Use a Push Stick To Keep Your Fingers Safe!
Table Saw Push Stick Plans: A push stick is an essential accessory for woodworking, keeping your fingers safely away from spinning blades and bits while cutting or shaping wood. Used primarily with a table saw, a push stick also makes milling lumber safer when used with a router table, jointer or bandsaw. Besides keeping fingers away from the blade, a well designed push stick adds stability and accuracy to milling procedures.
Push sticks are cheap and easy to make from small pieces of quality plywood. A table saw push stick needs a notch to hold the work piece while guiding it through the blade or cutter, and it should feel comfortable in your hand. I've tried many different designs over the years, and I use both manufactured and shop-made versions of this ubiquitous tool. My favorite table saw push stick is this simple design that is quick and easy to make, provides good control of the work piece while guiding it through the blade, and using the push stick properly can also help to prevent kick back.
I make plenty of extras, since the design of the push stick allows for contact with the blade.
Cut a 10" x 12" blank from a piece of 3/4 inch thick MDF or cabinet grade plywood such as birch or oak (I made the push stick in the photo from a scrap of oak plywood) . Do not use dimensional lumber or low-grade plywood, which can twist and warp or could crack and splinter during use.
The height of the push stick keeps fingers and hands well above the spinning blades and cutters, yet allows the operator to keep downward pressure on the work piece during the milling process.
Layout the push stick design on to the work piece. The notch at the bottom of the push stick forms a "foot" or "stop" that is 2" long x 3/8" high. The top and bottom of the "C" which forms the handle of the push stick is 2" wide.
Set the table saw fence 9" away from the blade. Run the piece most of the way through, stopping the cut before the lower portion of the blade cuts into the stop. Finish the cut on the band saw or hand saw to form the notch with the "stop".
Cut out the "C" for the handle on the bandsaw or with a jig saw. Round over and smooth the edges with sandpaper. Make extras, and keep a push stick within easy reach of your table saw, bandsaw, jointer and router table. Your fingers will be glad that you did.
Table Saw Push Stick Plans
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When shopping for lumber, it helps to understand how the sell price is calculated
Most lumber yards and hardwood suppliers sell their stock using a unit of measure known as the board foot. While many seasoned woodworkers are familiar with this pricing methodology, it may be a little confusing for those who are just entering the hobby or looking to build the occasional weekend project: a piece of wood that is one foot square by one inch thick equals one board foot (12" long x 12" wide x 1" thick). A piece of stock that is 24" long x 6" wide x 1" thick also equals one board foot. Same with a 12"L x 6"W x 2" thick board.
Home Centers often sell lumber by the linear foot. Determining the price of a board sold by the linear foot is easier; simply multiply the price per linear foot by the length of the board.
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Renaissance Woman from Colorado on January 01, 2013:
Push sticks are the smart way to work. Thankfully, I had good teachers when I was learning carpentry. It's one of the first things I was taught. I'm still learning. Thanks for the resources and tips. Always appreciated!
ScottMckinzie on November 05, 2012:
Push sticks are finger savers for sure..Great Job:)
anonymous on July 12, 2012:
I actually have 2 push stick stories that I heard from my sister, its so important to use them and use them properly once you make one.My brother in law was using a push stick and got distracted for just a moment and the push stick hit the blade of the table saw and kicked it back to make a hole in the palm of his hand and jumped to cut his wrist. He got away with just a little first aid at home and thanking his lucky stars.My sisters chiropractor wasn't so lucky. He was just going to make a quick cut and decided to skip the push stick and ran his middle finger right into the blade and cut off the end. A plastic surgeon will be doing some reconstruction for him. Moral of the story, use a push stick and use it properly!
anonymous on January 06, 2012:
Returning to bless this safe wood working safety lens, a proper push stick is essential! I'll never forget hearing about a family friend when I was little. Rufus and his family owned the local lumberyard and one day I guess he just had that one little moment that took away the fingers of his right hand and left only a bit of the thumb.
anonymous on September 13, 2011:
Too many people have lost fingers due to not following basic safety and using a proper push stick while they do wood working and you have designed the perfect push stick for safety. Well done once again! I particularly enjoyed your teaching on calculating board feet, now that's a very handy thing to know.