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
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.
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.
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).
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!!!