What’s orange and black and protects your hands from electric woodworking tools? Answer: Bench Dog Push Bloc push blocks (10-033).
For the non-woodworkers: Push blocks are used to help guide and manipulate wood boards and sheets across benchtop and stationary woodworking tools such as routers, table saws, and jointers. They help create added distance between cutting tools and your hands, which improves control and helps to reduce risk of injury.
There are a couple of things I love about these push blocks. First, they’re very comfortable to hold. Second, they work pretty darned well. The grippy material on the bottom is soft and rubbery, kind of like an older-style thick premium quality mouse pad.
These push blocks work well to help protect your hands from woodworking tools like routers, table saws, and jointers, and they do it comfortably.
Like other push blocks, the handles are angled slightly for better ergonomics.
On the left, a generic no-name push block I purchased before I discovered these Bench Dog ones. The Bench Dog push block is noticeably larger.
Additionally, the generic no-name push block has smooth foam-like padding. The generic block’s padding grips wood materials pretty well, but the Bench Dog push block’s soft and textured padding simply grips wood materials better. The Bench Dog’s padding is a lot more rubbery, possibly a little firmer as well, but it’s hard to tell.
Bench Dog Push Blocs are sold for about $10 each, and so a pair of two will cost $20. In comparison, generic push blocks are priced at ~$9-15 per pair.
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I bought my two Push Bloc blocks nearly three years ago and would definitely buy them again.
Anything that improves safety and control around power tools is a good thing. $20 for a couple push blocks is a lot les than stitches or worse.
I’ve never found a single push block that like for every task or situation. I own a pair of these and I like them for use on a jointer for relatively short pieces. They are also OK for some tasks on the router table or shaper. I do not like them at all for use on the table saw – where I find the Grripper much better:
but I also use a variety of store bought and homemade push sticks and push sleds and a Woodpeckers coping sled for the router table
When I had more access to a commercial wood shop – I appreciated dedicated power stock feeders that we had on our Oliver Rip Saw, Shapers and Jointer – which mostly obviated the need for push sticks.
BTW – push sticks in combination with featherboards (where appropriate) do make for improved shop safety
Have you ever considered the grr-rippers?
No, because I don’t like the idea of having to remove factory guarding to use them.
However, Micro Jig sent over a box of test samples recently that I’ll look to test in the spring for a project or two.
Micro Jig – has 2 general versions – The Grr-Ripper and the GB1 – which is more like the Bench Dog push pads – but with the addition of flip down hooks. I bought a pair of these and find them useful for some cuts.
Where the original Grr-Ripper shines is cutting thin strips safely.
I’ve also found using the MicroJig tapering jig to be much better and I think safer than the way I used to cut leg tapers.
My old Rockwell-Delta Unisaw has a sliding table – so crosscutting (which is generally safer than ripping any) is really safe – but it has an only fairly useful splitter (no riving knife) – and the overhead arm Uniguard (once state of the art) is not as good protection as what I have on my Bosch 4100 jobsite saw for ripping.
I always thought they were angled so that force is applied in two directions. Down on the table and sideways against a fence. The curve on the front helps knowing directionality at a quick glance (assuming a right side fence configuration).
I run the benchdog blocks in my woodshop too. I’m a big fan.
They’re angled for several reasons. I usually think about access and comfort first, because if the handles weren’t angled, then you wouldn’t be able to use them up close near a fence. For me, the gentle angle provides more noticeable improvement in ergonomics than anything else.
Nothing but homemade push sticks for me. I like having a heel on the back, and being able to run the push block right over the blade. It pushes both pieces clear after cut-off.
Some other ones to consider for different tasks:
I’ve also used this handle on some homemade push sleds:
Most of my others for the table saw are crafted from plywood scraps.
For thin rips – I like the upside-down u-channel one I made that rides on rip fence and uses one of those Rockler handles.
For my jointer – I’ve made a set that started out using an inexpensive wooden masons’ float form Home Depot – with a wooden cleat added (glue and dowels – no screws please) to hook the work. I use this in combination with one of the Bench Dog pushers.
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