Shooting board

small_logo1-80x80 (1)My next main project will be a Sawyer’s Bench, designed by Tom Fidgen and featured in his book The Unplugged Woodshop. He hasn’t done a tutorial on the bench yet, but here is a video where he goes through the design of the bench.

The Sawyer’s Bench is basically a glorified saw-horse. It has a split top for rip cutting, a removable fence for cross cutting, and the configuration of the legs is slightly unorthodox in that two are set at 100° and the other two at 90º. This helps with rip cutting, as it not only provides a visual guide for a square cut, it also ensures that you won’t hit the legs with the saw. If my description is confusing, the video will clear things up.


Anyway, all of this throat clearing brings me to the point of this post. I have already rough dimensioned the cherry I will be using for the project, and I am shortly going to break out the marking gauge and planes to establish my final dimensions, before tackling the joinery. Since I want this project to be 100% unplugged, it occurred to me that I might need some kind of jig or guide when cross cutting for length.


So, from scraps of plywood I found around the shop, I have knocked together a reasonable attempt at a bench hook / shooting board combo.


I began by laminating two boards together for the base, one smaller than the other so that the plane will have something to run up against.



Then I glued on the ‘hook’ to the underside of the base, and laminated two pieces of ply together to make the fence.



Finally I glued the fence to the base assembly, ensuring that it  was perfectly square with the plane guide.





Now I can use it as a bench hook for cross cutting…






…and as a shooting board to ensure perfect squareness.


I might make a mitre block in the future, so that I can shoot 45° as well, but this will do for now.

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