For table saw owners, a push stick is an essential accessory for woodworking.
Now there are expensive push blocks available on the market.
But if you want to DIY a push block, it need not be that complicated.
In this guide, I'll show you how to make a simple but highly effective push block that'll protect you from your saw blade.
Things You'll Need
- Table Saw
- Scrap Plywood
Push Block Plan
Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Push Block
As the first step, you need to decide the material to use for making the push block.
Hardwood like oak or teak might look like a good choice but since they have a definite grain pattern (either along or across), the chance of the wood breaking in case of a kickback is very high.
A much better alternative is using MDF or plywood.
Plywood is made by gluing veneers of wood in alternating layers which are perpendicular to each other.
Due to this, the plywood is much better at resisting breakage along the grain.
Since plywood is cheaper than most hardwoods, it makes replacing the push block much easier and affordable.
Take a scrap sheet of plywood with ¾" thickness.
The thickness plays a crucial role in providing stability and hence the thicker the wood the better the push block.
The push block can be of any dimension you want.
In this case, I will be making it 5.5 inches tall and 7.5 inches long.
Check the plan for details.
Mark the length of the push block on the plywood using tape and pencil.
With the length and width of the push block marked, begin cutting the plywood using the table saw.
Once the wood is cut to the right dimensions it will look like this.
The dimensions of the heel of the push block should be about 1 to 2 inches long or else there is a chance the piece might break off if the pressure applied is too much.
The height of the heel need not be too long. Anywhere less than half an inch will do just fine.
The height of the heel was chosen to be less than half an inch because while cutting a stock even half an inch thick (which is often thinner than half an inch), the heel won't drag through the table saw base.
While cutting the heel portion of the wood, make sure you cut on the right side of the line so as to avoid loss in wood due to blade thickness.
Rise the blade up over the thickness of the plywood.
Now turn on the saw and make the cut right up to the other marked line.
Remember to cut the strip of wood excluding the heel of the push block, as shown below
Turn the block and cut the shorter end to reveal the heel of the push block.
Use a chisel and hammer to cut out the piece and obtain a clean perpendicular edge.
You may want to use sandpaper to further smoothen and finish the product.
Round the corners which come in contact with your hand using a coarse grit (80) sandpaper.
With that, your push block is completed and ready for use on your table saw.
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Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
When should you use a push stick or push block?
Standard woodworking machinery, such as table saws, band saws, radial arm saws, jointer/planers, and shapers, should be operated with push sticks or push blocks.
How long should a push stick be?
Push sticks with a 'bird's mouth' should be at least 450 mm long. When making any cut less than 300 mm in length or feeding the last 300 mm of a longer cut, always use a push-stick.