Quantcast

Shooting Board Technique

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Steve Milne

Established Member
Joined
30 Nov 2018
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Location
Doncaster
I've just come to the end of my first proper project in 10+ years - a walnut bookcase. I was determined to try do things without 'cutting corners', and so I spent a long time making jigs, and such like, before I cut any parts for the project.

When it came to milling the kicker boards and face frames for my bookshelf, I decided to saw the parts marginally longer (< 1mm) than necessary and then plane them to precise length using the shooting boards (90 degree and donkey's ear) that I had made. My plane is a Quansheng 5 1/2. I'm pretty sure I am sharpening it correctly (using the 'Scary Sharp' system and the Veritas jig). Certainly, I am able to take extremely fine, full-length (ribbon) shavings from the long edges of some spare hard maple I had lying around. (I ground it to a 25 degree bevel.)

Trying to take fine shavings from the end grain of my walnut boards was, however, quite a different matter. It seemed that as soon as I made contact with the timber, my forward momentum came to an abrupt halt. I got the boards sized to the correct length, and they looked OK, but it seemed to me that I was taking 'chips' rather than shavings. And the effort to get the plane 'running' through the wood was excessive - my 'performance' looked nothing like what I had seen on YouTube. :shock:

I am not entirely sure what I was doing wrong. Might I be better off using a low-angle jack plane (maybe the Lie Nielsen 62) for my shooting efforts? But I'd be interested to hear any other tips or suggestions, that more experienced woodowrkers might be able to offer.

Thanks.
 

profchris

Established Member
Joined
14 Jun 2015
Messages
748
Reaction score
33
Location
Suffolk
I'm far from a planing expert, but I find that with end grain I need to take the tiniest cut I can and just gently shave away the excess. If I try to take anything more, the plane stalls as you describe.

I believe that a lower angle on the blade is helpful, and of course as sharp as you can mange. End grain with a blunt grain is like chipping it off, for sure.
 

Steve Maskery

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2004
Messages
11,714
Reaction score
56
Location
Kirkby-in-Ashfield
I use my No5 as my go-to plane, but for shooting there is no doubt that my Veritas Low Angle Jack does a far superior job.
 

John15

Established Member
Joined
27 Jun 2013
Messages
1,593
Reaction score
19
Location
Near Oxford
As Profchris says, take very thin shavings. Your plane is OK. I use a 5 1/2 which works well - plenty of weight. Make sure the blade is ultra sharp. Take a couple of swipes off the far corner to prevent break-out.

John
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
1,856
Reaction score
70
Location
Warwick
+1 to the previous comments. Low angle, sharp, tiny depth of cut, candle or beeswax on the sole.

The only way you will improve on this is by getting a Veritas or LV shooting plane with a skew blade. I was lucky and got one (on this forum) for a good price. This is a dream to use, and as my hands are arthritic I find it a great help. I couldn't say that it is an essential tool, though!
 

MikeG.

No longer posting.
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,176
Reaction score
650
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
It seems pretty clear to me that the blade is out too much.......set for too aggressive a cut. Withdraw it until it doesn't cut, then sneak it out a bit at a time until you are taking a reasonable shaving from the end grain. One mm is do-able on a shooting board, but is a bit more than I'd leave myself to remove.
 

thetyreman

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2016
Messages
2,729
Reaction score
57
Location
North West
if you can, get the mouth as tight as possible and cap iron close to the edge, finely set. I always gradually bring out the blade starting from the blade at zero. Having a low angle plane for me is a luxury, a standard 45 degree pitch jack plane with a 30 degree bevel works just fine but it really has to be freshly sharpened. Although the no 62 by lie neilsen does look very nice specifically for end grain and shooting, I have heard the veritas one is slightly better in terms of adjustability and is slightly heavier.
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
1,856
Reaction score
70
Location
Warwick
I have no experience of the LN but the Veritas is pretty much perfectly designed as a shooter. There are reviews on here by Derek Cohen of Perth.
 

woodbloke66

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2018
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
1
Location
Salisbury
MikeG.":2qytatkf said:
It seems pretty clear to me that the blade is out too much.......set for too aggressive a cut. Withdraw it until it doesn't cut, then sneak it out a bit at a time until you are taking a reasonable shaving from the end grain.
Agreed, this is what's happening and the way to sort it out, but make sure the blade is freshly honed and sharp - Rob
 

Fitzroy

All the gear...
Joined
12 Mar 2013
Messages
1,094
Reaction score
38
Location
Aberdeen
I find the shooting plane puts the board at a very specific point on the plane sole. My shooting plane is very slightly concaved at this point and I have to pull the iron back compared to if I were planing a piece of wood on the flat.

Fitz.
 

Steve Milne

Established Member
Joined
30 Nov 2018
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Location
Doncaster
Thanks everyone. Lots to ponder. I suspect that this was clumsy adjustment on my part. I did seem to go from shaving nothing to taking chunks. Maybe I needed to go a bit more cautiously with the adjustment. I did use wax and I sharpened the blade just before use.

Not sure I can justify going for the dedicated shooting board plane. I'd almost made my mind up on the L-N, but have noted more than one post suggesting that the Veritas might be superior. I'll look again at that.
 
Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,688
Reaction score
64
Location
Suffolk
I had similar issues. I could plane long grain fine, but shooting end grain was really hard. One thing I noticed was that I was getting streaks on the end grain cuts. Inspecting the blade a little closer and I found that the edge had a very small flat spot where it wasn't sharpened (possibly damaged due to hitting something hard). Correcting this made things a lot easier. Not sure why it didn't show up on the long grain though.

I still can't make it look as effortless as Rob Cosman though!

Also - you might want to take a look at skewed shooting boards. Matt Estlea made one just recently.
 

ED65

Established Member
Joined
3 Dec 2015
Messages
3,593
Reaction score
0
Steve Milne":12hlbkcb said:
...I sharpened the blade just before use.
I would check your honing job. This sounds very much like some of my earliest experiences when I wasn't getting as sharp an edge as I thought I was. Your lovely ribbon shavings from the long-grain surfaces of the maple board aren't a proper indicator of sharpness, the performance on end grain is. In many ways end grain is the test of sharpness.

So check your edge. Many older guides used to say that a sharp edge reflects no glint of light, so in looking at your edge if you can see it it isn't fully sharpened; in more modern parlance you haven't yet honed away your wear bevels. Eyeballing is a start but it is worth trying other tests of sharpness like seeing if the edge will snag the back of a thumbnail at a very shallow angle, or the modern favourite of whether it will easily and painlessly shave arm hair. While these are some indicators cutting wood is what matters. Hold the iron like a chisel and test whether it can pare softwood end grain and leave a smooth surface (without tearing in the soft parts). If it can do that it should be able to leave a pristine, even polished, surface on hardwood end grain.

Steve Milne":12hlbkcb said:
Maybe I needed to go a bit more cautiously with the adjustment. I did seem to go from shaving nothing to taking chunks.
In case over-projection is part of the issue do advance the iron cautiously. Once you've spun the wheel to take up slop in the mechanism, which might be two full turns (this will vary quite a bit from plane to plane so it could be much less than this in your case), less than an 1/8 of a turn more, perhaps 20-30°, can be the difference between not cutting and cutting just right.

Steve Milne":12hlbkcb said:
I did use wax...
Just to check, on the cheek? In shooting it's not the sole that most needs to be waxed :)

So to summarise:
ensure your iron is sharp, make it extra sharp if you can as it won't hurt;
cap iron not too close to the edge;
mouth of the plane not closed up too tight (in fact you might as well set the frog back and leave it there);
adjust for a light cut;
wax the cheek that the plane is tipped on to and/or the bearing surface of your shooting board.

Steve Milne":12hlbkcb said:
Not sure I can justify going for the dedicated shooting board plane.
I doubt you need one! Most shooting done over, say, the past couple of centuries was done with a standard bench plane of some sort. Which does tell us something useful.

One of the only real needs for something more specialised is for regular shooting of some of the particularly hard tropical or Australian hardwoods. Most of us are routinely working with softwoods and mild hardwoods (and walnut is certainly one of those) and you can shoot those successfully with any standard bench plane. Most woodworkers do.

Your current plane is well up to the task, in fact as it's a 5 1/2 it's better suited than many because of its size. Until recently when I acquired my first 5 I shot most of my end grain with a no. 4. It's heavier than typical for a 4 but it's probably only half the mass of your 5 1/2 and as long as I'm careful to take light shavings and make sure the iron is sharp as recommended repeatedly above it does the job well enough.

Just to briefly go back to this from your first post:
Steve Milne":12hlbkcb said:
(I ground it to a 25 degree bevel.)
The bevel angle has little to no bearing on how your plane will cut. Paul Sellers touched on this in a video some years back, talking about variations in honing angle from person to person IIRC, and he'd tried honing at 40° and could detect no real difference in resistance.

This is because standard bench planes are bevel-down, so it's really only the back of the iron that the wood sees and the angle of that is of course fixed (unless you have a back bevel).
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
2,143
Reaction score
21
Location
In me workshop
Just incase you have two edges squared, and are using both edges for the fence....
Check your square that it is indeed still square.
I noticed my square was out, and I'd known I used it to make my shooting board.
Once I sorted that, I got less of what you describe happening.

Did you try flipping the wood around to see if the end grain planes easier in the other direction?

Tom
 

Steve Milne

Established Member
Joined
30 Nov 2018
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Location
Doncaster
Thanks again folks. Some very detailed responses there. I made the boards with threaded inserts that allow for a little wiggle room, so I can check they are square before tightening them up.

I'll double check on my sharepning technique - this is (yet again) something that is a little new to me, hence my reliance on jigs and so on. I'll relook at that too.

My boards were made out of birch ply. I sanded them, and applied a little wax to them. I ran some candle wax on the cheek of the plane (trying my best to do it like Cosman does in his videos :D ). Even then, though it did not seem to 'glide' as well as I had hoped. Indeed, there seemed to be some black-ish sludge forming between the plane and board.
 

woodbloke66

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2018
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
1
Location
Salisbury
Steve Milne":3asqv9vm said:
Not sure I can justify going for the dedicated shooting board plane. I'd almost made my mind up on the L-N, but have noted more than one post suggesting that the Veritas might be superior. I'll look again at that.
If you use the shooting board a lot, as I do, then a dedicated plane is really a 'no brainer'. I can't comment on the Veritas as I've never used it but I believe it's a pretty good user. I do, however, use the LN 51 (as does Custard) and it's superb; the only Spaniard in the works is that it's about £200 more expensive than the Veritas - Rob
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
1,856
Reaction score
70
Location
Warwick
Don't bother making a ramped or skew board if your idea is that it gives a skew cut. It doesn't; there was a long thread about this a couple of years ago.

What it does is (a) introduce the plane more gently by starting to cut at a corner and (b) spread the wear over the width of the blade, which can mean less frequent sharpening.

Keith
 
Joined
13 Jul 2015
Messages
2,688
Reaction score
64
Location
Suffolk
MusicMan":1nunbaqs said:
Don't bother making a ramped or skew board if your idea is that it gives a skew cut. It doesn't; there was a long thread about this a couple of years ago.

What it does is (a) introduce the plane more gently by starting to cut at a corner and (b) spread the wear over the width of the blade, which can mean less frequent sharpening.

Keith
Do you have a link?

Sent from my SM-J510FN using Tapatalk
 
Top