when we use a table saw safety is more important. Because so many amputations occur due to poor safety instruments. Push sticks are the most important safety tool, that we can use in table saw operations. There are kinds of push sticks, push blocks. These are different by their usage and shape. So let’s see, all in detail about push sticks.
Push sticks are safety tools, which is used in table saw in order to push the workpiece forward without harming the hand. Using a push stick will prevent the kickback by turning the workpiece and any finger injuries.
we can divide push sticks into two categories such as conventional and modern. Conventional push sticks are completely made with wood, but modern push sticks are made with plastic and rubber in order to maximize traction. So let’s see all in detail about push stick and its usage step by step.
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Why We Should Use a Push Stick?
Push sticks are really important. because it can prevent amputations. The saw blade is sharp and rotates with high RPM. When the table saw is used we must pay attention to safety. When the workpiece is pushing towards the saw blade, hand or fingers can be damaged due to the saw blade movement because the saw blade is above the workpiece.
So near the saw blade area, we should not touch the workpiece. In this context, we can use push sticks or push blocks to protect our hands, fingers by amputations. Check the below table for annual injuries due to the saw blade.
Push Stick Vs Push Block
Push sticks and push blocks are two types of pushing tools that we can use in sawing. Both are used for the same task. But there is a difference in shape, weight, material, etc. as for me bush block is safer than push stick.
|Push Sticks||Push Blocks|
|Lightweight||More weight than push sticks|
|Made with wood||Made with plastic|
|Easy to handle||Mid-range handling|
|Less traction||High traction|
|Push with a single point or line||Rubber foot|
|Can be made DIY|
Types of Push Sticks and Push Blocks
According to the usage and manufacturing, we can categorize push sticks into two categories. Those are conventional and modern. Those can be used for specific tasks and operations.
- Double-handled hold-down push block
- Frontal Push Block
- Side Push Block
- Simple push stick
- Modern Push stick
Image Source – https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/woodwork/push_stk.html
How to Use a Push Stick?
When we use a push stick we must use it in a proper way. Because wrong pushing can hurt your body parts. When we push the workpiece to the blade we must push it without having any rotational force. If we use a conventional push stick we can observe this because it has a single edge. if we do not push with the center it can generate rotational force. So we can observe kickbacks.
But when you use a push block or wider push stick you cant see this. Because push blocks strongly traction with the surface and that will not tent do rotate. So there is no rotational force and we can feed the workpiece to the saw blade easily.
When we use the push stick we should not use push stick and our handle more than the length of the hand. Because we have to force the workpiece and then it can rotate easily. If the user and blade length is more than the hand and stick, use push block. If a single push block is not enough use couple of push blocks.
Be careful when you use plastic, wood push sticks. Those are with less friction and they can slip on the surface when you push more.
Plastic push blocks can be used above the saw blade with its mechanism. So it is a great solution for the kickbacks and many injuries. You can change the cutting width of the push block. Sometimes you can edge sides of the push blocks. So it will not move here and there.
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How to Make a Push Stick?
Making a push stick is a really interesting project. You can find many examples. but I would like to pay your attention to the main factors. When you design a push stick you had better pay attention to this.
Do not place the push stick handle too far from the back end. If you place it you have to bend over the saw blade to move the workpiece. So it is dangerous.
When you make a push stick don’t forget to create wider pushing support. If you make it a thing rotational force can be generated. So you had better make wider pushing support with the proper angle.