You can’t keep your hands far enough away from the blade when using a table saw or miter saw. However, if you want to maintain maximum control, you must hold the workpiece as close to the area where you want to cut as possible.
As a result, this hold down stick is the ideal solution. You not only reduce the risk of hand injuries, but you also have better control over the workpiece, reducing binding and the possibility of kickback.
This Hold down stick/push stick came about through experiences with my old hold-down stick. Working with it for many hours, I encountered a few flaws that have been completely eliminated in this design. Read the step-by-step guide, watch the video and download the free hold down stick plans to make this woodworking jig for your workshop and protect your hands from that razor-sharp saw blade.
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Why I made this hold down stick
I actually made a hold-down stick before. You can see the result in this article with video.
The hold down stick has served us well, but after working with it for a long time, I noticed a few improvement points. The most important thing was the stability and the grip on the workpiece. These are things I kept in mind when designing this model.
Why You should make this hold down stick
First and foremost, for your own safety. A table saw accident can happen in a matter of seconds. Maintain a safe distance between your hands and the saw blade at all times. This hold down stick is ideal for that. You can still apply the necessary pressure to the workpiece close to the saw blade to keep it in place, even though your hands are far away from the blade.
Thanks to the three legs and the non-slip pads for extra grip, this new hold-down stick is much more stable than the first model I made. It is also more widely applicable. It can be used on a crosscut sled to hold your stock in place, as well as on a miter saw to apply downward pressure to the workpiece.
In addition, this hold down stick can be used as a push stick on the table saw. It hooks behind any workpiece thanks to the recess in the back of the handle. The legs can be placed over the saw blade so that the handle is never directly above the saw blade, but next to it.
In addition to stability, the advantage of the three legs is that both parts, both the workpiece and the cut-off, can be held until the saw cut has been completed. This will reduce the risk of the saw blade binding.
More tips to avoid binding a saw blade can be found in this article.
Watch the video here & learn how to make this hold down stick
Here you can watch the video and see how to make the hold down / push stick.
After watching the video, you can continue reading the step-by-step guide to making this woodworking jig yourself.
How to make this hold down stick
Building this hold-down/push stick is simple once you know how, and you don’t need much material. In this section, I’ll show you how I made my hold-down stick step by step. After reading this step-by-step guide, don’t forget to download the free plans. Following the dimensions on the hold down stick plans eliminates the need to figure out what the best proportions are, allowing you to work much faster.
I started by transferring the measurements from the plans to my workpieces. This is simple to do with a pencil and a ruler.
After drawing, I drilled a hole between the legs with a 35 mm Forstner bit. The Forstner bit will ensure that the legs are perfectly round. It won’t make your hold down stick any better, but it will be a lot nicer to look at, which is something I value.
Once the legs were formed, I was able to cut out the part with the jigsaw. While cutting, I stayed about a millimeter outside the marked lines. This allows you to sand the edges with the drum sander later on.
Related article: What jigsaw is best for your shop
To make the connection with the handle as strong as possible, I made a slot in this part where the handle fits perfectly. After marking the lines where the slot should be, I made a slot of 5 mm depth with my palm router and a straight router bit. Afterward, I touched up the edges with a chisel so that the handle could just slide into the slot. Do not make the slot too wide, that way the handle will be clamped in it and the connection will be strong enough without having to glue.
With all of the cutting and milling completed for this part, I trimmed the edges to the marked line. On my drill press, I used my homemade drum sander for this.
After finishing the edges, I chamfered them with my router and a 45-degree chamfer bit. This not only ensures a better finished part, but the edges are also less sharp, making working with the hold-down stick safer and more pleasant.
The last job to finish this part was to apply the non-slip pads. The ones I had had a screw, which I removed. I don’t like the idea of screws or other pieces of metal getting too close to the blade. The chance that they cause damage and the saw blade may be sharpened is too great.
Related article: Is it worth sharpen saw blades?
If you don’t have non-slip pads yet, I can recommend these pads that you can find on Amazon. They are the same size as the one I used, only they don’t have that annoying screw.
After removing the screw I attached these pads with epoxy glue, which I am sure can guarantee a good and long-lasting connection.
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The handle will be created next. This has a curved ergonomic shape that appears difficult to create, but this is not the case. I used two simple nails and a ruler to accomplish this.
Begin by placing a nail at the curved lines’ beginning and ending points. It’s important to note that the nail is on the outside of the line. This keeps a hole from forming in your workpiece.
You now have a perfect guide to draw your curved line by placing the ruler against the nails and bending in the middle.
The bottom and top curved lines can be made in the same way.
Now that the main lines of the handle were drawn, I could refine the handle and determine where the grip would go. With a compass, I was able to determine the location of the opening and after drawing them, I touched up the marking lines with my free hand.
Now it could begin. First, I made the inside of the grip. Using the same 35 mm Forstner bit, I drilled out the front and back of the grip. Then I was able to cut the middle away with the puzzle. With the same jigsaw, I was now also able to cut out the handle. As with the leg part, I stayed 1 mm outside the marking lines.
After touching up the edges with the drum sander and placing the non-slip pads on the end of the handle, the hold down stick could be mounted.
I deliberately didn’t use glue to attach the two parts together. That gives me the opportunity to detach and reuse the handle in the future if the legs of this stick are damaged and need to be replaced.
To secure the connection, I put one screw. Make sure you pre-drill when you want to insert a screw, this will reduce the risk of splitting and guarantee a strong connection.
There you go, the hold down stick is now ready to use. This is a job that you can easily do in about 2 hours, and it greatly increases your security. Don’t forget to download the free plans below, they will be of great help in building this hold down/push stick.
Building your workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been there too.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on Christofix.com, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.
I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!
I hope this step by step guide on how to make a hold down stick was helpful, and that this blog inspires you.
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I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.
Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration
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