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Am I crippling myself by not having a shooting board?

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LancsRick

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I'm making some really simple small shelving units at the moment, with a mixture of mitre and butt joints. The difference between my past projects is I am being utterly obsessive with the accuracy - I need to up my game and do proper joinery.

Whilst butt joints are perfect straight off my mitre saw (Dewalt DWS780), my mitres seem to suffer from a bit of blade deflection (best guess), even if I take a "sliver" cut.

Now I've never made or used a shooting board, but I suspect the answer to my woes is to embrace this traditional and proven approach to perfect end faces.

I'm currently thinking that making myself a 90 and 45 degree shooting board and getting an old low angle jack plane (I often restore planes) to rectify this.

Good move and right conclusion?
 

thetyreman

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definitely make a shooting board, it will improve the accuracy massively, both square ends and especially mitres. I am thinking of getting a dedicated plane for it, ideally a low angle jack plane just for the job but that's not essential.
 

AndyT

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Go for it!
There's no need for a special plane or fancy construction. I've been using this bit of old MFC and softwood offcuts for quite a long time now and it's been perfectly good enough.

 

Trevanion

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LancsRick":24yw69pt said:
Whilst butt joints are perfect straight off my mitre saw (Dewalt DWS780), my mitres seem to suffer from a bit of blade deflection (best guess), even if I take a "sliver" cut.
In what way are they suffering? Too much/Too little angle on the mitres or are the cuts not 90 degrees vertically? Slither cuts are more likely to deflect than any other as you're only cutting on one side of the blade, for an accurate cut you really have to take a full blade width cut with slow feed with a sharp blade.

Although I don't have one, I imagine a shooting board is a handy thing to have anyway if you plan on doing a lot of mitre work anyway as it's a good way of cleaning up and guaranteeing a perfect joint. Although I think it would be best to either buy a new low angle jack or just use a regular angled one as old low angle planes such as a Stanley 62 are rare as hens teeth and command a premium price usually about the same as a Lie Nielsen or more. I also remember someone saying that the Stanley 62s weren't all that great anyway and the Lie Nielsen really improved upon and perfected the design. I reckon a regular no 04 or 05 plane would be more than adequate for shooting board work.
 

thetyreman

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Lie Nelsen no 164 looks ideal for it and it'd double up and a nice smoother for woods like sapele with interlocking grain.
 

custard

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LancsRick":zzwy1z0y said:
my mitres seem to suffer from a bit of blade deflection (best guess), even if I take a "sliver" cut.
Rick, you should say "ESPECIALLY if take a sliver cut". If the blade is only partially buried in the workpiece it will tend to deflect out of the cut, that's just a fact of life with any saw, best accuracy comes from a cut where the saw is fully engaged in the workpiece.

I think this is a case of the grass always being greener.

You've got a decent mitre saw, properly set up and with a sharp blade you will not be able to improve on it with a shooting board. Don't misunderstand me, once you've got a reasonable amount of shooting board experience under your belt then your shooting board results won't be any worse than with your mitre saw, but the bottom line is that one is not inherently superior to the other and you've already got all the kit you need for cutting first class mitres.
 

LancsRick

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Thanks all. What I'm getting is a slight bulge in the middle of the mitre, so the end of the board is fractionally convex. I might recheck all my setup to see if anything has drifted.
 

ColeyS1

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Fit a sharp blade, if you can hold a......oh balls

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ColeyS1

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One of the perks of living next door to my work is it's easier for me to take pictures lol.

If you use one of these and rotate by hand you should notice if theres any major blade deflection. My old mitre saw was terrible for it (think the technical term was an oscillation issue) and after replacing the saw I was surprised when I had a quote for£65 to replace the offending part.

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RobinBHM

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LancsRick":3dnfeznw said:
Thanks all. What I'm getting is a slight bulge in the middle of the mitre, so the end of the board is fractionally convex. I might recheck all my setup to see if anything has drifted.
mitre saws all suffer from a bit of play, some more than others. Have you tried being extra careful not to introduce any bias into the movement as the saw cuts through -its easy for the hand to put more pressure on way or the other.

Rounded cuts are often the result of a blunt blade. Also very fine blades if less than 100% sharp can require more pressure to cut through than blades with less teeth. I personally would always try a change of blade first.

What you describe is a common problem -I think its caused by the blade vibrating as it cuts through and goes off line, nipping a bit off as it cuts through the tip of the mitre.

clamping the work is worth doing -it allows for full concentration on the cut.
Depending on the component size, a false fence screwed to a board may help.

I have found mitre saws are never perfect, especially on compound cuts. I used to use a Dewalt saw for cutting jack rafters for lanterns and despite endless effort to calibrate the saw, I could never get a good joint. I ended up using the panel saw with a 400mm blade which could manage the depth of cut -never had a prob since.

As Custard says, I would exhaust options on the mitre saw first.
 

ED65

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Deffo on the shooting board. Hayward and other sources recommend making one as an early project for the beginning woodworker so that's exactly what I did, I think I made my combination bench hook/shooting board week one and have used it nearly every week since.

On the plane, a low-angle plane is absolutely not needed for shooting. It's probably most common to shoot with a normal bench plane rather than with a low-angle plane of some kind. Worth mentioning that the plane's cheek doesn't need to be dead square to the sole to shoot accurately? If the plane you use does have the relevant cheek dead square that's all to the good but if not you can use lateral adjustment to make the cutting edge square and that's what really matters.

If you want recommendations for a design, this one on the Fine Woodworking YT channel has been posted numerous times here and often gets a thumbs up. There are many many other iterations though and as Andy says they can be really very simple, even quite primitive, in construction and work perfectly as long as the important aspects are right.
 

dzj

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Dull blades, gunk on the teeth and gullets, plunging speed, play in any axis od rotation, all contribute to inconsistent quality of resulting cuts.
Have you tried making a TS sled for mitre cuts? They usually work pretty well and you can add stop blocks, so each piece comes out the same length.
As someone who recently mitered ~400m of window beading, I can tell you that a shooting board comes in very handy also.
 

HOJ

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With the saw, don't lift the saw blade out of the cut whilst its still spinning, let the saw come to a rest in the cut, then lift out or move the work away clear of the blade.
 

Ttrees

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A tip if you're getting trouble with squareness, whilst shooting end grain,
Is to use some short squared up blocks before commiting with your newly assembled, razor sharp plane.
Shooting with a sacrificial block, long grain, will be easier to check for squareness, and refine thereafter.
Tom
 

LancsRick

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Thanks for all the replies everyone.

The blade is practically new, fine toothed and clean.
I'll recheck the saw setup to see if anything has come out of alignment.
I will do various practice cuts to try and ascertain if it's my technique. I'll include clamping as one of the variables. I'll check if I'm pulling the blade offline, and will let it come to rest before backing out of the cut. I'll also try chopping vs. sliding back into the workpiece.
I think I have a magnetic clamp for my dial gauge somewhere so I'll do a deflection test (though on reflection if it was deflection I'd expect a wider or ragged cut, it would need to be a dished blade to do this, which I've ruled out?).
 

Trevanion

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LancsRick":2c76u6fw said:
The blade is practically new, fine toothed and clean.
What blade is it out of curiosity?

I've found the plates on Freud blades to be a little on the thin side, usually around 2mm including the red coating and has a 2.8mm kerf. I use one of these CMT blades in my SCMS, it's over 2.5mm plate thickness with bare steel and the kerf is a hair over 3mm, you can definitely feel the weight difference in the plate compared to a Freud but it definitely makes for a much more rigid cut. The cut quality and longevity of the blade is also excellent, after 2 years it's still leaving a glassy finish even on really rough timbers like CLS :lol:
 

LancsRick

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It's a Freud, I can't remember the exact model number without going out and checking.

Interesting. The only other blade I have is the Dewalt one it came with, but that's a thicker blade. I'll factor that in to my investigations too!
 

Eric The Viking

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Whose brand of blade is it?

I bought a neg-rake one recently for my own mitre saw (250mm dia.), only to find it rang like a belll, and actually got louder on spin-down (my saw has no blade brake presently). That was a nasty surprise.

The noise is oscillation and affects accuracy (never mind the safety elves). That blade has cut a bit ragged from the outset, and it's relegated to rough use. I don't like it, as the osciallation also adds wear to the main bearing.

I also have a Trend 80t for it (NOT neg rake, so I have to be very careful). It's a very old blade, but the teeth are huge lumps of carbide, it is really well balanced, and the local people love sharpening it. It has copper dampening discs inserted and doesn't ring at all*. Superb cut, knife through butter, etc.

E.

*There are other systems including zig-zag laser cuts in the periphery, so I'm not saying it's the best approach, but that it works for this blade rather well.
 

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