Mitre Plane for Shooting Board
This miter plane is based on the Norris A11 which was a new design for the
A11 and was offered by Norris in the later years of the firm’s existence. (There
were two A11 styles offered previous to this incarnation). I chose this design
because I wanted a plane for my shoot board that had plenty of side area so the
plane would be easier to use and less likely to tip out of square when shooting
a joint (i.e. more accurate to shoot a true 90 degree from the horizontal
plane). The sides have almost as much surface area as the sole. I had always
admired this style of plane in spite of its "boxy" straightforward appearance.
It seemed the perfect mate for a dedicated shoot board.
This design is shown in a Buck & Ryan catalog from 1938.
The plane measures 10 ¼" long by 2 ¼" wide with sides that are 2" high. The
3/16" thick iron is 2" wide. It weighs 5 pounds 2 ounces. The weight is really a
plus when shooting hard and/or thick material. The sides are joined to the sole
with "double dovetails" (these joints are not visible on this plane since I used
O1 steel for both the sides and the sole). The .002" mouth opening is achieved
by splitting the sole and rejoining it with a tongue & groove joint. I used
grenadillo for the infill stuffing. The rivets that pass through the plane and
hold the infill in place pass through 9/16" diameter brass rod that was inserted
into the infill before I installed it in the plane. This brass rod is then
drilled through for the rivets once the infill is in place. This insures that
the sides do not move with the infill’s dimensional changes caused by chances in
humidity levels. The adjuster was made for me by Bob Howard at St. James Bay
Tool Co. The stem is about three inches too long so I plan to send it back to
Bob so he can shorten it for me. This particular plane took a bit longer for me
to complete due to the requirement that the sole and sides be perfectly square
to one another. If they were anything less than square the shooting process
would not be accurate!
Karl Holtey makes a version of the Norris A11. You can see it at his website
Here is a shot of my plane in use.
After I finished the plane I decided to build a new shoot board especially
for it. I had admired the Rogers Miter Planer, a beautiful cast iron tool that
was made many years ago. I particularly liked the adjustable quadrant and fence
that allowed an infinite degree of miter settings. And, since the quadrant’s two
faces were 90 degrees from one another you could shoot each side of the miter
joint without having to reset the fence. The Langdon had a dedicated plane that
had two irons (one facing each direction). The concept still works with my plane
by simply flipping the plane end to end to shoot the opposite side of the joint.
Here’s a top view of the board showing
the quadrant set to shoot a 45 degree miter.
If you have any questions and would like to contact me you can email me at