Experiments with a Shooting Board

For a long time I’ve wanted to build and experiment with a traditional shooting board for use with my hand planes.  A recent article in Popular Woodworking magazine has prompted me to take the plunge and make one so that I can use it on my current desk project.  An expanded version of the article can be found a the Popular Woodworking website by clicking here.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been reading all that I can on the Internet and elsewhere about building and using shooting boards, and I’ve gained a fair amount of "paper" knowledge about them.  Now its time to build one and see how they work in practice.

Below are a variety of links with good information on shooting boards:

Of course, all this reading got me thinking about ways to add a bit of modern technology to this excellent piece of old engineering,  After all, I’m trying to do "blended" woodworking, right?

My first thought is that the sliding surface of a shooting board has a lot of metal to wood contact (or wood to wood if you are using a wooden plane), and therefore a lot of friction in use.  So, how about if I build a shooting board using UHMW (Ultra-High Molecular Weight) plastic as the base for the sliding surface?  I just happened to have a piece of UHMW laying around the shop from making bearings for the CNC project.  After I’m done, I might use a spring-scale attached to a plane to see how much resistance there is on the UHMW, verses wood, verses plastic laminate.  That should tell me if the UHMW is worth the trouble. 

I’ve begun to build a shooting board that is in most respects very traditional, but it will have a few "tweaks" to see if I can improve on it a bit…UHMW, for one, and maybe a couple of other ideas.    The first shooting board that I build will be a quick-and-dirty prototype with which to experiment.  After I have a design that I like, I will build a hardwood version for long-term use.

I’m also considering experimenting with the "ramped" version that Michael Conner uses in his design.  I don’t see where this design improves performance, but it does distribute wear across more of the plane blade’s surface, and that is a good thing.  Unfortunately it also reduced the width of the piece that you can trim with the shooting board, so maybe its not worth it…I need to think about that.  The first prototype will have a "flat" surface.

About mattsanf

Matt Sanfilippo is the Chief Partnership Officer (CPO) for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Co-Director of its Engineering Research Accelerator. In this role, Matt coordinates and enables strategic and sponsored research opportunities across the college, and stewards the development of proposals for major research opportunities along strategic themes. Additionally, he enables collaboration among the college's research institute/center executive directors, and industrial and government relations personnel in the pursuit of opportunities with industry, federal and state governments. Before becoming CPO for the College, Matt was the Senior Executive Director for Research Initiatives, the Executive Director of CMU's SII (Smart Infrastructure Institute) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) and RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania). Before CMU, Matt was Managing Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, an engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed Baker's technology division including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality, visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on information security, supply chain and mobility solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, an infrastructure engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is on the board of Larson Design Group (LDG), past Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, current board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), current Vice President of the Sewickley Heights Gun Club (SHGC) and former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on November 3, 2006, in Tools and Shop, Woodworking. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Experiments with a Shooting Board.

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