If you’ve ever been plagued by a nasty case of carpenter’s elbow from the repetitive motions of pushing and pulling a table saw, then take a peek at this push stick design.
Here we will discuss How to Make Push Sticks for Table Saw and other questions related to it.
The device provides protection for your arm and is easy to make out of any scrap wood. Mirroring the shape of the front lip on your bench, you can also use it to clamp boards to your work surface without having to use clamps or put blisters on your hands!
What Is a Table Saw Push Stick
The table saw push stick provides protection for the carpenter’s arm while they are pushing or pulling a saw. It is made out of scrap wood and can be used as a clamp when you do not want to use hand clamps or put blisters on your hands.
The disadvantage to this type of push stick, is that it’s not quite as effective at preventing injury because there are no handles for the fingers or hands when gripping onto it, but it will work in most cases as long as you are careful not to let go while in use.
What Is a Push Stick Made of?
The push stick is made out of scrap wood or plastic, to create a plastic push stick. You can purchase a pre-made push stick and then customize it to the exact length and shape you need. If you do not want to purchase or make a push stick
Here are some other ways you can protect yourself while using a table saw:
You can use plastic tubing on your hands to protect them from the table saw blade. Simply slide the plastic tubing onto each hand so that your fingers are exposed and make sure the tubing is secure on your hands. Next, grip the wood and place it onto the table saw, and then tighten your grip as needed. The plastic tubing will protect your fingers.
You can also use goggles to keep your eyes safe from the flying debris that is created when using a table saw. Make sure to check the goggles for any cracks before using them. Your fingers are not the only body parts that need protection while working on a table saw. You should also use safety shields around your eyes and ears to protect them as well.
These protect your hands from kickback when the wood shoots out. This also has a good grip which helps a lot when feeding the wood through the table saw. Lastly, these help you not get splinters, which is somehow common in woodworking.
Why Make a DIY Table Saw Push Stick?
If you have ever had a case of carpenter’s elbow or know someone who has, then it is probably because they were reaching across the blade with their hands and pushing or pulling the wood towards them and into their arms.
It is a very common problem among carpenters, and especially table saw users. We are not talking about a minor case either. Someone with carpenter’s elbow needs to undergo physical therapy treatment to relieve the pain in their arm and shoulder. The injury is very painful and can be extremely debilitating for someone who uses their hands frequently.
Why not make a push stick?
We thought the same thing initially, why would we bother making my own push stick? However, as we got into woodworking more, we started to realize that it is not only cost-effective for us to make our own push stick, it is also beneficial if done correctly.
Also, most often even the best portable table saws don’t come with extra handy tools like a push stick, so knowing how to make one will help a lot.
Another good reason is when it comes to woodworking projects, a push stick is best used to speed up the process since it helps you control your strength when feeding the wood in. For example, knowing how to make raised panel doors on a table saw or know how to make a zero clearance table saw insert, would be more speedily done if you have a push stick.
How to Make Push Sticks for Table Saw
- Table Saw or Circular Saw
- Sander or Sand Paper
- Plywood or scrap wood (scrap plywood works as well)
- Wood (1/4″ thick)
- Thin wood strips (1/8″ thick) or 3/16″ diameter dowel rods for the handle. we used 1x2x12. We have also seen push sticks made with a single 1/4″ dowel rod that has its ends trimmed to different lengths and a hole drilled in one end to allow it to be slid through the other end and glued into place.
Thin wood strips work well if you want your push stick to be adjustable, but it will not work as well as the other design because there are no sides on these dowels for pushing sawdust out of the way of your saw blade. They also cannot be adjusted in length like thinner wood strips or 1x2x12″s can be.
Duration: 45-60 Minutes
Budget: $20-$30 (USD)
- Cut your material to length (if you don’t have a push stick then measure your bench height and cut the material to the length that you need–if you don’t have a push stick then measure the distance from your saw blade down to where your elbow is when pushing and cutting wood. At least 2″ should be added on either end for additional protection.)
- Cut a piece of scrap plywood or boards down to size using lumber square and pencil. We recommend making the handle a little less than we want the push stick to be and then trim it down to size. If you need a longer push stick, measure the overall length you need to extend it to using your saw and then cut into two equal pieces (at least for me) using your table saw.
- The wood strips are referred to as “clamps” in this project. They are used for holding the material up off of the blade while cutting, or inverted as a clamping mechanism.
- Drill a hole in the center of each end of the material (plywood or scrap wood).
- Cut your handle to size using a saw, miter saw, jig saw, and hand saw. Sand down any rough edges with sand paper or a sanding block. Be sure to sand the inside of the handle so that it slides easily onto the material you want to use for your push stick (such as 1x2x12″s or thin wood strips).
- Slide on your handle and then clamp one end of the material down with one clamp while holding the other end up to where you want it marked for cutting. Mark the material with a pencil where the blade will cross it if you were to run your saw now.
- Use a circular saw to cut out where your marked area is using a fine tooth saw blade. If you are not comfortable using a circular saw then perhaps you should do a little more research before doing this project as it is not easy to cut out the hole with precision without doing so.
- Slide the material onto the handle, and repeat steps 5 and 6 on both sides of your handle material.
- Assemble the handle by sanding and finishing as needed.
And you’re done!
How to Make Push Sticks for Table Saw Video
Types of Table Saw Push Sticks
A push block is a tool used by carpenters, especially table saw users to reduce the likelihood of serious injury. Push blocks may be hand-held or mounted on a surface such as a table saw. The design of most push blocks is “L” shaped and has a handle at one end and an upstanding arm which will protrude from the front edge of the workpiece when pushed as far as it will go.
When sufficient pressure is exerted on the material using either arm, this provides protection for fingers against being pulled into contact with the cutting blade when operating power tools such as table saws.
Notched Push Sticks
A notched push stick is a secondary protection to a push block while using a table saw. It is made by removing wood from both sides of the handle and making two cuts in the remaining material with the blade possibly protruding through one or both side. The blade will create friction, thereby holding down material when cutting.
Shoe Push Sticks
A shoe push stick. also known as a push shoe, is a homemade device that can be used instead of a table saw push stick. It is made from the toe end of one’s shoe and has no handles. The toe end of the shoe is inserted into any cut in order to hold and position the material while cutting with a saw.
Push Stick Comparison
Table Saw Push Stick VS Table Saw Fence
A table saw fence, also known as a rip fence, is a safety barrier that prevents side-to-side movement of the workpiece. It is typically attached to one or both of the guide rails. When installing a new fence, it should always be checked for squareness and alignment with the blade. The workpiece needs to be positioned so that it does not protrude through any gaps in the fence, as this creates kickback potential for hands or fingers.
The biggest downside to using a table saw fence is its inability to protect against kickback related injuries when ripping because it limits access on one side of the blade while cutting on the other side. Push blocks are more effective for this purpose because they are moveable and are adjustable which makes them perfect for ripping on a table saw.
Another problem with table saw fences is the danger of kickback, which is created by material slipping underneath the fence while being cut and hitting the operator. This can cause serious injury and damage to your table saw if you are not careful.
Table Saw Push Stick Vs Blade Guard
A blade guard is a safety device for table saws used to reduce the risk of personal injury. In general, a blade guard is simply a metal housing over the top of the blade that prevents hands or fingers from coming into contact with it while operating.
The problem with blade guards is that they do not offer protection if you are at any angle other than straight on to the saw and also does not provide protection against kickback when ripping long boards on a table saw.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can a push stick work with a riving knife?
Yes. A hand-guided push stick can work with a riving knife.
Can a push stick work with a Circular Saw?
Yes. But it is not advisable to use a push stick with a circular saw. Since with a circular saw you already have full control of the saw while push sticks are made to help control wood being fed into stabilized saws.
Can a push stick work with a Miter Saw?
Yes, but there’s no point to it because there’s nothing to push through. Miter Saws cut wood on its own base and the wood doesn’t need to be fed through the saw.
Can a push stick work with a Router Table?
Yes, the push stick will be an accessory for the router table which will allow you to safely position the material you are routing.
Can a push stick work with a Jigsaw?
No, because Jigsaws are handheld power saws, where the woodworker already has the flexibility to maneuver the cutting process.
Can a push stick work with a Bandsaw?
Yes, a push stick will come in handy with a bandsaw because bandsaws virtually work the same way a table saw does.
Can a push stick work with a Scroll Saw
Yes, because a Scroll Saw is basically a smaller version of a Bandsaw, still having a fixed anchored saw blade that needs wood to be fed through it.
How to make push sticks for Table Saw
This ends our How To Guide of How to Make Push Sticks for Table Saw.
We hope the knowledge you gained here will help you in the future with your DIY or Professional Woodworking projects. We want you to be sure of that what you get from us are 100% facts, so please don’t hesitate to ask for advice or to advise us in return with accurate facts.
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Henry is a long time Trade Instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology. Henry has been teaching the trade of carpentry for over 15 years and is excited to share his knowledge with the next generation of builders. With his posts you will explore some general terms, tools, and techniques that are helpful for the beginning DIY Enthusiast!. He’ll also provide a list of all the best tips needed to start your building journey right away!