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    Push Blocks for the Jointer





    By Peter Schlebecker

    Using a jointer to flatten a board’s face or to straighten an edge on narrow stock can bring the operator’s hands dangerously close to the machine’s horizontal cutterhead.

    Guiding the work with push sticks helps keep your hands out of danger. It also helps achieve a clean cut by ensuring that the work doesn’t bounce or “chatter” as it crosses the cutterhead’s rotating knives.

    For face jointing, a flat style of push stick known as a push block works best; we ask that students use them no matter how large or small the workpiece.

    A push block is a flat board with a top-mounted handle that allows the user to maintain downward pressure. There are two basic designs, each with a distinct function. One uses a cleat on the back to grip the trailing end of the stock. The other, used at the leading end of the workpiece, has no cleat but grips the stock with a nonslip rubber pad.

    To use them, take the cleated stick in your right hand and the rubber-soled block in your left to maintain downward pressure at the leading end of the workpiece.

    (Originally printed in the Sept/Oct 2006 issue of Fine Woodworking magazine (FWW #186))


    Peter_Schlebecker

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    mike lines writes:

    A push block is a flat board with a top-mounted handle that allows the user to maintain downward pressure. There are two basic designs, each with a distinct function. One uses a cleat on the back to grip the trailing end of the stock. The other, used at the leading end of the workpiece, has no cleat but grips the stock with a nonslip rubber pad. Conference Vegas

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    A push block is a flat board with a top-mounted handle that allows the user to maintain downward pressure. There are two basic designs, each with a distinct function. One uses a cleat on the back to grip the trailing end of the stock. The other, used at the leading end of the workpiece, has no cleat but grips the stock with a nonslip rubber pad.

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    Bruce Wayne writes:

    I bought the pushing blocks recently and it has spared me a lot of time and energy. These blocks protect the hand while allowing good hand control of the stock as it is pushed through the cutting head or blade.

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    Hyrum
    Hyrum Weller writes:

    I have an older jointer that I was trying to use to flatten the face of some birds-eye maple - Not only did I not flatten the face (there are 'rolling' valleys on the surface), the board is now thinner on one edge than the other. I used a padded push block up front and a push stick for the back - the push stick goes to my table-saw; is that my problem? I wish you would be more specific on how to use the push blocks as far as hand placement and pressure applied. I tried to use the padded block to apply pressure on the first half of the board on the in-feed side but the board doesn't slide under the padded push stick well at all. How far from the cutters should the pressure be applied for the last half of the board? Would a slanted finger hold-down on each side of the cutters be a bad thing? I could make a fence that would hold them...

    Frustrated!

    Wedge
    Herbert Bronner writes:

    I had the same problem when i first started using a jointer. The trick is to start the cut by applying pressure to the board as it approaches the cutter head which will  set the intended finished thickness of the board. As you move the board forward on to the outfeed table with enough milled board length to support the push block, transfer the block pressure to the milled board on the outfeed table just past the cutter. Practice till you get it right.  

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