My wife is out of the country attending a conference, and while I do have kid duty (age 4.5 and 3), I still manage to steal away from time to time to do some woodworking. Gotta love those DVDs that have the “Play Continuously” option!

So even though I’m supposed to be working on my bench, I get these ideas of things to make and want to act on them. One of them is to make my wife a little box. She has no need of a little box, but it’s the thought that counts. Well, the thought for her and also the thought of trying some more dovetails and maybe my first splines. Let’s be honest here.

But before I get started on a box, I thought it would be a good idea to make myself a couple shooting boards – one at a 90-degree angle, another at a 45-degree angle. I was initially turned on to shooting boards from Landis’ workbench book, and then the video I watched from fellow LumberJock Mot put me over the edge.

But just prepping the wood for the shooting boards is quite the hassle with the bench (simple cabinet) I have to work with! I only have an all-purpose vise on the top, but it’s bolted into like a 1/8″ top so it wobbles all over the place, and one day will just pull right out, I know it. The bench is so long that it is extremely difficult to cut on the right side of it, and even if I could, the cabinet storage underneath makes clamping virtually impossible if not done on the very edge.

I’m green enough as a woodworker that I don’t mind talking about (or posting pictures of) me doing crazy stupid stuff. Here is one such picture: me getting creative trying to saw off the ends of this scrap Ikea shelf. You can see the vice threatening to pull right out – thus my hand functioning as an additional clamp. Click the pic for full size:

Help! I need some clamps!

Oh, and about the title of the post. At one point I got frustrated, thinking I was wasting all this time just for a couple shooting boards. But then I realized the inherent value of these jigs and just how much time they will save me in the long run. Well worth the effort.

But yes, I did for one moment wish that I had a table saw.

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