Friday, February 17, 2012

Mitre Shooting Board

Its been a very busy week here in the wood shop. Some shop made tools were at the top of my list both new book projects as well as a few made out of necessity. A furniture project that incorporates a mitered box with splines to hold a drawer is next on my list. It’ll eventually be veneered but the long grain miters is the reason for this new, ‘old’ bench top appliance. Mitered boxes are usually  manufactured on a table saw but here in the Unplugged Wood shop I wanted a method for making them accurately and efficiently with hand tools.
I came across an article online that was originally written for Woodworker Magazine in 1964- Mitre Shooting Board by K.G.Wells shows a great design for a shooting board with end ramps cut at 45 degrees making it perfect for cutting long miters with a hand plane. I made a Donkey’s Ear for my standard shooting board a few years ago but find its better suited for end grain work on pieces 2-in. square and under. This appliance will be dedicated for small, mitered box sides and small cabinet components.

This afternoon I made a quick version of the Wells design and thought I’d share it with you. You may be able to find the article online if you Google the title and authors name.Here is a diagram from the original article. I didn’t follow the exact specs of the pieces but used the diagram for reference.
To begin, I dimensioned some 3/4-in. cherry plywood for the base and cut a small, shallow groove about an inch in from one edge with my plow plane.

a small groove is cut into the plywood bottom board.

The end ramps are made from some 2-in. solid cherry cut down to about 1 5/8-in. These 45 degree miters are critical and should be carefully executed.

main end ramps are mitered on a bench hook.

a block plane refines the slope.

I used some 1/4-in. plywood for ‘packing’ as Wells describes it. This lifts the work piece being mitered off the bed and away from the plane blade.  This thin plywood is glued to the main 3/4-in. plywood base and is carefully fit between the two outside cherry ramps.
The top-guide is made from some stable solid cherry stock and is again mitered along its length. To begin the miter, I use my Jack plane and removed the bulk of the material. I fine tune the angle with a block plane being careful not to plane down past my scribe lines. The top ramp is pre-drilled and attached to the end stops.

a Jack plane removes the bulk of the material.

a block plane refines the angle.

The shooting board is assembled and put through some tests. I’m happy with this design and strongly recommend this bench top appliance to anyone that wants to build mitered boxes or cabinet components. Cheers!

assembled and ready for a test drive.

the dedicated Miter plane works well with this configuration.
front view showing plane on ramp.

a quick sample of long and end grain miters.