Push Block System - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Shop Jig: Safety is all about putting some distance between your body parts and the sharp metal bits that shape wood.


Push Block System

Illustration by James Provost


Supply Checklist
• 1/2" Baltic birch ply approximately 9" x 28"
• Scrap piece of 3" x 10" hardwood
• Ten #8 – 1" brass screws
• Four 3/8" x 1" dowels
• Paste wax

This push block is comfortable and easy to use, and incorporates a carriage that rides on the rip fence so you can rip narrow pieces safely.

A series of notches cut into the leading edge of the carriage serve as hold downs for common stock thicknesses. One side has 1/4", 1/2", and 1" graduations while the opposite side has notches for 3/4" and 1 1/2" stock. Change these dimensions to suite the stock thickness you normally use. This version is made from 1/2" Baltic birch plywood and is sized to fit a Biesemeyer fence. Adjust your measurements accordingly to fit the fence on your saw.
Making the Jig
• Cut the pieces for the base (A) and the stop block (B).

• Raise the table saw blade about 1/8" above the table and use a series of cuts to create a ledge to mount the stop block in. Glue and clamp the stop block in place.

• Use a scroll saw to cut the handle (C) from some scrap hardwood, and smooth it with files and sandpaper.

• Mark the centerline of the base, position the handle on the base, and drill countersunk holes from the underside. Screw the handle in place using #8 - 1" brass screws.

• Cut the pieces for the fence carriage top (D) slightly oversize and glue them together to form a 1" thick block, trim to final size, and sand it.

• Cut the fence carriage sides (E) to size, cut out the graduated notches, and sand the pieces. Assemble the top and sides and drill countersunk pilot holes for #8 brass screws. Apply glue to the sides of the top piece and drive the brass screws in by hand.

• Sand everything and apply a coat of wax so that the carriage will slide smoothly.
Assembling the Jig
• Clamp the push block to the top of the carriage and using a drill press, drill ⅜" dowel holes being careful not to go all the way through the carriage.

• Reverse the push block on the fence carriage and clamp it in place. Use the first set of holes in the push block as guides and drill a second set into the other end of the carriage.

• Place two ⅜" dowels in the first set of holes you drilled in the carriage and a set of dowel centers in the second set. Place the push block on the carriage and mark the location of the second set of holes.

• Remove the handle from the push block, turn it over on the drill press, and using a sacrificial backer, drill the holes. Glue the four dowels into the carriage and give them a coat of wax.