shooting board

A shooting board isn’t considered a major project – or even a minor one – for most woodworkers. However, it’s something I want to write about because at this early stage in my woodworking journey, I’m learning something new with every endeavor.

Skills Learned/Practiced:

  • using a square (and I’m glad I invested in a Starrett)
  • using a block plane to trim up (flush) the edges
  • making a very thin cut with my dovetail saw (to avoid having to plane/sand)
  • gluing (sounds dumb, but I’ve had bad luck with glue in the past and have learned a bit since then)

Lessons Learned:

  • Factor Murphy’s Law into every project. Despite the fact that I checked that the cleat was square to the fence more times than even an obsessive-compulsive would, once I had the cleat screwed on, it was off of square! That’s exactly why I didn’t glue the cleat onto the fence in the first place. So I just popped one of the screws out, realigned and added the center screw in case the new screw hole was too close to the wrong one.
  • Always start with way more materials than you need. I’m such a beginning woodworker that I don’t even have any scrap yet! I had to buy the MDF and shelf scraps from Ikea’s refuse section (pretty cheap, though). Even then, I found myself short when planning my 45-degree angle shooting board. The plans I saw recommended 24″ long shooting boards. Since I don’t have any current plans for anything wider than a 2×10, I just went for something closer to 15″. I didn’t even consider how much space it would take for a 45-degree cleat going both ways! So that shooting board will have to wait.


  • Why do you need to have a 45-degree cleat going both ways? I suppose once I start trying to build something like a frame or box, it’ll come clear. But for now I can’t see it.
  • I’ve seen one reference (Landis, I think) recommend a groove for the chips right at the base of the fence. Is it really necessary?

I also plan to do a 45-degree shooting board like LumberJock Mot demonstrates in this video, but that’ll also have to wait.