Safety aids (Push Sticks) for the tablesaw and router keep your fingers away from moving bits and blades
by Pete Schlebecker
At the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, where I teach and also manage the woodshops, showing students how to safely operate power equipment is one of our first tasks. The lesson always includes push sticks.
A push stick is a shaped length of wood or other material that helps control the movement of a workpiece. It is most needed at the tablesaw, jointer, router table, and bandsaw. Using a push stick keeps hands away from blades and cutters. It also helps maintain an even pressure and feed rate, reducing the risk of kickback and producing a smoother cut. In our shops, we keep extra push sticks handy, and there is always one sitting on top of a machine table or hung on a hook nearby. We encourage students to get in the habit of looking for the push stick before they turn on the machine.