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Mitre Shooting Board

Its been a very busy week here in the wood shop. Some shop made tools were at the top of my list both new book projects as well as a few made out of necessity. A furniture project that incorporates a mitered box with splines to hold a drawer is next on my list. It’ll eventually be veneered but the long grain miters is the reason for this new, ‘old’ bench top appliance. Mitered boxes are usually  manufactured on a table saw but here in the Unplugged Wood shop I wanted a method for making them accurately and efficiently with hand tools.

I came across an article online that was originally written for Woodworker Magazine in 1964- Mitre Shooting Board by K.G.Wells shows a great design for a shooting board with end ramps cut at 45 degrees making it perfect for cutting long miters with a hand plane. I made a Donkey’s Ear for my standard shooting board a few years ago but find its better suited for end grain work on pieces 2-in. square and under. This appliance will be dedicated for small, mitered box sides and small cabinet components.

This afternoon I made a quick version of the Wells design and thought I’d share it with you. You may be able to find the article online if you Google the title and authors name.Here is a diagram from the original article. I didn’t follow the exact specs of the pieces but used the diagram for reference.

 

 

 

 

To begin, I dimensioned some 3/4-in. cherry plywood for the base and cut a small, shallow groove about an inch in from one edge with my plow plane.

a small groove is cut into the plywood bottom board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end ramps are made from some 2-in. solid cherry cut down to about 1 5/8-in. These 45 degree miters are critical and should be carefully executed.

main end ramps are mitered on a bench hook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a block plane refines the slope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used some 1/4-in. plywood for ‘packing’ as Wells describes it. This lifts the work piece being mitered off the bed and away from the plane blade.  This thin plywood is glued to the main 3/4-in. plywood base and is carefully fit between the two outside cherry ramps.

The top-guide is made from some stable solid cherry stock and is again mitered along its length. To begin the miter, I use my Jack plane and removed the bulk of the material. I fine tune the angle with a block plane being careful not to plane down past my scribe lines. The top ramp is pre-drilled and attached to the end stops.

a Jack plane removes the bulk of the material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a block plane refines the angle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shooting board is assembled and put through some tests. I’m happy with this design and strongly recommend this bench top appliance to anyone that wants to build mitered boxes or cabinet components. Cheers!

assembled and ready for a test drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the dedicated Miter plane works well with this configuration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

front view showing plane on ramp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a quick sample of long and end grain miters.

17 Comments

  1. Posted by robert campbell on Feb 17th, 2012

    I need one of these badly… but do not think I can make one without having one! Thanks for the writeup…

  2. Posted by Brent on Feb 18th, 2012

    Excellent, Tom..
    You would make a fine teacher.

  3. Posted by Dean on Feb 18th, 2012

    Tom is “a fine teacher”. Thanks Tom for sharing the details of your mitre shooting board build. I tried to Google the 1964 article, but nothing. I even tried spelling “mitre” as”miter”. :-).

    Just an observation, I clicked on the drawing at the beginning of the article to get the larger image, but it only brought up the smaller image. I don’t know if you have a larger image, but it would be helpful even though you mentioned that you didn’t follow the exact details of the drawing. Thanks again Tom.

  4. Posted by tom on Feb 18th, 2012

    Dean,
    thanks for the comments- I just looked and found the article here

    cheers!-

  5. Posted by Ian on Feb 20th, 2012

    Very nice, I think I shall make one following your design. Sometimes hand tools are quicker then setting up a machine.
    cheers, ianw

  6. Posted by Jim Burton on Feb 21st, 2012

    Tom, in use, have you found that the cherry top guide flexes at all? I could imagine having too heavy a hand might bow the piece downward toward the middle of the motion. Just wondering if a beefier and/or braced top guide might be a good idea.

    I’m going to make one tonight when I get home. I can see it making box-making a pleasure. The tablesawn mitre is always so rough and so often out of square, even with a good blade and good mitre gauge.

  7. Posted by tom on Feb 21st, 2012

    Thanks for the comments Jim-
    I haven’t noticed any flexing in the guide but haven’t yet put it through all the paces. I have some panels in the veneer press and will be making a mitered box in the next couple of days so I’ll know soon enough if it works. It seemed to be alright in my test pieces but will update by the weeks end.
    cheers!

  8. Posted by Jim Burton on Mar 1st, 2012

    Just an update for you, Tom. I made my own version with Cherry ends and a piece of leftover Redheart for a top guide the other night. I really took my time getting those angles correct. It’s paid off, bigtime. I glued up a test box that has tighter miters than I’ve ever achieved before. It’s seriously the most stoked I’ve been about a bench appliance since I found out about bench hooks ten years ago. Now I’m considering saving up for a dedicated shooting plane to go along with all of my groovy shooting boards. The wife thanks you for that last thing, BTW.

  9. Posted by tom on Mar 1st, 2012

    Thanks Jim- good to hear. Mine worked out really well too- I meant to do an update but time hasn’t been kind lately! I’ve been using mine with both my dedicated miter plane but my bevel-up Jack also works really good in it too.
    all the best and thanks again for the update. ; )

  10. Posted by mike on Feb 22nd, 2013

    hi, i just built one from your very nice design and write up. as i’m fairly new to hand tools, how does one hold a long piece of wood solidly so an accurate miter may be cut along side grain? my boards keep slipping from side to side. thanks, mike

  11. Posted by tom on Feb 22nd, 2013

    Mike, thanks for the comments and question. If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that while you shoot the miter the work is shifting side to side in the jig? I haven’t experienced this in mine and not sure why this would be- If the work is being help tight against the fence and sufficient pressure is applied to the piece, then there shouldn’t be any movement at all. Maybe a dull plane iron or too heavy a cut is being made? I’ll post a video sometime in the future with the miter shooting board in use- perhaps this will demonstrate the technique in use and resolve any problems you may be having.
    all the best
    Tom

  12. Posted by John Walker on Jun 30th, 2013

    Excellent device. I made one about twenty years ago, from plans in Bob Waring’s book on Jigs and woodworking essentials. Works well, but demands accurate working to make it properly.

  13. Posted by tom on Jul 12th, 2013

    Thanks for the comment John-

  14. Posted by Tucker Tuck on Dec 12th, 2013

    That’s a nice solution. For one that could perfectly chamfer a piece the length of your bench (best done with a bevel up jack) check out this method – look for the “moxon miter ramp” post:

    https://plus.google.com/118372144332594195814/posts

  15. Posted by Shane on Jun 5th, 2014

    http://www.cornishworkshop.co.uk/wwmitreshootingboard.html

  16. Posted by Wm. D. Elliott on Jul 2nd, 2014

    Tom,
    Do you house the end ramps into the base? That instruction was in the original article, but I could not tell on yous.

  17. Posted by tom on Jul 2nd, 2014

    Thanks for the question. I didn’t house the ramps, but the middle area is built up, so it’s almost like a self-housing by design. It works either way. If you house the end ramps it will be indestructible- but difficult to adjust if/when need be.
    All the best-

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