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Shooting Board Misery

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Jimson

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Any suggestions on the following would be much appreciated:

I made a shooting board following instructions in Vic Tesolin's great book The Minimalist Woodworker (it'll be me that's getting it wrong, not VT or his instructions) . It seems okay - it's square in the places it needs to be, and square when I offer the sole of the plane up to the fence and side of the runner.

I've been working on a piece of poplar (about half an inch thick, 5" wide and a foot long), just trying to get the end grain square, but it's not happening. I'm using an Axminster low angle jack plane (No.62). I've tried several pieces and alternatives, pine seems to square better but the poplar is ending up with a high spot in the middle or sometimes one corner ends up higher than the other. It's a real mess and the harder I try at it the worse the piece seems to get. On a short piece it can end up 2 or 3 mm down at the corner, and I can't understand how it's going so wrong. I'm careful to check for square, and I seemed to be seeing it, but the results are saying otherwise.

I thought I was using a sharp plane iron, but I'm beginning to have my doubts that it's sharp enough. When I sharpen it I get it so that it can cut paper. But in use on the shooting board, the waste coming off the poplar board is dust rather than shavings.

Could the problem be sharpness? Any other likely beginner errors I've given away?

Many thanks
Jim
 

AJB Temple

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Is the piece you are trying to plane rocking about on the shooting board? Post a picture of the shooting board. I can't say I have ever had this problem. I tend to use a heavy, long plane for this job as the weight seems to make everything smoother.
 

MikeG.

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Whack some of the poplar into the vice and take the same plane to its end grain. If you get a decent shaving in the vice but not on the shooting board, then there is no issue with the adjustment or sharpness of the plane, so it might be pressure (it needs a little strength), and feed-rate (of the workpiece into the plane). Wax up all the bearing surfaces of the shooting board. It helps.
 

Bod

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Have you got a standard angle plane?
No. 4 or above.
Get the blade really sharp.
Set chip breaker to 1/2mm back.
Place true edge against shooting board stop.
Adjust plane to only just, (if that) to take a shaving, on end grain you will just get "dust".
Only attempt to work the high spots at first.
Some wood will give end grain shavings, others give just dust.


Bod
 

Pete Maddex

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You should be getting end grain shavings so either it's not sharp or too steep an angle on your blade. I use a 5 2/2 on my shooting board with a sharp blade and a fine cut I get end grain shavings.
Have you tried a bevel down plane.

Pete
 

Jimson

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Thanks for all your responses. I've put a photo in.
When I'm using the board and plane there's nothing moving around except the plane on the runner - I'm pushing the piece against the fence and at the same time feeding or pushing the piece against the moving sole of the plane, while keeping the side of the plane flush with the runner. And using quite a bit of force too.
I'm using the low angle plane but have tried it with a second hand Stanley no.5 with bevel up. Same poor results.
I'll try putting it in the vice, as Mike suggests, and seeing if the same blade will take a shaving rather than sawdust.
 

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Pete Maddex

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I see the problem you are left-handed and using a right handed plane, Luckily I have a very rare left-handed plane that you can have for only £5000.

:wink: :D

Pete
 

That would work

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Pete Maddex":31vh4i8x said:
I see the problem you are left-handed and using a right handed plane, Luckily I have a very rare left-handed plane that you can have for only £5000.

:wink: :D

Pete
Includes a free skyhook I hope :lol:
 

Ttrees

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That's too short of a square to be sure of anything, and seems to me the most likely problem, but where it might be useful is checking that the plane and fence is square to the platform.
This could be causing wasted energy and vibrating the timber out of the cut.
Does a taller face edge still fit tight to the stop?
Tom
 

MikeG.

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Ttrees":cx8mdh9a said:
That's too short of a square .......and seems to me the most likely problem,.........
No, that's not the problem, patently. If the angle of the plane to the face of the stop was the issue, and the only issue, then all that would happen would be that the finished workpiece was at the wrong angle. That isn't what was described in the OP.
 

AJB Temple

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Looking at your photo, there is a gap between the plane and the board! It looks like the stop block is pushing the plane away from the work. Hence you will never get a square mating surface.

When you remake the shooting board :D change the design. (Have a look at the Rob Cosman version). I would have much more overrun after the back edge of the block so that the plane is always fully supported as the blade passes the work.

I can't really see what you are using as the bed (for the plane to rest on), but if that is not part of the shooting board and supporting the plane fully, change the design.
 

Steve lewis

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You mention that when you are using the shooting board set up you ‘ pushing the wood against the stop and feeding the wood into the plane,’ or words to that effect.
Just to be sure, the board needs to be held against the stop but the board should be held static as the plane blade is in contact with the wood. Ie the board is moved up to the plane sole after each pass. When you’re doing it correctly there is a distinctive ‘ clip, clip , clip , sound produced by the plane iron passing the board endgrain and the board being pressed into the new position to receive the next cut.
Do it slowly to practice , engage the board with the front of the sole. Push the blade through the end grain while holding the board static against the fence.
As you withdraw the plane in prep for the next cut push the board into the plane sole. Repeat. DONT try taking to heavy a cut. Start the motion with the plane taking no cut, increase the iron projection after each pass until you get a shaving.
As originally suggested, mass of the plane , sharp iron and well waxed sole and wing are a massive help.
Good luck with itb
 

Steve lewis

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You mention that when you are using the shooting board set up you ‘ pushing the wood against the stop and feeding the wood into the plane,’ or words to that effect.
Just to be sure, the board needs to be held against the stop but the board should be held static as the plane blade is in contact with the wood. Ie the board is moved up to the plane sole after each pass. When you’re doing it correctly there is a distinctive ‘ clip, clip , clip , sound produced by the plane iron passing the board endgrain and the board being pressed into the new position to receive the next cut.
Do it slowly to practice , engage the board with the front of the sole. Push the blade through the end grain while holding the board static against the fence.
As you withdraw the plane in prep for the next cut push the board into the plane sole. Repeat. DONT try taking to heavy a cut. Start the motion with the plane taking no cut, increase the iron projection after each pass until you get a shaving.
As originally suggested, mass of the plane , sharp iron and well waxed sole and wing are a massive help.
Good luck with itb
 

custard

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Mike G had it right when he said put it in a vice.

Professional woodworkers tend to use shooting boards for smaller pieces, and stick larger stuff in a vice. The workpiece on a shooting board tends to creep during the cut, not an issue on small sections but potentially a problem on bigger stuff. For a shooting board workpiece that's borderline, or if you just don't have the experience yet, then get your iron super sharp and take a really fine shaving.

Good luck!
 

johnnyb

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beginners usually struggle to get a really sharp edge. many problems with planes and planing will be miraculously cured with a sharp blade. my friend gets sharp blades with an india and his hand as a strop I think the key is having a fresh edge not being scared to get past the factory ground edge.( maybe the last time the thing was sharp!)
 

Hornbeam

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Are you left or right handed?
The image shown is withe the shooting board made for a left hand ed person
You want to be holding the wood against the fence with your left hand and pushing the plane past with the right (similar to how you would saw with a bench hook)
Also look at how you are holding the plane, I dont use the handles and grip it around the frog area on a standard bailey plane.
Low angle 62 has a much narrower side and is also more prone to rocking unless you have good technique
Ian
 

Jimson

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The advice is much appreciated.
I took the blade out and sharpened it again, and got it good and sharp, I think. With the piece in the vise, I was able to take really thin shavings rather than dust. When I put it back on the shooting board the new edge was a definite improvement, giving very fine shavings rather than dust. So this is a silver-lining here at least. I've been practicing using the plane slowly taking the finest cuts but now the problem has changed a bit - the piece ends up high at one end. So perhaps, as has been suggested by AJB (there's a slight gap apparent at the fence between the plane sole and the runner), I've made a bad job of making the design. I tried making a quick temp shooting board using melanine and plywood pieces clamped down to a workmate, and I'm getting better results with this than with the original. So i've decided I've probably wasted enough time on it and will think about making another one. I've learned a few things though, including what a sharp blade is, and so I'm happy. Once again, thanks all.
 

johnnyb

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it's a scary thing sharpening past the perfect edge the manufacturer provides. always check for a wire burr by passing your thumb across the back of the iron. once you've got that all the way across. polish the back off strop and your done. until you feel the burr your not truly at the edge. the thicker the blade the more you can hone and still not reach the edge proper.
 
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