The Shooting Board Plane and Fixture
Cutting or trimming a repetitive 45° joint can be problematic.
There is always a bit of adjusting to make the joint gap free,
most noticeable when using pieces that have a complex mold or
when there is an extra-long side to the miter.
Sanding is not the answer, as it dulls the sharp edge that is
desirable to complete a clean and workmanlike joint. Coping,
or cutting a back bevel, allowing only the leading edge to make
contact, is a technique used extensively in the application
of crown molding and other decorative embellishments in architectural
For case work, the essential element for a close fit is a cutting
device that gives a predictable result every time. For hand
work, three different tools, a chisel, saw or plane, can all
be used depending on the specific application, and all can be
used with or without a dedicated device.
The use of jigs and fixtures is a well-known practice in production
workshops, most notably in the metal trades. A purpose-built
appliance gives the worker the satisfaction of knowing a standard
can be used for each repetitive unit of production, even if
the time differential is six months between runs of parts. Often
these devices are produced by an individual for a specific task
or, as in the case of the tool shown, a manufactured item for
use in perhaps a picture-framing shop or by a specialized cabinetmaker.
This shooting board plane and base/carriage/fixture are designed
for only one function: trimming a 45° joint for a final
fit. Although this plane can be used in another manner, such
as on a right-angled board that resembles a bench hook, this
base is limited to its design function.