In Junior High School woodshop, back in 1963 a push stick was a simple piece of plywood with a classic shape — no frills or fancy gadgets! It had a hole and hung on a peg near the saw and that was it. Now if you do a google search you’ll see so many different styles it’ll make your head spin! Quite honestly, I’ve seen some of these in use and they are dangerous in my opinion. I needed to redo my own push stick so thought I’d share it with you. Think about it, the purpose is to keep your hand from contacting the blade and also control the piece of wood being cut. Many push sticks I’ve seen are a fairly thin piece of slippery plastic angled in a way that really isn’t very secure to hold. As you can see, mine is fashioned from a piece of wood and a re-purposed handsaw handle.
Any utilitarian project that comes up is a chance to hone your woodworking skills. In this case the saw handle has been trimmed to have an approximate 5/16″ tenon so the push stick part needs to have a mortise. It’s secured with a 3/8″ dowel and at the back of the push stick is another dowel that hooks onto the wood being ripped. Here I use a spiral dowel and it’s left loose. This makes it simple to replace and also allows for different thicknesses of wood being ripped. After locating the hole for the handle the next step is to lay-out the mortise. The only mortise chisel I have is a 1/4″ so after using the mortising gauge I use another chisel to outline the mortise. Then came the chopping, not pretty but it’s utilitarian!