Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 3
   January 2010
   From the Collection

The Shooting Board Plane and Fixture

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 woodwork.

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.
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