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Thread: Push Stick question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Question Push Stick question

    I saw a push stick from Rockler made from 1/8" aluminum. Anyone have any feelings on using an aluminum push stick next to a TS blade? Rockler claims it won't hurt a blade. The idea seems great but I wanted some opinions before I get one.

    Thanks
    If sawdust were gold, I'd be rich!

    Byron Trantham
    Fredericksburg, VA
    WUD WKR1

  2. #2
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    Aluminum push stick!

    Personally I don't think I would buy a push stick when they are so easy to make. With that said, aluminum can be cut with carbide saw blasdes. We do it here at work all the time. I don't think the metal cutting tooth profile is the same as the profile on a wood blade and the hook angle is usually different too.

    If you were to accidently hit an aluminum push stick, I don't think any great harm would occur to the blade.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  3. #3
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    May 2003
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    Talking Thanks

    Thanks Lee. I think that is just what I am going to do.
    If sawdust were gold, I'd be rich!

    Byron Trantham
    Fredericksburg, VA
    WUD WKR1

  4. #4
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    Feb 2003
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    NW Minneapolis
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    Careful

    Although your blade is most likely safe from damage, I don't think it is hazard free. The aluminum filings are much more dangerous than wood sawdust. I also would not want to be around if an aluminum push stick were dropped on a blade, bumped into a blade etc. It's much less forgiving than wood.

    Most of all, I don't see the benefit of aluminum over wood. If it's stiffness to thickness ratio, then build a wood one 1/2" thick with the lowest 1" cut down to 1/8" thick.
    Torre

    A lack of thoughtfulness is different than a lack of intelligence, but often has the same net result

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Ontario, Canada
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    I bought a Sears plastic one once and I trace its shape to make my "working copies". I wondered what an adavantage of an 1/8 aluminum might be and I think I would find it handy once in a while.

    Sometimes I need to rip some narrow stock and the 1/8 aluminum one would fit between my fence and the blade guard which I always use unless physically impossible.

    Bill

  6. #6
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    Leesville, SC
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    Push Stick

    Byron,

    I did like Bill and used a plastic push stick for a pattern. I made mine from some 1/4" poplar I had laying around. They also make neat gifts for your woodworking buddies.
    I don't care how soft aluminum is, I still don't want any metal coming in contact with my saw blade.
    Army Veteran 1968 - 1970
    NRA Lifetime Member
    I Support the Second Amendment of the US Constitution

  7. #7
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    Mar 2003
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    Upland CA
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    4,627
    If you decide to make one yourself, I suggest you use plywood, rather than solid wood. There will be no problems with a short grain situation that way.

    I use shop grade oak 3/4" ply for the big ones, 1/4" baltic birch for the narrow ones. Must have a dozen for various machines/uses.

    Use a 1/4" roundover bit to ease the edges of the handle for comfort.

    Rick Potter

  8. #8
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    Feb 2003
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    Dallas, Tx.
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    Aluminum is very soft.....

    ...but stings when it hits your fingers. I saw aluminum frequently on the TS and see no problem with my blade. But not for a push stick. Lee has the correct notion.
    Phil in Big D
    The only difference between a taxidermist and the taxman, is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Apex, NC
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    You might try a different approach like this:

    When ripping narrow pieces, cut a notch in a large block of 2 by. For instance, a 6" long piece of 2x4 standing on edge. The back 1" of the push block is the full width (3 1/2" these days, right? ;-). The front portion of the push block is 1/8" to 1/4" narrower than the full width (3 3/8" to 3 1/4").

    Place the push block on the workpiece with one face sliding along the fence face. Adjust the saw blade so that only 1/8" to 1/4" is above the piece. Push the wood through the blade.

    NOTE: This requires removal of any splitter device you may in place.

    The blade will cut a small kerf in the block, but both the workpiece and any scrap are pushed through the blade with your hand safely out of the way. If you prefer, use 2x6 or wider to increase the distance.

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers,
    Bob
    pen-turner and aspiring cabinet-maker

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