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Thread: Shooting Planes - Are they worth it?

  1. #1

    Shooting Planes - Are they worth it?

    I know this is a highly subjective topic (and there are probably many different opinions on it), but I thought I would ask to see what people think to see if there is some sort of a consensus. The question is regarding shooting planes. Specifically, are they worth the (relatively) high cost to have a dedicated plane for shooting. I'm relatively inexperienced when it comes to hand tool woodworking and have been using my #62 LN for shooting. It has worked ok for me so far, but since I also use this plane for general use (flattening, jointing shorter boards, etc), I always have to resharpen and fiddle with it to get it setup for shooting. Because of this, I sometimes "cheat" and rely on my miter saw for squaring up end grain. I know this is not optimal and want to do it the right way. I'm pretty certain I want a dedicated shooting plane, but the question I have at this point is whether or not the so called "shooting" planes perform substantially better than say a #5 1/2 or #6 that are dedicated to shooting. If I were to purchase a proper shooting plane, I would be looking at LV and LN, probably leaning towards the LV just because of the price difference. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    check the recent thread still on the first page in this forum

  3. #3
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    John, I started out with an old Stanley jack plane & it still is my most used plane, BUT it is sure is convenient to grab another plane set up with a finely honed blade to shoot end grain. I have my low angle jack set up for shooting but still do not have a LV or LN “shooter”. Seems like a nice luxury.
    Last edited by Mark Rainey; 05-20-2019 at 6:52 PM.

  4. #4
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    A lot depends on you. What kind of budget do you have for woodworking? A bargain to one guy may be more than another will spend in a year.

    Sort of the best way I can see a semi-universal value is the “what should I get next” question. If I need a dead square cut, I use a miter box, and if I did not have one would probably buy that before I bought a shooting plane. I use my No. 7 to shoot and it works well.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM Martin View Post
    I know this is a highly subjective topic (and there are probably many different opinions on it), but I thought I would ask to see what people think to see if there is some sort of a consensus. The question is regarding shooting planes. Specifically, are they worth the (relatively) high cost to have a dedicated plane for shooting. I'm relatively inexperienced when it comes to hand tool woodworking and have been using my #62 LN for shooting. It has worked ok for me so far, but since I also use this plane for general use (flattening, jointing shorter boards, etc), I always have to resharpen and fiddle with it to get it setup for shooting. Because of this, I sometimes "cheat" and rely on my miter saw for squaring up end grain. I know this is not optimal and want to do it the right way. I'm pretty certain I want a dedicated shooting plane, but the question I have at this point is whether or not the so called "shooting" planes perform substantially better than say a #5 1/2 or #6 that are dedicated to shooting. If I were to purchase a proper shooting plane, I would be looking at LV and LN, probably leaning towards the LV just because of the price difference. Thoughts?
    John,

    My LN #62 was purchased mainly for shooting before the other shooting planes were released to market. A recent visit to an LN Tool Event has left me coveting a bona fide shooting plane. My choice would be the LV because of the lower angle, along with the lower cost.

    The low angle leaves a nicer surface on the end grain than any Bailey style plane could.

    My first shooing of end grain used a #6. My right shoulder suffers from an old injury. That got me to go with the #62. This helped a lot on the shooting board. Since then my shoulder still bothers me at times so the hot dog on my #62 was switched to the other side, my shooting board was reconfigured and now my shooting is done left handed. If my funding is good around my birthday or Christmas a left hand shooting plane may find its way into my stocking.

    Some of my shooting is also done with a low angle block plane, #65.

    Maybe the inexpensive way out for you would be to purchase an old Stanley/Bailey #5 to use for the non-shooting work and dedicate the #62 to end grain.

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

  6. #6
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    I use a shooting board/plane on virtually every project. Even after sawing with a miter box, I use it for a final finish. Given the frequent use, I purchased the LV shooting plane. For me, worth every penny.

  7. #7
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    I have a dedicated Plane for shooting it’s the #9 that Lie Neilson used to sell. The shape makes it goofy for anything else so it stays sharp and ready.
    So I say yes it’s worth having a dedicated shooter.
    Aj

  8. #8
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    John, as you say, it is a subjective topic.

    I have used every variety of shooting board and shooting plane, and have written extensively on them. A shooting board is important for me to finesse a fitting, especially drawers. A dedicated shooting plane is a bonus - I do not believe that one is essential, but it is a boon if you can afford it. There are other planes I place ahead of one, for sure. It comes down to personal priorities.

    I have demonstrated that the LV LA Jack can be a nicer and better experience than a dedicated shooting plane, such as the (no-longer-made) LN mitre plane #9. It depends on technique. And then, a shooting plane, such as the LN #51, is a real step up from both these, especially when in a dedicated shooting board (rather than one which is also used for other purposes). This is because the #51-varieties have a difference balance point, and require a side rail to track straight. I am fortunate to own both the LN #51 and the Veritas Shooting Plane, and can use either on a Stanley #52 shooting board. I think that the LN is a stunningly beautiful plane. However the Veritas lives on my shooting board as it is a better user. Review here: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolRev...tingPlane.html

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  9. #9
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    I use a LN 4-1/2 as a shooting plane and works for me.

  10. #10
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    I use a LV Low Angle Jack with a 25* iron for a shooting plane. It works well, although the A2 iron is subject to micro chipping when I shoot White Oak. Perhaps a new PM-V11 iron next time LV has free shipping

    Like Jim, I was really taken by the dedicated shooting planes. The combination of the Low Angle and Skewed Iron really makes short work on end grain. I can't rationalize the cost currently, but if I start making things with length critical parts like drawers I might consider one
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  11. #11
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    I ran a LV LAJ for some time.

    SB-Guide-Rail-3.jpg

    I had the dedicated plane on my wish list for some time and Santa Clause brought it one year.

    Shootingboard v2 (4).jpg

    I also have a little bevel shooter for small boxes.

    Shooting Board miter acc (6).jpg

    The value will be directly proportional to what you do with it. If you haven't 'needed' one yet, I'd say you are doing fine without it.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    John, as you say, it is a subjective topic.

    I have used every variety of shooting board and shooting plane, and have written extensively on them. A shooting board is important for me to finesse a fitting, especially drawers. A dedicated shooting plane is a bonus - I do not believe that one is essential, but it is a boon if you can afford it. There are other planes I place ahead of one, for sure. It comes down to personal priorities.

    I have demonstrated that the LV LA Jack can be a nicer and better experience than a dedicated shooting plane, such as the (no-longer-made) LN mitre plane #9. It depends on technique. And then, a shooting plane, such as the LN #51, is a real step up from both these, especially when in a dedicated shooting board (rather than one which is also used for other purposes). This is because the #51-varieties have a difference balance point, and require a side rail to track straight. I am fortunate to own both the LN #51 and the Veritas Shooting Plane, and can use either on a Stanley #52 shooting board. I think that the LN is a stunningly beautiful plane. However the Veritas lives on my shooting board as it is a better user. Review here: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolRev...tingPlane.html

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Wow, Derek, what a great write up. Thanks for passing it along. Based on your findings, it seems my intuition is headed in the right direction. Now, just time to save the pennies.

  13. #13
    I think you want to buy a double iron plane rather than a shooting board plane. In fact here are probably lots of other planes that would better increase your capabilities.

    I recommend shooting end grain in a vise. Knife the board all the way around, bevel the far end, and plane to the knife line. With this traditional method, you can control the amount of skew you want. This will help develop your skill and eventually be the most efficient way.

    I have been to eight Lie Nielsen events, but I have never seen surfaces that strike me as high quality. I don't know whether it is the sharpening or steel or what.

  14. #14
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    Knifing deeply against an accurate square and shooting upright in a vice will produce the square end you need. Generally end grain shouldn't show in any great quantity so there's no need to aim for a pristine, show surface in most cases, not that planing upright can't produce one when necessary.

    If you can square a line around a workpiece with a knife, there is no confusion what or where square is. Those who assert that you should knife a line and use a shooting board are missing the point of the board in the first place.

    Summary: you can do without a shooting board quite easily.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 05-21-2019 at 12:00 PM.

  15. #15
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    Summary: you can do without a shooting board quite easily.
    There are many ways to skin a cat.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

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