Get Woodworking Week - Shooting Board

Tom at Tom's Workbench has created Get Woodworking Week to encourage people to get off the sidelines and out into their shop. If you're following me, you know that I'm knees deep in a Split Top Roubo Workbench build, but that doesn't mean I can participate in Get Woodworking Week! It was a Sunday morning when I glued the bench top pieces together, which meant there was nothing further I could do on the bench until that evening at the earliest. At lunch I was thinking about quick shop projects I could do that afternoon. Something useful. Something... A shooting board!

Before we get into that, I want to mention how woodworking fits into my life. Like everyone else, I’m stretched for time. Between my businesses, my volunteer work, and my family there aren’t many hours left in the day for the craft. But woodworking is a priority for me and I find ways to make it work. I have a 3 year old son, who thankfully goes to bed faithfully at 8:00pm, so shop time during the week often starts after that. On the weekend I’ve found ways to include my son in the wood shop. He loves to clean up or watch me work, so it’s often a great opportunity to do some housekeeping or sharpen tools - while keeping him safe. His favorite task is picking up shavings, meaning I’m often instructed to plane a board so he has material to clean up. The best is when he wants to learn. His inquisitive mind in action is an enjoyable experience. And of course there are times when I get alone shop time on the weekend thanks to my understanding wife. It’s about balancing my priorities and shop time often gets to the top of the list.

To make the experience enjoyable for me, I often set goals. This helps me feel constructive even if I don’t have much time in the shop. On Sunday my goal was ‘make a shooting board’. I had all these ideas of making things adjustable and fancy features, but I stepped back and thought... ‘I’ve never had a shooting board before, so let’s start simple and assess my needs after using this one’. I did want the bed sloped so the material would be force downward during the cut... just because I did. I used some shop grade plywood for the base and the bed and maple as the fence faces. I added a thin piece of cherry, because that was the only thin piece I found in the pile, to raise the plane surface up higher. The entire project was glued together using MitreBond CA Glue.

I met my goal and now I have a great tool for ensuring accurate 90 degree cuts. Now get out there and do some woodworking!

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