Go for Comfort when Picking a Shooting-Board Plane
I’d really like to start using a shooting board to trim end grain and clean up miters. Do I need a special plane or can I use my No. 4 smoother?
Walt Newsome, Atlanta, GA
You can use your smoother, or any traditional bench plane, with a shooting board. However, these planes are not very comfortable to use on their side, as you need to do with a shooting board. I started out using my smoother—and it worked—but I would often end up with cramps and bruises because the frog interfered with my grip. Switching to a low-angle jack plane solved that problem. The bevel-up design eliminates the frog, so the plane is very easy to grip and use in shooting position. Plus it has a bevel-up blade bedded at a low angle that cuts through end grain a bit more easily.