Woodsmith Tips

It’s probably the most important safety rule: Keep your fingers away from blades and bits. And push blocks can help out with all tools, starting with the table saw.

The best thing about the table saw push block shown in the drawing is the handle. It’s designed to exert forward and downward pressure to push the workpiece through the blade and prevent chattering.

The replaceable body (made from “two-by” stock) rides on edge to put extra inches of solid wood between your fi ngers and the blade. And the hardboard heel, also replaceable, pushes the workpiece past the blade without any danger of kickback. To make replacing them easier, I used a screw to attach the handle to the heel and body. This means you’ll get double the life from the push block by turning it over once one edge has gotten chewed up. When you make this push block, take the time to make several extra bodies and heels. This way, you’ll always have replacements on hand whenever you need them.

A saddle-style push block will allow you to rip thin pieces safely and consistently at the table saw. To use it, simply set the rip fence to the width of the piece you want to cut and rip as many strips as you need from a wide board.

This design straddles the rip fence and is made from a couple of pieces of hardboard and a hardwood spacer. (Note: Size the spacer to match the width of the rip fence.) One side of the block has a series of notches that “catch” the end of the workpiece.

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