Veritas Shooting Board and Fence
Review and photos: Troy McDonald
The shooting board is one of the those age old relics of woodworking that seems so wonderfully simple it’s escaped significant advance or improvement. So in hindsight it shouldn’t be surprising that someone would finally bring a product to market that combines the simplicity of the original design with modern materials.
Given their track record of innovation it’s perhaps also no surprise that it’s Veritas who has found a way to improve a design that has been an important aid to woodworkers for centuries. A number of Veritas products targeted at improving the basic shooting board design such as the shooting plane and shooting board track have been available for some time, however, their new shooting board fence is a clever product that would appear to have its design roots sourced from the vintage Stanley 52, discontinued from the Stanley line in the 1940s.
In true Veritas style, they have taken the design several steps further in its evolution with their new fence presenting as a clever piece of functional engineering. The fence is to be made available as a standalone product for those that wish to match it to a home made shooting board, or alternatively, Veritas is also marketing a complete shooting board product in both left and righthand versions that is ready to use straight out of the box with both fence and tracks pre-mounted to a solid 600mm long birch ply base.
Above: The supplied package includes the Veritas fence, board and track. The Veritas shooting plane in right or left-hand versions sells separately.
The fence is fully adjustable with clever preset detents allowing you to quickly and accurately adjust your angle setting to 0° and seven other angle settings designed to suit the mitres required for common multifaceted boxes or mitred frames. Within each preset angle there is provision to further customise the setting via a number of additional fine adjustment markings, each of 0.25° to either side of the preset position.
I tested a number of the angles and found them all to be very accurate at the default preset position without need for finetuning. That said, experience suggests that these fine adjustments would come in very handy to ensure a perfect fit on multi faceted frames.
To ensure there is no blow out on the far side of endgrain being planed, the design also includes provision for a fully adjustable sacrificial fence that quickly fastens to the fence casting.
For those that opt for the complete product these fences are included as part of the package. It was this complete unit that was supplied for my test along with the accompanying Veritas shooting board plane. The board itself is made from high quality 19mm Baltic birch ply with a cleat let into a housing across the base of the board to ensure it sits solidly on the bench.
The supplied package includes the Veritas fence, board and track. The Veritas shooting plane in right or left-hand versions sells separately.
In use I honestly found it difficult to fault either product. The fence adjusted effortlessly and the quality materials of the board with adjustable, low friction track ensured the plane presented perfectly square at all times to the material being planed. If I was to suggest any improvement it would be for the shooting board base to be slightly larger in size and the angle markings on the fence to be made slightly more visible, given they are finished in the same dark colour as the fence within which they are cast.
Close-up of test results
Recognising this is already a large item to freight I can however accept the sizing of the base as a very minor concession. Choosing to purchase the fence alone will of course allow full customisation of your board design.
In summary, I think Veritas and Carbatec are on a winner with these products. Both the full shooting board and the fence are wonderfully designed items of quality manufacture that I would welcome in my workshop.
Troy McDonald is an engineer and woodworker based in Brisbane who writes regularly for Australian Wood Review.
Veritas shooting board and handplanes from Carbatec www.carbatec.com.au