If you are a woodworker, you know that using a table saw, a router table, a jointer, or a band saw can be dangerous if you are not careful. These machines have sharp blades or cutters that can easily cut through wood, and also through your fingers or hands if you are not cautious. That is why you should always use a push stick when woodworking.
A push stick is a safety device that helps you to control the movement of the workpiece when operating on some of the machines, especially when working on narrow or short pieces of wood. A push stick keeps your hands away from the cutting zone, and also helps to produce smoother and more accurate cuts1.
There are different types of push sticks, depending on the shape, size, and material of the workpiece and the machine. Some of the most common types are:
- Straight push stick: This is a simple and basic push stick that has a straight handle and a notch at the end. It is used to push the workpiece along the fence of the table saw or the router table. It is easy to make and use, but it does not provide much downward pressure or grip on the workpiece2.
- V-shaped push stick: This is a push stick that has a V-shaped notch at the end that fits over the edge of the workpiece. It is used to push the workpiece along the fence of the table saw or the router table. It provides more downward pressure and grip on the workpiece than the straight push stick, but it can be tricky to align and use on thin or irregular pieces2.
- L-shaped push stick: This is a push stick that has an L-shaped handle and a flat bottom. It is used to push the workpiece over the cutterhead of the jointer or the band saw. It provides more stability and control over the workpiece than the straight or V-shaped push stick, but it can be cumbersome to hold and use on large or heavy pieces2.
- GRR-RIPPER push block: This is a push block that has a unique design that allows you to adjust the width, height, and angle of the gripping surface. It is used to push the workpiece over the blade of the table saw, the router table, the jointer, or the band saw. It provides the most safety and versatility among the push sticks, as it can handle any size, shape, and thickness of the workpiece, and it can also perform complex cuts such as dados, rabbets, and grooves3.
Using a push stick is not only a smart and safe practice, but also a legal requirement in some places. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you must use a push stick or other device to prevent your hands from coming closer than 6 inches to the saw blade when ripping or crosscutting on a table saw4. Failing to do so can result in serious injuries, fines, or lawsuits.
Therefore, you should always use a push stick when woodworking, and choose the right type of push stick for your project and machine. A push stick will not only protect your hands from the blades and cutters, but also improve your woodworking quality and efficiency. If you don’t have a push stick, you can easily make one yourself from scrap wood or plywood, or you can buy one from a woodworking store or online. Remember, a push stick is a vital shop-made accessory that every woodworker should have and use. You can find a video I recently made on my YouTube channel about an unboxing and first impressions of the GRR-Ripper GR-100 here: