13 August 2010

Shooting board

Wandering through the internet I found the part time woodworker discussing shooting board and promising plans for the ultimate shooting board soon.  Meanwhile I thought that I could give shooting boards a try.
I fixed a stop to a piece of plywood scrap and added two screws to make an adjustable  fence.  After the back of the fence started to splinter, I rounded it like Derek Cohen did.  Seeing the price of acrylic plastic, the plastic runway is delayed and for now it is a piece of hardboard scrap,  that I need to wax before it is too late.

Fine,  now a plane.  My Anant #3 and #5 are not square,  no luck there, although I could square the sides by gluing  up and squaring thin pieces of wood.  My even cheaper block plane is better.  I even brought in my pre-war wooden planes,  they are both square and heavy.
Shooting is another story,  even if I can sharpen my plane blades sharp enough to do some shaving on my arm,  something is lacking when going cross grain,  as it is more hacking than slicing.  Looking for ways to improve my shooting board I see two tracks: - I can shorten the bench hook avoiding to work with more stretched arms and gain more control.  - I also inspected the block plane blade with a 100x magnification and there is clearly room for some improvement.  But for now shooting boards are not usable for me.  A possible alternative to planes is to put sandpaper on a square wooden block

My wooden plane blades are still nearly untouched.  The original owner bought them as a student in the thirties and kept them without using them much once he was a professional.  The top of the blades is laminated like a Japanese blade,  although thinner. The blades top is also chrome plated with a better chrome layer quality on the harder laminate.  This gives them a mirror finish even after 70 years of inattention.  Chrome plating also makes the surface probably very hard.  Looking at the environmental cost of chrome plating this is probably overkill as softer low chromium blades like A2 (with its mere 5% of chrome :-) or HSS are good enough for me.