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Using Push Sticks for Safe Woodworking

Push Sticks –  Develop a Safe Habit

 

Push Sticks- Push Blocks - Work Safety - Health & SafetyPush sticks are essential woodworking accessories. If a woodworker is going to work with power tools like a table saw, band saw, jointer, or router table, it is an excellent idea to have a variety of push sticks on hand. (Under the general heading of “push sticks” are included push blocks and featherboards as well.) Push sticks are used to keep the woodworker’s hands away from moving saw blades, router bits, and jointer knives during woodworking operations. The wood material being cut or shaped is controlled and guided with the aid of one of more push sticks.

Push Sticks – A Woodworker’s Choice

The intent of this woodworking article and YouTube video is not to serve as a public service announce regarding safety. This article and video are also not intended as a safety guide for all woodworkers to follow. However, the individual woodworker can consider this article and video as a reminder to stop, take your time, and think about what he or she doing when working with power tools. Woodworking safety is an individual’s responsibility.

 

Why use a Push Stick? 

Push sticks and push blocks are woodworking accessories that are used to control material as it is being cut, jointed or shaped.  These safety devices allow for a safe distance between the woodworker’s hands and a spinning saw blade or router bit. Simply put, it’s better to have the accessory nicked that a woodworker’s fingers and hands.

Push Sticks & Hands on Training

Push sticks are part of any quality training course when the use of power tools are discussed. The woodworking instructor will demonstrate how and why the various push sticks are used before any of the stationary power tools are even turned on. If you are a beginning woodworker, it is a good idea to seek out a competent woodworking instructor so that you can learn the basic skills of the wood craft. A great instructor will show you how to work safe.  It’s just a very good idea to get some hands on experience and some safety training.

 

How to Get Push Sticks & Push Blocks

Push sticks are available from online stores like Woodcraft and Rockler. The are plenty of choices of push sticks and push blocks available for the woodworker. Also, it is quite easy to make these woodworking accessories in your own work shop. Be sure to have the push sticks close at hand for each of your stationary power tools. Remember, using push sticks and push blocks is a skill and a habit that we develop when we are new to woodworking. It is also a skill and a habit that we maintain throughout our entire woodworking career.

 

Push Sticks & Work Safety 

Many of us have different levels of woodworking experience. Decide for yourself what your work safety standards are for your skill level. It is your health and safety. Remember to stop, take your time, and think for yourself. Too often accidents happen when a woodworker gets in a hurry. If you aren’t already, consider using push sticks, push blocks, and featherboards.

 

Watch more YouTube woodworking how to videos online.

…Your comments are welcomed…

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


Steve’s Table Saw Miter Sled

Table Saw Miter Sled – Viewer Built

 

Steve's Table Saw Miter Sled 2A table saw miter sled is one of the most useful table saw accessories that can be made by the woodworker in the workshop. In this woodworking article we will take a look at the table saw miter sled that Steve from Tropical Cairns, Australia built in his well organized woodworking shop.

(Steve learned how to make a sled for by watching and studying our free woodworking video, How to Build a Table Saw Miter Sled. He also accessed our free woodworking plans for the table saw miter sled.)

Notice that Steve is using a very flat plywood as the base for his table saw miter sled. Both the front and rear fences of the miter sled are of straight grained material. This is especially important for the tall fence closest to the woodworker as this section of the table saw sled serves as a cross cut sled. So, it is imperative that this fence is straight across when material is placed along it to be cross cut.

(Based upon the photo it looks like Steve is able to cross cut a board that is 4- 6 inches wide. So, essentially this table saw miter sled design also has the additional capacity of serving as a cross cut sled.)

Steve's Table Saw Miter Sled 1The interior fence system for Steve’s table saw miter sled is comprised of 3/4″ straight grained material that form a balanced 90 degree angle at the saw blade kerf. Theoretically, we want a 45 degree angle to both the left and right sides of the fence. More importantly, we want to ensure miter fence has a perfect right angle so that the sum total of our miter joint equals 90 degrees.

It is also worth noting that Steve has used a sealer for his table saw miter sled. By doing so, Steve who lives in the humid tropics has helped ensure that his miter sled for his 10 inch table saw will remain flat and true.

Note: When using a table saw miter sled for cutting miter joints or making a cross cut, do not be tempted to switch table saw blades.  It is recommended to use the the same type table saw blade as the original blade that was used to cut the sleds zero clearance saw kerf. The zero clearance saw kerf ensures against any wood tear out.

When cutting miter joints what methods do you prefer?

Do you prefer to a miter joint with a miter saw or table saw?

Many woodworkers cut miters with a table saw miter gauge. What is your preference?

 

More Miter Sled Videos:

Mastering the Miter Joint

Let’s Make Spline Miter Joints

Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Tablesaw Miter Sled

Miter Sled Article:

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints

 

Let us know how it your table saw sleds out for you. If you have sled photos that you’d like to share, feel free to contact me.

 

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


Viewer Built – Drill Press Table for Woodworking

Drill Press Table – Viewer Built

Building a drill press table for woodworking is an excellent idea.  It is a great way to transform a metal drill press into a safe and reliable power tool for the workshop. Simply put, a woodworker will create more drill press projects when the drill press is properly setup with a drill press table and fence.

“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”

Marcus Aurelius … 121 – 180 AD, Roman Emperor and Philosopher

 

Drill Press Table 2Bob Melrose, a woodworker and follower of the blog decided to build a drill press table for his woodworking shop after watching the how to woodworking video, Let’s Build a Drill Press Table. Bob did an excellent job. You will notice that Bob’s drill press table has two installed T – tracks for hold down fixtures and jigs. Plus, there is also an adjustable fence for maximum hold down and stop block applications. Bob’s drill press table also includes a removable insert for when a sanding drum is employed. The extended drill press table definitely allows for a maximized work space and it also enhances woodworking safety.

_______________________________

 Bob, I built a drill press table modeled after the one you made. It has a few differences to fit my needs but the general design is the same. I used 1-⅛” melamine for the table and fence. The fence is just a single piece of 1-⅛ melamine with an Incra track dadoed in extending the entire length. I used cam action clamps to secure the fence. I wanted more travel towards the back and the single fence gives me about 1” more rearward travel. I used the cam clamps because knobs would extend past the fence face and possibly interfere with locating stock against the fence.

For the waste block, I routed out the recess square and made it offset from center.  By doing so, I could rotate the waste blocks to get more uses out of it. I also mounted a small piece of t-track to the back of the fence for storing the stop blocks when not in use. When I need close access to the fence for working on small pieces, I use a clamp saw guide for the fence. That gives me the necessary clearance.
I enjoy your videos and have learned lots. I also made a crosscut sled and a miter sled for my table saw based off of your woodworking videos. My next projects will be the band saw sleds for making wood inlay banding. I really enjoyed those videos. Thanks again

Bob Melrose EMT-P

LumberJocks: Bobmedic

__________________________________

Whether you decide to build a drill press table or buy one, it’s a good idea. You will work with a greater sense of confidence which makes your woodworking experience much more enjoyable. Keep in mind, building your own drill press table and fence is a great woodworking project for a beginning woodworker as well as for the experienced craftsman.  Enjoy the process.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


Try Anti-Fatigue Mats…your feet will thank you!

In a recent woodworking article and video on this blog, Let’s Install Wood Inlay Bandings I mentioned the use of anti fatigue mats during a woodworking procedure. The situation called for me to be in one place for quite a hours as I would be working at my workbench fitting and installing wood inlay bandings into the dadoes of twelve picture frames. To be more efficient I moved my bandsaw with a mobile base closer to my bench where I could simply turn 180 degrees from the band saw to the workbench. It sure beats walking back and forth. Plus it saves time.

Having read the article and watched the woodworking video a viewer named Dan asked a few questions about the rubber anti-fatigue mats that are in my workshop. He also stated that his feet get quit tired and sore when standing on a concrete floor in the shop. So, I responded to Dan and I also thought it would be worthwhile to write a review on these feet saving floor mats to share with you.

Interlock mats for the shop.

Anti-fatigue mats for the woodworking shop

Each package of mats contains 4 individual mats. Each 24″ x 24″ mat has interlocking tabs that allow it to be joined with another mat. With one package you can can create a 2′ x 8′ area of cushion at your workbench if you choose or a 4′ x 4′ area. If you like you can make two areas of comfort that are 2′ x 2′ as the interlocking tabs make this system very flexible.

To give you an example I purchased two packages of these anti-fatigue mats. I have two workbenches where each has three mats connected together creating a 2′ x 6′ area. Also, there is a single mat in front of my table saw and a single mat in front of my wood lathe. It’s been over two years now that these mats have been in my shop and they simply make life easier.

Anti-fatigue mats for the workbench

Anti-fatigue mats for the woodworking shop

Here’s why the mats are a welcome addition in the woodworking shop.
1.) During the winter or summer they insulate the feet from heat and cold.
2.) Obviously, the mats cushion the feet.
3.) Tools are protected from damage when they fall from the workbench.
4.) The mats are easy to clean.
5.) Total installation is 15-30 seconds.
6.) They can easily be moved if need be.
7.) If you like, they can easily be glued in place permanently.
8.) They are inexpensive.

In summary when you decide to order the anti-fatigue mats you will feel like it was money well spent. Plus, your feet, legs, and back will thank you.

What are your thoughts on anti-fatigue mats?
What kind of mats do you have in your workshop?


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

A Woodworking Drill Press Table

Drill Press Table 004

Drill Press Table for Woodworking

The drill press is one of the great woodworking power tools for a woodworker to have in the woodworking shop. However, the small metal table that often comes with this tool is rather limiting for woodworking. So, the answer to this limitation is to either buy a drill press table or build a shop made drill press table. If you choose to purchase a drill press table you could have it that very day if you have a woodworking store close by. Then again you could find a drill press table that you like online or in a mail order catalog and have it delivered in a week or so. Prices for the drill press table will vary, but you can probably expect to pay $100 for the basic table and then shipping. Hardware can also cost you extra. In this article we will learn how to make a drill press table for woodworking.

The other alternative a craftsman has is to build his own drill press table. What are the advantages of building your own drill press table? 1.) Obviously, you can save money. 2.) You can save time. 3.) You have the pride of using your skills and your own woodworking tools to create a table equally if not better than a store bought model. Plus, you can be enjoying the drill press and its new table within a few hours . It’s a good woodworking project and one you’ll be proud that you made with your own hands.

Drill Press Table 016The nice thing about making your own table is that you can customize it to your drill press model and to your own personal needs. You can use scrap material for the project that you have in the shop. There is not much material required for this project. However, you’ll want material for the table that is flat and durable and for the fence you’ll want straight material. In my case I had 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood available in the shop and that is what I chose.

My drill press table dimensions are 1″ x 18″ x 24″. I laminated the 1/2″ Baltic birch for the 1″ thickness to attain better rigidity. The table has two 3/4″ x 3/8″ x 18″ dadoes to accept universal T Track. On my table both tracks are centered 6″ from the center of the table. These tracks work well and they accept 5/16″ T bolts, 1/4″ T bolts, and 1/4″ hex bolts. The mounting holes of the track are pre-drilled and countersunk 4″ on center.

Here’s how to attach the new table to the existing drill press table. Take a ripping of hardwood that is 3/4″ x 2″ x 19″ and create a 3/8″ x 3/8″ rabbet along its length. Cut the ripping in half so the length is about 8 1/2″.

Drill Press Table 014These two lengths will be used under the new table to secure it to the existing table. The rabbets of each block will allow for the new table to slide along and under the existing table. Then when the new table is positioned to your liking through bolts and threaded star knobs will secure the new table to the existing. Note: The heads of these bolts are countersunk into the surface of the table and the threaded star knobs are tightened below the table. Also, notice the 3/4″ x 1″ x 22″ stiff back in front of the metal table. This helps to keep the new table flat as well as position the new table against the existing metal table.

For the fence I used two layers of 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood laminated together. The actual fence is 1″ x 2 1/2″ x 24″. There is also a 3/4″ x 3/8″ x 24″ dado to accept a T track that is centered at 1 3/8′” from the fence’s bottom.

Drill Press Table 012In order to strengthen, straighten, and and keep the fence square to the table I added triangular 3/4″ plywood gussets to two 3/4″ x 3″ x 9 1/4″ rear bases. Keep these rear bases flush with the ends of the fence in order to allow for a 5 1/2″ clearance of the drill press post. This will allow the fence to travel deeper on the table giving you more adjustment area when needed. Note: The bottom of the fence has a 1/8″ x 1/8″ rabbet along its length to allow for wood chips and debris clearance.

You’ll be ready to put your new drill press table to good use once it is completed and you’ll find much more versatility with your drill press than you previously had. Moreover, clamping objects to the drill press table will be much easier and safer than before because you can now simply adjust and tighten your hold down clamps.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or insights…let me know. If you have any photos of your drill press table that you’d like to share…feel free to contact me.

Recommended Video:

Let’s Build a Drill Press Table


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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