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How To Make A Push Block

Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:16 pm
by A. Spruce
Hey all, I was asked to post a description on how to make push blocks. I’m not talking about the rubber faced ones, I’m talking about the kind that have a heel, or cleat, on the back edge, same as a typical push stick has. This type of push block works the same as a push stick, just bigger and easier to hang on to for better control of materials being pushed through tablesaws and other power equipment. For push sticks, simply search YouTube and you'll find many many videos on the subject, simple push blocks, however, are not well covered.

First, what to use. I prefer a 2x6 because it gives you a good grip, a wide sole for maximum control, and keeps you well away from the blade. A 2x6 push block can be reformed several times when the sole is worn out, an added benefit to a using a slightly taller board.

I’m going to go through a few methods, from down and dirty to more refined, all will work perfectly, just depends on the tools you have at hand for making your push block.

Method 1:
Select a piece of 2x6 that is knot and defect free anything 24" or longer will do. You’re actually only going to need 9" of it, the added length is for something to hang on to while you’re making the block.
Make a mark on an edge (1-1/2" dimension ) that is 1" from one end of the board, make another mark on the same edge and adjacent face that is 9" from the end.
Set a circular saw at 3/8" to 5/8" depth.
Using a square as a guide, cut the two edge marks. Set the square aside, now continue making kerfs across the board, about 1/8" apart, for the entire area between the first two cuts.
Using a wood chisel, break out all the pieces between two end kerfs, continue with the chisel to finish the notch to be clean, flat, and smooth. The kerfs are your depth gauge, do not chisel below them.
Now, cut the piece free using the 9" face marking. You just made yourself a push block!

Method 2:
This time you will cut a 9" long piece of 2x6, mark 1" from an end, and every 1/8" thereafter to the 2" mark.
Scribe a line along the face of the block, adjacent to the kerfs that is the same depth as the kerfs, that is to say, if your kerfs are 3/8" deep, then you will scribe a line along that edge that is 3/8" from the edge.
With a circular saw, cut the inside of the line (edge side ) from end to the kerfs, break out the waste, and clean up with a wood chisel. You just made yourself a push block!

Method 3 - Using a table saw and miter gauge:
Take a piece of 2x6 that is 18" long. Pull out your saw's miter gauge and set it in the track. Set your fence at 1" from the blade, set the blade height at 3/8" to 5/8".

Now, with the 2x standing on edge, place it crosswise in the saw against the miter gauge, turn on the saw and make one pass all the way through. Swap the 2x end for end and do it again. Now, get the fence out of the way, you don't need it anymore.

From here, you can proceed in a number of ways, using the techniques described in Methods 1 and 2, or continue whittling from your initial cut towards the center of the 2x. When you reach the center, swap ends and do it again. If you have a dado blade, this step will go much faster.
All that is left now is to cut the 2x in half, creating two push blocks.

Quick tip, you can quickly and accurately set your miter gauge to 90* by slipping it into the track and placing the face of the gauge against the edge of the tablesaw. This is a good way to check the accuracy of the markings. I would also suggest you add a good straight stick to the face of the miter gauge, this will extend the gauge all the way to and/or past the saw blade for making more stable cuts, especially to smaller pieces. This is particularly helpful when making dado cuts of any kind.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the pros and cons of push sticks over push blocks over rubber face push blocks, I'd be happy to continue the conversation. 8-)

Re: How To Make A Push Block

Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:42 pm
by Aaron
Need to turn this into a video!

Re: How To Make A Push Block

Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:49 pm
by A. Spruce
That's something that Shannon is going to have to take on, I don't have the ability to make vids. I agree, seeing the above methods done is much easier to understand than trying to read and conceptualize the information, particularly for those not all that familiar with their tools.

Re: How To Make A Push Block

Posted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:03 am
by Shannon
Note taken. I will see what we can do with that this year.

Re: How To Make A Push Block

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:51 pm
by A. Spruce
Shannon wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:03 am
Note taken. I will see what we can do with that this year.
We're coming up on two years, where's that vid?!?!?! :| ;) ;) :mrgreen:

Re: How To Make A Push Block

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:59 pm
by Shannon
Ya ya ya, I hear you!😎😎