Introduction: Really Good Pusher Stick

This is my version of a pusher stick in a Woodsmith video with several adaptations I made. It keeps hands well away from the saw blade. The handle can be removed and attached from the other side when the first side has become chewed up by saw cuts. All parts are individually replaceable.

Materials

  • 2 x 4 (I used a really ugly 2 x 4 because I am entering this in the Reclaimed Wood contest.)
  • Broomstick or large dowel
  • 1/4 inch threaded rod
  • Wing nuts
  • Drywall screw

Tools

  • Table saw
  • Crosscut handsaw
  • Drill
  • Spade bit
  • Twist drills
  • Needle nose pleirs

Step 1: Cut 2 X 4

Cut a piece of 2 x 4 about 14 inches long.

Step 2: Make a Notch in Both Edges

The Woodsmith version of this had one working edge, and that edge was flat. I wanted an inverted "V" in both edges so I can use the pusher to push the work down and push it toward the saw's fence, too.

Mark the center of the edge. (The tool shown in the first photo is a metal version of the wood version I did for this Instructable.)

Set the saw's blade to 45 degrees and adjust the blade height so the top of the blade is at the mid-point mark. Set the fence so a "V" piece is removed, but leave enough flat area, too. (I removed a little more than I wanted and used a hand plane on the flat area to make the "V" smaller and the flats wider.)

The third photo shows how one of these pusher sticks keeps the work against the fence.

Step 3: Drill a Hole

Drill a hole positioned as shown. A wing nut will be inside this hole to secure the handle. This hole can also be used to hang the pusher stick on a wall.

Step 4: Mark 45 Degree Lines

The 2 x 4 will need notches for mounting the handle. The 45 degree lines in the first photo shows the location of holes for 1/4 inch threaded rod.

See the second and third photos. A handsaw is easier to use than a power saw, and there is less likelihood that a cut will go too deep. Mark and saw for cutting notches as shown.

Step 5: Holes for the Handle

A broomstick will be used for the handle. There will be a threaded rod through the center of the handle and into the 2 x 4. Drill at a right angle to the side of each notch nearer to the hole in the 2 x 4. Dry fit the handle piece and determine how long to make it. Cut it to length. Drill a 1/4 inch hole through the handle. (This part was tricky. The handle is longer than my drill bit. I drilled from each end, but the holes did not meet perfectly in the middle. I drove a 3/16 inch rod through to break the hole open in the center. Then I drove a 1/4 inch rod through the hole. I was able to make the holes meet.)

Cut the threaded rod to length. I used a needle nose pliers to hold a wing nut while I threaded the rod into the 2 x 4 and the wing nut. Slide the handle onto the threaded rod. Add another wing nut and tighten.

The Woodsmith version made a handle from a piece of 3/4 inch stock. There was a lot of waste in order to make the wood grain run in a direction that did not diminish the strength of the handle.

Step 6: The End Piece

An end piece makes a lip to keep the pusher from sliding on the work. I ripped some 2 x 4 to a bit more than 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut it about 4 1/2 inches in length.

Mark centers of the end piece and the end of the 2 x 4. Drill both for a drywall screw. Secure the end piece to the 2 x 4 as shown in the second photo. If the end piece is chewed up by saw cuts, loosen the drywall screw a little and flip it end for end. Replace it when both ends are too badly chewed. The Woodsmith version did not allow flipping the end piece, but required replacing it.

Step 7: My Favorite Version

I wanted what is posted here to be a non-welded version for those who do not have welders. My favorite version uses a piece of angle iron welded to a piece of pipe that has had a wedge removed so it could be bent and welded closed to make an angled handle. This steel handle is attached with two screws. It will be easy to move to the other edge or to a new piece of 2 x 4.

Comments

author
KellyCraig (author)2017-02-17

I cannot emphasis enough what a great idea it is to use a "push shoe," rather than just push sticks.

I have a cabinet saw (my second) and have owned at least six table saws. I started using push shoes decades ago, since I find push sticks to be pathetic attempts at safety (but better than nothing).

Shoes, like Phil's, hold the wood down at the back of the blade, where the blade might lift the material and cause a dangerous kickback. Since using variations of these (and a splitter), I've only had a couple minor kickbacks over the decades.

author
drissel (author)2016-07-06

great idea .... buuut .... the vision of the metal handle and saw blade in the background makes my blood run cold!

Bill Drissel

author
Phil B (author)drissel2016-07-07

Other table saw accessories, like miter gauges and taper jigs, are sometimes made of steel. I assure you, if I thought there was a reasonable expectation the handle might come into contact with the blade, I would not use it.

author
tbro333 (author)2016-06-01

I enjoy woodworking as it is a small hobby of mine (by no means am I a professional). I believe the downward angle allows more control of the material being cut. with less downward pressure(slightly less control in my opinion) if the piece were to come away from the fence or up off the table even a little bit there could be some very serious kickback which I have witnessed first hand. thankfully no serious injuries but a buddy of mine did suffer some pretty good abdominal pain and a nasty bruise for 2 or 3 weeks.
my personal opinion: BEING in control is a lot more important that worrying about what happens if you loose control. I believe the downward angled handle is a good design. if the handle were vertical I would still be using downward pressure(keeping the same *danger*) with the heal of my hand instead. For me this would be a slightly less natural position which could be slightly more dangerous. Just my opinions, stay safe fellow woodworkers!

author
Happymacer (author)2016-05-31

Hiya Phil, nice write up thanks, just curious, what makes the forward bent handle so good? I worry I may slip and then I'm pushing toward the blade. Wouldn't a vertical handle be safer and possibly "better"?

author
Phil B (author)Happymacer2016-05-31

The forward bend in the handle supplies downward pressure as well as forward pressure. That is the way Woodsmith designed theirs. I have not experienced any sensation of possibly slipping.

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Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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