Shooting Board Donkeys Ear and Miter Jack

A miter box holds the saw at an angle to the work. A shooting board holds your work at an angle to the plane. Just as the saw must work into the molding, so must the plane. That makes the miter shooting board most helpful in shaping small miters that turn an inside corner. The faces of the angled block hold the wood at the correct angle and support it as the plane rides by in its track.

For broad pieces and external miters, you need a donkey's ear. This version of the shooting board holds the work flopped down at a 45-degree incline to the path of the plane. You can work on both sides of the guide, pushing or pulling the plane, so that you can always plane into the molding.

Planing and sawing into the molding prevents splintering and the equivalent of the feather edge we get when sharpening. The feather edge is caused by that last little bit of wood flexing away from the plane rather than staying put and getting cut. This can be a problem with external miters, such as the cornice around the top of a cabinet. You can easily saw into the molding, but planing into it would put you at the worst possible angle for digging in. The donkey's ear allows you to plane across the slope of the miter, not up it (feather edge problems) or down it (digging in problems).

For large mitered pieces, you need a miter jack. The miter jack clamps wood

Wood Sketch Illustration
A miter shooting board takes the guesswork out of planing smaller pieces.
Donkey Ear Shooting Board
Tall mitered pieces need a donkey's ear.
Donkeys Ear Mitre Shooting Board
A miter jack lets you plane large, "sprung" moldings.
Splined Miter Wood Joint
Thin splines—glued into kerfs and trimmed flush—strengthen this miter joint.
Dados begin with knife cuts to sever the grain and guide the saw.

within its broad beveled jaws that guide the plane or chisel at 45 degrees. This gives you the freedom to come at your molding from any angle. These guiding faces should theoretically be protected by sacrificial thin wood or card stock glued to the wooden faces, but more often you see that the user just tries to stop before cutting the faces with the plane.

If you invest the time to make an accurate donkey's ear, you can make withdrawals for many decades. When you have to work freehand, however, try borrowing the technique of the coopers. Mount a fine set plane upside down in your vise at an incline, just like a cooper's jointer. Moxon speaks of holding the strike block plane upside down in one hand and then thrusting the end of a piece across it. With the plane mounted in the vise, you can work the same way, but now you're free to use both hands to guide the wood down the plane. You can put more of your body into the work, and you always have a good view of any guidelines.

Like rubbed, edge-to-edge joints, miters have no holding power on their own. Unlike edge joints, however, they can rarely be held by glue alone. The joining grain in a miter is halfway between long grain and end grain, so glue does work a bit better than it does on pure end grain. Usually, though, you fasten the mitered pieces to a background or try to strengthen the miter by spanning it with nails, dowels, splines, or keys. The miter can also be just the visible component of a more complex joint. Half-lap and bridle joints can be mitered on just the outward-facing elements, with the other elements overlapped behind them. This is a handy strategy when you want to carry a molding around a corner and still retain mechanical strength.

Was this article helpful?

+3 0
Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook


  • brenda
    How to make a donkies ear shooting board?
    4 years ago
  • destiny
    How to use an wooden miter jack vise?
    3 years ago
  • juuso
    How to make a donkey ear shooting board?
    2 years ago

Post a comment