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Why use a Donkey Ear?

R S Vogt Super Chute Donkey Ear

It is obvious that on wide pieces, like the sides of a jewelry box, where the width exceeds the capabilities of the miter fence to hold it steady, and/or the piece is wider than the plane iron is tall, the Donkey Ear will come into play.

Yet, those two criteria are not the only times where I would choose to use it.

Take a piece 3/8” thick and 1 1/8” wide, saw a bevel on the end, and consider refining the “carcase miter” on the shooting board.

Also, consider the vantage point of what the plane iron sees. With the workpiece against the Miter Fence, it sees 1 1/8” of blade involved.

R S What the iron sees miter gauge

Take even a fine shaving in that situation and you will feel the iron wanting to pull the piece along with it, much more so than on a thicker piece which offers more resistance. Thinner pieces are more liable to deflect under the pressure of the cutting action.

Place the piece on the Donkey Ear and the iron sees (at 45 degrees) ½” of material to plane.

R S What the iron sees DE

The width of 1 1/8” offers plenty of resistance and there is no tendency whatsoever to pull the piece along. It is pushing against it at ninety degrees. As long as you can back the fibers at the exit, you are good as gold. With molded pieces I sometimes use blue tape or a knife line to help support against blow out.

R S Cherry Box above corner


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5 comments to Why use a Donkey Ear?

  • Jeffrey Miller

    How accurate is the donkey ear? Is it 45 degrees exactly? How long is it to receive one

  • Jeffrey Miller

    Can the donkey ear be used with lee valley shooting board and fence?

  • tico

    If I remove the locating pins under the base it could. You’d have to figure out how to attach it on your board somehow.

  • tico

    Quite accurate in terms of its laying 45 degrees from horizontal. The fence is micro adjustable so it can be a perfect 90 degrees relative to the edges.

  • Dave LeBlond

    Is it possible to obtain a 22.5deg miter (for a 45deg corner say) using the Vogt shooting board and donkey ear? It would sit high. Would it be stable in use?
    Can you supply the required 22.5deg donkey ear (my guess is no) and if not is it hard to make by hand (my table saw is history)?
    Is there a better way to do this by hand? (I need the donkey ear since the board is 3+” wide).

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