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Thread: More on Push sticks

  1. #1

    More on Push sticks

    Hi folks... Another thread on push sticks /blocks
    I have a Dewalt Jobsite saw. (Just call me Tamra 3X3CUSTOM junior ... she's got a Sawstop now....lucky her )

    I'm making an outfeed table for it, have already made a short depth infeed "apron" for it.
    I'm in the process of making push blocks and sticks for it.

    For the block I'm using a template I found on the William Ng website, the parallelogram design push block
    (I don't know if that's his own design but that is where I first saw it)

    So what is the narrowest push block (or stick) that is safe?
    I've made some from 3/4 and 1/2 birch ply. Can I go to 1/4?
    Also when making these of any thickness, is there a reason to use birch ply rather than MDF?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NE Iowa
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    Good to meet you Tamra/Patty. Great questions for a new table saw user/owner.

    I would not want a push stick under 1/2". Personally, I make all mine from 3/4" material. I also would avoid using MDF - it's stiff enough to be safe at 3/4", but it's going to wear and chip excessively. A push stick with rounded edges is a less safe tool.
    Last edited by Steve Demuth; 09-12-2022 at 10:34 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    63
    All of my push stick/blocks are disposable. They are all made from either 3/4 or 1 inch plywood. If I am cutting something thinner I just run the push block right over/thru the blade. One of these days I will make a push stick with a replaceable shoe.

  4. #4
    This always gets a rise - I use ice picks for ripping smalls

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Los Angeles
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    Hi Patty - depending on what material you are pushing through the blade, 1/4" plywood might be okay for a push stick, but as Dave says, you can just push a stick from 3/4" material straight through the blade and obviously it will be trimmed to fit the clearance.

    The pattern of push stick you show is what they use at the Cerritos College woodworking program (east side of Los Angeles county). The story I heard is that William Ng went through their program and adapted many of their teaching projects to his own courses - if true it's a testament to their effectiveness and usefulness.
    We were encouraged to treat the push sticks there as expendable / disposable so that we used them without worrying they were getting beat up.
    When I make push sticks now I don't bother with the finger slot.

  6. #6
    +1
    I wouldn't go under a 1/2" You want the push stick to be stable/stiff without being too flimsy. Like others, I make them from a good quality plywood (little to no voids). If the stick get cut, that's fine, make another. There are lots of designs you can use, just make sure it's comfortable for you, be safe.

  7. #7
    @Steve Demuth, @Dave VanDewerker, @ Edward Weber.....thanks for the advice/answers
    @Bradley Gray...how do you use an ice pick for ripping? I can't even envision that
    @Mark Gibney... thank you for the reply and push-block story ...
    And in case anyone is wondering I didn't buy the template... $9 (plus shipping?) is far better spent elsewhere (tools, bits etc).
    (And I can draw a parallelogram with the best of them .. used 1/2" MDF for it...worked great so far for 6 of them out of birch ply)
    Last edited by Patty Hann; 09-12-2022 at 11:37 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    McKean, PA
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    14,554
    My push sticks look like this.20220912_105721.jpg They give you good down pressure and ability to push a piece through the cut while keeping your hand well above the blade. They are all made from scrap plywood. The base of the one in the photo is over 12" long.
    Lee Schierer
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  9. #9
    Lee, thanks for the reply.
    I've used that style before but I'm always concerned about the handle [eventually] breaking off, which means my hand would go right into the blade.
    But then maybe it's fine if it's 3/4 or 1" ply.
    The Ng design has more wood and so (imo) more support.
    Even if it doesn't really make a difference I think that it makes a difference. So it makes me less... ummm... nervous.
    (And you never want to feel nervous when using a TS)

  10. #10
    I like this style, not all the bells and whistles, but the overall shape is comfortable for me.
    I've heard it called by many names.
    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/1...tick-woodriver

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Allentown, PA
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    154
    I use a pushblock about 1.5" wide for thin stock, letting the blade cut into it. (The blade is just high enough to clear the stock being cut.) When the "pusher" on the back gets frail, I cut it off and do the same thing again.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gibney View Post
    Hi Patty - depending on what material you are pushing through the blade, 1/4" plywood might be okay for a push stick, but as Dave says, you can just push a stick from 3/4" material straight through the blade and obviously it will be trimmed to fit the clearance.

    The pattern of push stick you show is what they use at the Cerritos College woodworking program (east side of Los Angeles county). The story I heard is that William Ng went through their program and adapted many of their teaching projects to his own courses - if true it's a testament to their effectiveness and usefulness.
    We were encouraged to treat the push sticks there as expendable / disposable so that we used them without worrying they were getting beat up.
    When I make push sticks now I don't bother with the finger slot.
    William Ng has several tutorials, one of which is "push sticks". He is the author of the 5-cut calibration method, among others.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Millstone, NJ
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    752
    I dont use the larger pushsticks or the grripper. I have a couple benchdog pocket push sticks. I use them in conjunction with pencils(the eraser side) for anything that puts my fingers over the red on the saw. anything that leaves me sufficient room between the fence and the redzone I use the fingers. Im not doing this for a living so I take my time at the saw never a rush for me, im there for fun.

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    7,276
    I don't use a single one that doesn't have a hold down function as well as push. A lot are just made quickly, but there are several close at hand.

    An older version of this is probably my most used one:
    https://www.rockler.com/bench-dog-pu...BoCkGsQAvD_BwE

    It gives extra clearance for the over blade dust hood before having to swing it away.

    I never use any one that works anything like this one: https://www.rockler.com/bench-dog-pocket-push-stick I don't mind sacrificing a scrap plywood one.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 09-12-2022 at 6:13 PM.

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