|Review by DougRog||posted 11-30-2012 11:05 PM||9394 views||0 times favorited||13 comments|
I saw a recent project entry of a novice’s new home made push stick, the kind that is essentially a stick with a notch on the end. Though I’m the first to admit that any push stick is better than none, there’s some issues that new woodworkers should discover about the correct use of push sticks.
So to begin, I’m going to grade three levels of push stick design. The first (and lowest) is the push stick described in the first paragraph, a simple stick like tool that pushes wood with some kind of notch (whether wood or plastic). The main problem is that wood, especially shorter pieces (say less that 18”) want to jiggle around as the wood is being cut and this push stick design leaves a rough cut. Also, woodworkers will experience in certain situations that the back side of the tablesaw blade wants to lift the wood, and this can create a ‘throw the wood back at you’ situation. That’s a couple of the main issues with push stick Level 1.
Level 2 (more developed design) push stick is made in some sort of model that has a body that SITS ON THE WOOD, plus a handle, and usually has some sort of step down on the bottom back end to actually grab the wood. This design is far superior in function AND safety, as the wood is held in place by the push stick body as it is pushed through the saw. This design is what most experienced woodworkers make for themselves. It makes for a cleaner cut, and prevents the wood from lifting, thus much safer than Level 1.
But there is a third design that seems to be almost unknown, though I bought mine almost 10 years ago, and this model I rate at Level 3, so please see the photos. This design not only sits on the wood, but has a pin in the back that hides up in the body of the push stick, and then pops down at the end of the board (spring loaded). This has several advantages, as you can sit the push stick FLAT on any board long before you reach the end since the ‘pushing pin’ is risen in the body and out of the way.
I’ve also found that you can cut extremely short pieces of wood, say 2 or 3 inches long, with complete safety with this type of Level 3 push stick, especially with the friction pads. A home made Level 2 push stick without a rubber friction pad can also do short pieces, but not as safely because wood can slide on wood. You must have some kind of rubber tread to grab your wood firmly.
So I recommend to all woodworkers, make your FIRST home made push stick at least a Level 2, but if you ever try this Level 3, you’ll never go back to previous models. This push stick in the photo doesn’t shatter when cut, but is made of some type of poly that cuts like the wood itself. I found it online at http://www.tablesawpushstick.com though I bought mine somewhere else long ago.
Hope this helps and best of safety in your shop.
-- The Higest Art, the Highest Science, and the Highest Religion is the same thing.