What push stick/block for resawing?


What do people like to use as a push stick for resawing?
The gauze around my right index finger will attest to my previous approach as leaving something to be desired.
I was resawing a short piece of 1x6 walnut. My first mistake was using a push stick (of the notch cut in a stick variety) that was too short. I had made some short ones for a specific purpose a long time ago and have had the bad habit of using them for other things they are not safe for. Going in the trash tomorrow.
My second mistake was pushing with it too low. To my surprise the stock actually lifted up at an angle (makes perfect sense now of course). I pushed it back down, and the cut completed sooner than I expected, as I'm paying more attention to what's going on behind the blade than at the cut. Stock goes flying because I'm still pushing on it. Push stick lurches forward. Knuckle visits band saw blade. Blade wins. I am a lucky bastard that it did not go deep. If that push stick had been 1/8" shorter I'd still be sitting in the emergency room waiting for my stiches. If it had been an inch shorter...
So before I decide the solution is longer push stick and push from above the midpoint, I think I shall see if there's a better way. I don't have a whole lot of control for those last few inches, and there's not much I can do to guide it from behind the blade without closing the kerf. It doesn't help that my "fence" is a jointed 2x3 clamped to the table.
Lesson for the day: The wrong push stick is only as good or worse than no push stick at all. Worse because of the illusion of safety.
Irony for the day: The other day I caught Dad not using a push stick on the table saw and then end up doing the dumbest move I've ever seen on a saw (reach around to the front of the blade from the *back* of the saw - what, the blade isn't going to cut you because it can't see you hiding behind it? what the hell?). I ordered him a magnetic one for father's day so he'd have no more excuses earlier in the day.
-Leuf
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Leuf wrote:

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Block is one great option, usually at hand. Divide the load, as you've discovered, and things run more true.
Second type is like a jointer paddle, with a modest heel on it to hook the trailing end of the piece, while the paddle maintains up against the fence.
If you use the second, don't use metal fasteners to put the heel on. DAMHIKT
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I have a 2" by 6" board with a heel strip at the end. I attached a handle at 90 degrees, and curved the end near the heel for comfort.
The push stick rides on the edge. I can replace the strip, and the large surface helps control the angle of the board.
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On Fri, 9 Jun 2006 10:25:22 +0000 (UTC), Bruce Barnett

I think you and George have it. If anything lets go the hand is out away from the cut.
-Leuf
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Yeah - the hand is to the right of the blade, and the blade cannot approach the hand even if it slips. It also allows you to start with a long board and without moving the right hand, so the cut is even and straight.
I found that it's important to have the push block ride on the side (or where the side would rest on the table when you get to the table) - when cutting long boards. I move the left hand when needed, and keep the right hand in the same place.
I use it to cut slices off a 4' by 12" board.
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Why? As you stated, they were the right thing for the original job which makes them very useful. That you used the wrong tool for the job does not make the tool junk. Keep them - you may find you need them for the right application again in the future.

If... if... if... Isn't that the story of our lives? You're right - a lot of things could have been different if a lot of things had been different. That's what makes cognitive safety in the shop the most important thing you can do. It's not about push sticks and blade guards, it's about trying to maintain a constant viligance and awareness of what's going on. You can use the newest, greatest push stick, or the slickest doo-dad and still find a piece of wood embedded in your front teeth. Wood is finicky stuff. It will sometimes do the most unexpected things. Sometimes it will seem to fight the saw blade for most of it's length, only to suddenly surrender and you find the pace of your cut accelerated like a slingshot. Your best comment is the sentence above where you state "if I had been paying more attention...". Of course we never do that perfectly either.

Your fence has nothing to do with it. A fence is a fence and the stock can't really tell the difference between a chunk of aluminum or a slab of wood. You're on the right track though. Look at it some more. I bet you can come up with a clever - or even a not so clever way of keeping the kerf open. I'll bet that idea has little to do with your fence.

Such a key point to the whole thing... the illusion of safety. That is my one and only reservation when I read posts about things like this. The tool - be it a push stick or any other adjunct tends to be given magical qualities in the name of safety. Yup - they are a safety device and they are essentials, but the most essential safety adjunct is what you identified above - viligence. Oh... btw, I also believe that the best saftety practice is to develop the ability to perform a quick duck...

There are lots of reasons not to use a push stick. It depends on the cut and the stock. Remember one thing... a push stick lessens the amount of control that you can exert compared to what you could do if you can safely use just your hands. The key to that statement should be obvious. Push sticks are not the ultimate answer, they are part of a tool kit. I do agree with you that a reach past the blade is a bad practice.
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-Mike-
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What does it matter if you close the kerf while resawing on a bandsaw? I typically just push through with my fingers then with the last few inches pull it through the blade from behind. Now it's quite possible that there is a better way but I haven't encountered any problems with this and it always feels like a very safe operation. Kerf on a bandsaw is really thin and if it binds all it will do is push harder against table. Not like it will pinch and kick it back.
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wrote:

I don't know, it's not a kickback causer as on a TS, yes. But you might stall the motor, create a lot of heat that would be bad for the blade and maybe burn the wood. Also if you're flexing the board then you may be pulling the stock that hasn't been cut yet away from the fence and not get a straight cut. Or at least that's what seemed to happen when I tried that. On a longer board I don't think it'd be an issue, but on the shorter stuff I usually am working with it seems to be.
-Leuf
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On Fri, 9 Jun 2006 07:40:23 -0400, "Mike Marlow"

I'll replace em with longer ones. If I'm in a situation where gripping closer is safe and desirable I can grip them further down.

The fence isn't high enough to resaw something that wide. That's why I was pushing low, if I'd been up higher where I wanted to be the stock would have toed out from the fence. It was pushing low that caused the back to lift up, and the lift up that caused the incident. It's usually not one thing that causes a problem but when multiple things happen that get you in trouble.

Well I don't think most of us would attempt to rip a 30" long piece of 2x4 in half without some sort of safety aid. I totally agree that using a push stick where one isn't needed actually increases the danger. What bothers me is that I saw him look for the push stick, give up after about 3 seconds and then go ahead with the cut anyway, get 3/4s through and then try to make something up. Btw, the push sticks were in the drawer next to the saw where they were supposed to be. Now it's going to have a new home out in plain sight on the saw. It is not a cure for his problem, but I can't get him to listen to me. A trip to the emergency room didn't get through to him either.
-Leuf
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Well that explains it all. What man in his right mind looks in the place where something is supposed to be? Talk about a huge waste of energy. What had me puzzled about your dad's actions is why he never looked over to the nearest flat surface. There's a high probability that what ever you are looking for is somewhere between the middle and the bottom third of the stack of crap located there. Says so, right in the Bible...
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When resawing on a bandsaw I don't have any problem pulling the work through to finish the cut. Typically a bandsaw table is so small you have tohold onto the wood anyhow and I use a resaw 'fence' that is a vertical post with one corner aligned with the teeth of the saw. A long fence is more trouble than help on a bandsaw.
As to the kerf closing on the blade, it won't cause kickback but it might burn the wood or stall the saw.
--

FF


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wrote:

Isn't that one of the uses for a dead cat?
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