Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Quick Little Push Block

What do you do with a nice piece of hard maple that's only 12 inches long but its 8 inches wide and a full inch thick? Not enough to make a cabinet, certainly not enough to build a bridge out of.

I need another push block, maybe I could make one out of this. I like the feel of an enclosed handle that pushes down on the stock so instead of reinventing the wheel I used this push block as a guide.

After tracing the hand hole in its proper position I freehanded the shape I had in mind and added some ears to make the handle more like a saw handle.

A trip to the bandsaw cut out the shape. I cleaned up the saw blade marks with the disc sander for the convex part and the oscillating spindle sander for the concave parts. I used a 1 1/4 inch forstner bit to bore out the hand hole.

Some clean up with a chisel and a trip over to the oscillating spindle sander leaves a nice smooth finger hole, just the right size for a safe grip.

Using a 1/2 inch roundover bit I eased the inside of the handle and the palm side, I was careful not to go past the ears with the bit.

Who says that even totally utilitarian things you use in your shop shouldn't be beautiful, and I had a cabinet full of router bits, so I put a decorative beading on the edge of the push block. You'll also notice the foot I cut into the push block, at first I was going to glue on a block like I did on my other pushblock. But once the beaded detail was in place I decided to keep it simple and cut the foot on the band saw. If the foot becomes chewed up cutting thin strips I'll just slice it off and cut another one the same way, there is enough material on this push block to do that a few times before I have to replace it.
A few coats of Danish oil and its done, all in all I spent 45 minutes on this pushblock. It will keep my fingers away from the tablesaw blade and look good while its doing it.

"The smell of wood in my shop is more pleasing than a desk in an office." Sam Maloof

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