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Building and Installing the Carousel Shooting Board Fence

I call this the “Carousel Shooting Board Fence” as it is based on a circle. The idea for this began when I looked for a way to build a shooting board fence that allowed for both left and right angled mitres, as is needed when shooting moldings (for trim or picture frames).

Below is a typical shooting board with a double mitre fence, the combined angle of the two mitres total 90°, thus cancelling out any errors when you shooting from the opposite end.

The Carousel fence takes this a step further. Not only can it be set up for left and right mitres, but it is also at home with squaring ends and shooting edges. Further, it may be used equally by those who are right- and left handed.

The Carousel Fence uses a shooting board with runways on either side. The fence may be pivoted to the left or right for a 45 degree mitre, and there are stops to fix the angle.

One advance here is that the fence only requires two bolts for attachment regardless of the angle set …

While the fence itself is a simple design, and well within the abilities of most home workshops (if I can do it, then you can do it), there are several steps that need to be followed in a particular order. I shall outline these shortly.

It occurred to me that installing the fence is quite easily, and that I might offer a few to forum members who would like to go down this route (For reference, I do not plan to start a production line building shooting boards or fences – this is a one-time offer of about half a dozen in all only). So this article is also a manual for installing a completed fence.

Here is the “kit” I put together. For those that decide to build their own version, this is what you will aim for ...

The components include the shaped and slotted brass angle (mild steel angle is an alternative), threaded inserts for the shooting board (these are M6 – for 6mm bolts), 2 hex bolts for the adjustable fence and 2 hex bolts for the base, hex key, and a setting up tool (a 6mm bolt that is pointed at one end and slotted at the other).

I have used Jarrah. You could use any hardwood.

Dimensions: The diameter of the base/brass angle is 130mm (5 1/8”). The finished depth is approximately 100mm (4”). The brass angle is 32 x 32 mm (external) (1 ¼ x 1 ¼”). The fence is approximately 190 mm (7 ½”) long.


Begin by marking out the positions of the screws and, at the centre, the position of the pivot bolt. The only important measure here in the pivot bolt hole, which should be centred.

I made a simple jig to drill out the slots on my drill press. This is nothing more than a scrap of hardwood that will be clamped to the drill press fence (do not try and do this freehand – it will spin out of control and do you some damage!). The screw holes come in handy here.

I used a drill bit with a diameter slightly greater than the 6 mm bolt that it will house.

Over to a vise, I use a thin disk in a Dremel to slice away the brass waste.

Then coarse- and fine files to clean up. A round file is useful for the ends.

Deburring the edges on a wheel.

Now is time to countersink the holes. This will flush the screws. It is also needed with the pivot bolt I have used as this has a lip at its base.

The brass support is not complete. Time to turn to the base.

Mark out the pivot point (same position as on the brass support). It is also possible to mark out for the mitre positions since these are calculated from the pivot hole (Remember – everything is based on a circle).

Mark off 45 degrees from the pivot point, then a point 10mm from the circumference). More on this shortly.

Drill these out with a 2 mm bit – this is just to mark the reference positions.

Now set up your router table and remove the waste from the base so that the brass support sits flush with the surface and is supported by the rebate edge.

Now before I forget. I was reminded when connecting the brass support and Jarrah base that the brass must be square otherwise the fence will out of alignment. I checked all the supports when I cut them, but overlooked this one. It turned out to have an acute angle.

I first opened up the brass slightly by beating the corner on a steel plate. Then, clamping it in the vise, it was again beaten, this time to a perfect square…

Once this was completed, the brass support was screwed to the Jarrah base, and then this was presented to a disk sander for surface grinding to final shape.

The pivot hole is threaded (tapped) for the pivot bolt.

This is repeated at the second hole on the circumference of the base. (Note in this picture I was using a tap for a M8 bolt, since this was how I set up the fence in the preproduction version. I later realized that a second M6 hole would be a better choice – one less set up tool needed).

Below is a picture of the three adjustment holes. The two mitre holes are drilled with an 8mm (5/16”) bit. This allows for 1mm micro-adjustment each way (2mm in all).

Here is the completed sub-fence (with installed threads).

Simply mark out and install the bushings (use a drill bit that allows for the threads to seat). Use a depth stop on the drill press to avoid drilling through the board! The bushing is likely to sit proud. Just grind off the waste.

Inserting a bushing.

The hex bolts are shortened from a longer bolt. These bolts have threads that end about 12mm (1/2”) from the head, and therefore need to be threaded.

Threading is done using a dye.

We are done building the fence.

Installing the fence

The installation procedure has now been refined and simplified. In all, two holes are drilled for bushings, which are then installed.

The first hole is centred on the shooting board. An 8 mm (5/16”) bit worked for me. Make sure that you countersink the hole so that the top of the bushing lies beneath the surface of the board.

The completed bushing installation…

Bolt on the fence and square it to the side of the runway.

Insert the set up tool and screw this in. The pointed tip will mark the position of the second hole.

Repeat the procedure for the second hole.

The final result looks like this …

Once the fence is set up on the shooting board, remove and drill out the 6mm hole (on the circumference) to 8mm (to match the other angle adjustment holes).

And now installation of the fence is complete.

Setting up the fence

The fence, whether for a square end or a mitre, is aligned with either the edge of the ramp using a square or, preferably, a plastic square against the sole of the plane (which is pressed against the side of the ramp).

Here is the set up for a mitre (note that the picture includes an incomplete fence used for the illustration of the positioning) …

For more information, if needed, see my article Setting Up and Using a Shooting Board.

Regards from Perth


March 2010