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Woodworking Machines - Push Sticks

When should you use push sticks?

Push sticks or push blocks should be used when operating standard woodworking machinery, including table saws, band saws, radial arm saws, jointer/planers and shapers. These sticks protect the hand while allowing good hand control of the stock as it is pushed through the cutting head or blade. Push blocks for jointer/planers should be constructed for two-handed positioning.

To keep your hands away from the blade:

  • Always use a push stick for pieces less that 30 cm (1 ft) in length, or for the last 30 cm of a longer cut.
  • Use a push stick of appropriate length to ensure your hand is away from the blade. For example, if you need to cut wood within 30 cm of the blade, use a push stick that is at least 45 cm long.
  • Use the push stick to remove the cut piece from between the fence and the blade.

What are some features of a push block?

Hold-down push blocks should:

  • be rigid
  • enable the operator to protect both hands
  • allow the operator to exert a firm and steady pressure on the work piece.

The following are samples of push blocks.

  • Simple push sticks are useful on a table saw when distance between the blade and fence is narrow.
Simple Push Stick
Simple push stick useful on table saw when distance between the blade and fence is narrow.
Double-handled Push Block
Double-handled hold-down push block
Frontal Push Block
Frontal Push Block
Side Push Block
Side Push Block
Use of Two Push Blocks
Use of two push blocks on single application

Document last updated on April 4, 2018

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