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Jointer Pal...

Tuesday, September 01st, 2009


I was in the shop this weekend and came up with a new jig to push boards securely when using the jointer to true one surface. This is certainly not a new idea but most likely a refinement of an existing jig that has probably taken on various shapes and sizes in other woodworking shops.


My jointer came with 2 basic push blocks (Figure 1) which work for 95% of jointer tasks. However, I wanted a push stick that had a lip on the sole (bottom) that would hook on the end of a piece of wood and offer a secure grip when handling warped or twisted stock. The design I chose was similar to the good old-fashioned Stanley hand plane; a handle in the rear and a knob in the front.


I removed a handle from my Stanley No. 8 jointer plane and traced it on a piece of paper. I then scanned, enlarged and printed  the image and used it as a template (Figure 2).  I traced it onto a scrap piece of Baltic Birch plywood I had kicking around and cut out the shape and refined the edges using a drum sander chucked in my drill press. (Figure 3). This was to become my pattern for routing.   


jointer push blocks   handle drawing   handle template

Figure 1                                                                  Figure 2                                                                 Figure 3


I decided to use Poplar for the handles and after cutting the rough shape attached it to the Baltic Birch plywood template using double-faced carpet tape (Figure 4).  The process of making a template and using it for pattern routing is ideal when several identical pieces are required.  For safety reasons, a tall block of wood was attached to the handle and acted as a holder to keep my hands away from the router bit (Figure 5).


Pattern routing involves using a router bit with an attached ball bearing. The bearing, which is the exact diameter of the straight cutters, precisely follows the contours of a pattern while the carbide cutters route an exact replica of the pattern (Figure 6).  The whole idea is to remove as much bulk wood using a scroll or band saw and then use the router bit to "clean up" the edges to the exact shape of the pattern. Given that, it is best to spend extra time perfecting the pattern as even the smallest defect will be transferred onto the finished product during pattern routing. 


handle template   routing handle    routing handle

Figure 4                                                                  Figure 5                                                                 Figure 6


Once the handles were made I used a piece of Poplar to form the sole of the push stick. I used the band saw to cut out a section of the sole,  thus forming the desired lip. I attached the front (base, dowel and ball) and rear handle using glue and recessed brass screws. Brass is a soft malleable metal and in the unlikely event the jointer knives hit the screws only minimum damage would occur.  To finish, I decided to paint the handles white for an aesthetic touch (Figure 7).


I have a few other jigs and fixtures that I will be making in the near future and, as such, made 3 additional handles (Figure 8).


push stick for jointer   extra handles

Figure 7                                                                  Figure 8


If you have any questions or comments about this blog entry please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. Thanks and be safe when working with tools!!!




burgie picture

Robert Burgoyne, also known as "Burgie", has been doing woodworking for nearly 30 years. He started learning at an early age in his grandfather's garage and continued while working with his father in construction. The hobby has now become a business with Creative Landscape Accents. Burgie builds  high quality woodworking projects for the outdoors and also enjoys making decorative accent pieces for inside the house. While not working in his shop doing woodworking Burgie enjoys computers, restoring his old 1964 Chevy C60 2-ton dump truck and riding his Harley-Davidson Road King throughout beautiful Colorado.



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