Before I could finish dimensioning the shelves and sides of the boarded bookcase, I needed to build a new shooting board for squaring the component ends. I ordered the Veritas track and fence hardware earlier this year, and it has been sitting on the side in the workshop waiting for me to get round to it. I finally had an opportunity two weeks ago to go on a supply run to my local timber yard and pick up some plywood for the deck of the shooting board. Although I was after a half-sheet of 3/4″ baltic birch, there was limited stock to choose from – I believe due to Covid-19 disruption to their supply chain. Fortunately I managed to snag three pieces of 1/2″ ply, all 24″ square. This would do nicely.
The first stage of the the build was to laminate layers of ply to form the deck. While Veritas provide suggested dimensions and minimum thickness in their instructions, given the material I was able to pick up, I decided to overbuild this shooting board. Two layers of play were laminated together to provide the base of the shooting board, with the third square offset by the width of the track. I had some PU glue leftover from the express lathe stand build last year, and while it’s not an adhesive I would use for furniture building, it is perfect for jig building as it is water resistant and won’t degrade in my unheated workshop. PU is very slick and can encourage glued components to skate around, so I glued the laminations over a couple of days to make clamping sheets of ply which wanted to slide around more manageable.
Once the deck had been laminated, I rummaged through my scrap pile and found a length of 2″ wide 3/4″ ply which I cut into two 24″ lengths, which were then laminated to form a 6/4″ thick cleat on the underside of the rear edge of the shooting board deck. The cleat will allow me to hold the shooting board in place with the leg vise, or to simply brace it against the edge of the workbench. Shop jigs are a great way to use up scrap, and I also rescued a piece of maple for the sacrificial fence.
PU might be convenient for ‘shop jigs, but the squeeze-out foams up and makes an awful mess. Fortunately, the Benchcrafted skraper is an excellent tool for removing stubborn dried glue, and cleaning up the squeeze-out horror show was a quick and easy job.
Before installing the hardware, I also applied a simple finish to the deck. In the spirit of useing scrap, I mixed some old shellac with a little pumice powder. Brushed on, this provides a slightly grippy surface (which is beneficial for jigs where a slick finish would make holding the workpiece tricky) which will provide protection from glue and moisture – a finish recipe I learned from Derek Jones. I’ve just picked up a cheap magnetic stirrer for mixing shellac, following Chris’ recent post, and it worked well mixing the pumice power into the shellac solution.
Once the shellac dried, it was then a case of installing the hardware. Veritas provide very clear instructions, although it is a shame that there is no initial diagram specifying what each of the fence components is. Nonetheless, the instructions were easy to follow and I had the hardware installed pretty swiftly. The fence feels rock solid when locked down, but also offering a significant level of adjustability for different common angles as well as fine tuning the position to get the required angle bang-on. I calibrated the 90 degree setting with my Vesper 10″ square which functions as a master square in my shop.
Unfortunately, I ran out of time to test drive the shooting board, but my Lie-Nielsen No52 runs sweetly in the track, and the 24″ square plywood deck will facilitate working on boards upto 15″ wide, while providing plenty of support to the workpiece. I’m looking forward to testing out the new shooting board in earnest over the coming week.