but a lot don't, either because of their inferior saws or poor tune-up or both). I use the shooting board when it is too risky to use a spinning blade that has vibration. A quick example: I had a dead miter cut, but a last minute design change required me to narrow the stock a hair bit. I could run the piece along the saw fence to trim the "fat," but I worried about a break-out on the entry end of the miter).

    Any damage on the tip of the miter would be disastrous. No chance taken, and the shooting board was the savior.

    Freehand? I was not sure about the consistency I could get on all four members. On the shooting board, I simply count in my head: 1,2, 3.... on each piece.

    I have two shooting boards, and use them when they are the best way of achieving my goals -- whatever they are. You are not missing anything if you work is taken care of well by your current set-up.

    Simon
    Last edited by Simon MacGowen; 08-01-2018 at 6:52 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe A Faulkner View Post
    If you were doing your cross cuts with handsaws, my guess is that you would use a shooting board more regularly. Given that you are cross cutting on the table saw and getting results that you are happy with, then its hard to argue that you are missing anything.
    +1. I agree.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  14. #14
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    Similar to my own uses, sometimes if we don't ask we don't know what we don't know. Thanks Simon

  15. #15
    I make picture frames pretty often. Shooting boards rule. Nothing off my saw compares. And I have a great saw.

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