There are always pros and cons to making things yourself in your own workshop because sometimes they are better than what you can purchase commercially and other times they are not, and often it depends on the materials being used. Commercially we don't have access to some of the material for building things, like stronger plastics and resins. All we can rely on in most cases is wood and sometimes with some sorts of metal accessories or parts.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/wKliiwTpSdM
These shop made Push Blocks are no different in terms of challenges, but in this case, although the materials may not seem as heavy duty, the end result is that they actually work much better than the commercial ones I have ...
Some of you may recall, that some time ago I showed how to make these chop make handles my laminating hardwood together and gluing them. I am not sure if they are as strong as the commercial versions which are made of thick plastic, but the wooden ones I have made are super strong and will easily do the job that is required of them. Did I mention they also look much nicer too ...
To make these push blocks is no real trick. If you have watched the video it tells all. Basically, you need a good quality plywood base and I used half inch Baltic Birch Plywood to make sure it was strong and stable.
First of all, I sanded the bottoms of the handles on my flat sanding base to make sure that all the handles were flat and even so that in mounting them to the handles there was no chance they would rock back and forth.
Next, I flipped a handle on it's back a clasped it with my wood vice. Next, I found (or made) some scratch pads that could be used as templates so as to ensure the handles would be centered on the push block base.
You could glue the handles to the bases using 2 part epoxy glue, but I decided to use screws only in case I want to change the bases for something larger, smaller or thicker, at some time in the future. I found the screws alone are working just fine.
One of the elements I added after the handles were affixed was to give the pads some "give" by adding some self-adhesive foam backing to the base. Simply cut to size, peeled off the paper backing and stuck the foam to the push block base.
The second element to add was the anti-skid material. I thought this would really help to make these push blocks "grab" the wood as it was being pushed through the machine ... and I was correct. It works amazingly well, in fact, it works far better than the commercially made versions I have. I decided to staple the anti-skid material to the push blocks in the event of 1) that anti-skid material tears or wears thin and I want to replace it off 2) I decide I want to use the thicker version of that anti-skid material, similar to the version that is used as holding pads underneath hand-held routers to help them stop from having the material move around too much.
In the end, I was super happy with my shop made push blocks, they are very strong and I can custom make them in a variety of sizes which now means I can make one version for my router table that is narrow enough to grab thin material I am pushing through the router table and ensure it is "grabbed" well enough to push through the machine, something my commercial versions weren't doing.
A small investment in time and a big investment in safety and 3 new pairs of push blocks to last me for many years to come ...
Copyright Colin Knecht