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Shooting Board For Fret Slotting


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I ordered the stewmac fretting blade awhile ago and finally got around to setting up a shooting board for the table saw today. I decided to go with a fairly small board to make it easy to handle, it measures 4' wide and 20" deep. The setup was pretty simple, just time consuming. Here are a few shot of the shooting board and the finger boards.


indexing pin shown

Template Pin

Here are the first four fingerboards

Finger boards

Can't say enough about the setup, the first time I slotted a board it took me at least two hours to lay it out and cut it by hand. After the shooting board was built I had maybe 20min into cutting 4 fingerboards..... WHOOO HOOOO!

Nate Robinson :D

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Nice job my friend! Looks well thought out and well excecuted. I have a similar design drawn out in my sketch book. It doesnt look like you have a table saw with the standard 3/4" miter slots (neither do I) so Im curious as to what you used as runners? I was planning on milling some standard 3/4" UHMW down to size. How do you plan on cutting the nut slots?

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My saw does have 3/4" miter slots but I decided to add "slippery strip" to the runners - which are made of MDF. The slippery strip is just HDMW that is maybe 3/64" thick with an adhesive back. The only way I could think of to get the MDF to work as runners was to mortise each runner into the base of the shooting board by 1/8". I then glued and screwed them into place ( Oh, and I sealed them with shellac pryor to installation, just for a little added security against swelling). I've made a few miter slot jigs in the past and it seems that if ya only screw them on to the jig they tend to move around a little.

As far as the nut slot goes, I will cut the finger board at the "body side" of the double cut and just install a full depth nut that goes down to the neck and sits in front of the fingerboard.

If there is anything else I can elaborate on or help with, well, you know where to find me! :D

Nate Robinson

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Not a stupid question at all. Jigs and templates are about as close to holiness as I get, and I believe whole heartedley in them. The basic premise is that you have a a base that rides across the table saw, with this base your goal is to cut a piece of stock absolutely perpendicular with the saw blade. Thats it, thats all. In practice though, a shooting board is a little more difficult.

1) You need a fence to push your stock up against to keep it from wandering all over the base.

2) Your fence needs to be perpendicular to the saw blade. In order for the fence to be perpendicluar to the saw blade you need to utilize the miter slots in the table saw's table.

3) Your shooting board MUST have two rails that fit into the table saw's miter slots with only enough play to alow the rails to travel down the slot. If the rails are cut too tight they will fit in the miter slots, but won't travel down them. If the rails are too loose, then the rails will shift in the miter slots and your cutting accuracy goes to hell.

4) In order to ensure that your fence is perpendicular to the saw blade, your rails must be mounted to the base of the shooting board ABSOLUTELY PARRELLEL to each other. If the rails aren't parrellel to each other the shooting board will never travel across the table saw correctly

5) Since the base of the shooting board will be cut through completely by the saw blade the needs to be a support block at the front of the board to hold the jig together. (Note the long 2x4 in the pic, that is its purpose)

6) SAFETY!!!!!! The short 2x4 in the pic is to "retain the blade" , so to speak. Basically in ensures that when the exposed saw blade gets close to my hands there is a rest there to keep my hands from needing some serious duct tape!

Those are the basics of any shooting board, whether used for a fingerboard or cabinet drawer blanks. The index pin is for use in conjunction with stewmac's fretboard templates. The instructions for setting up the shooting board for their templates actually come with the template, so it's pretty handy. All it boils out to is setting a 1/16" drill bit into the fence 11/64" above the base. This allows a 1/4" fingerboard to be slid under the index pin while the template seats on the pin. In this fashion the template is held securely by the pin for eash pass, as you re-index the template for each new frett cut.

WHEWWW, I'm sure I missed something here, and if anyone has anything to add feel free. If I haven't summed it up worth a damn let me know and I can take more detailed pics of the shooting board.

Nate Robinson :D

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