OK, I must admit it. I have had the shooting board from Evenfall Studios (Rob Hanson, Owner) in the shop since June of 2009. One thing led to another, and the board sat without use for several months. Even The Schwarz gave it a glowing review on his blog in early July, 2009; that review pushed me to (try to) use it – but I was unable to do so, as a result of a shoulder injury that has since healed for the most part.
With that mandatory preliminary out of the way, I found myself in a situation that needed correcting before I could assemble the standing desk. When I made the leg stretchers, I consciously left the tenons about 0.050″ too long, to be trimmed later; this made it much simpler to get the shoulder-to-shoulder length of the stretchers matched perfectly to the distance between the legs, front-to-back and near the top of the legs (in other words, square).
Later became today. You can see the gap between the stretcher (vertical) and the edge of the leg (horizontal):
I could have used the table saw to trim the dual tenons, but I really, really wanted to try my hand with the shooting board. Of course, I don’t have a specialized shooting plane in the shop, like the one my friend Ron Brese makes (maybe Sandy will read this soon). But I had the old reliable Stanley #5 sharp and ready to go – a very good thing when you shoot the end grain (notice the end grain curlies?):
Well…As expected, the Stanley #5 does not have the cheeks perfectly square to the sole, but it did a splendid job in trimming the tenons – all it took was a little fiddling with the iron angle using the lateral adjuster, and I was shooting square! Hint: Using a block plane, I put a little bevel on the back side of the unsupported tenons, to eliminate tearout.
After trimming off the 50 thousands of an inch or so, I was so excited I did not even realize the following photo was out of focus – the trimmed tenons, and a much tighter fit, before drawboring and tightening the stretcher to the leg:
A neat feature of the Evenfall shooting board is its adjustable fence. I checked the fence for square before I started shooting, and after. The fence held very well:
The Evenfall shooting board has accessories. I also bought the double-high fence (it comes with its own attachment hardware):
Notice the angled cut on the back side of the fences? The fences can be reversed, for angle cuts – pretty neat! And each is adjustable within a 5-degree range, very handy when shooting boards that will go into areas not quite square, such as moldings. And Made in the USA is a great thing, too, as part of the amazing revival of makers of hand tools. In case you are wondering about the features and specifications of the boards, I invite you read more on the Evenfall Studios page. And if you wish to buy one, you can place an order at the Evenfall online Store.
My Hint of the Day: Adjusting the hand plane iron for use on the shooting board (or just about any other use).
I know I have seen the following somewhere, but simply cannot put my finger where. Use a narrow strip of a softer wood; make sure only one corner contacts the sole and the blade. Now run the piece of wood across the blade from the toe toward the heel, near the corners of the iron, and at the center:
The result: You should have three very thin, almost identical shavings at each location, near the corners, and near the center:
How do I like the shooting Evenfall board? My answer is that I just love it. I am certain it will become entrenched in my woodworking habits, as I integrate hand tools in the shop over time. I can’t wait to try my hand at miters! I will probably send one of my spare (old) hand planes to a shop for squaring, and to have a handle put on it. Or maybe I will try making one from some of the Osage Orange Sandy has near her lathe, since I already have the large iron from Brese Plane.
Disclosure: I am strictly a user of the Evenfall shooting board, and have no commercial or other ties with Evenfall Studios.
— Al Navas