Woodworking instructor Carol Reed's shop-made push blocks not only protect your fingers at the router table, they give you much more control for accuracy and success.

Carol Reed's Finger-Saving Success Devices

"I see myself as a teacher of beginners," says Carol Reed, who has taught woodworking and router techniques for 23 years. She also demonstrates her talents at woodworking and home and garden shows. Her first book, Router Joinery Workshop, was published in 2003.

Why you need these jigs
"I like to call these pushsticks my 'success devices,' " Carol says. "The real reason to use pushsticks is that not only will you be safer, you'll reduce burn marks and errors. Overall, you'll enjoy more success."

How to build Carol's jigs

Follow the drawings at right to cut the pieces for Carol's two router table accessories. Make a pattern for the handle by tracing the handle of a handsaw. Create a template of the handle from your tracing, she says, and then "make an armload of these darn things. That way, you won't feel bad if you chew up one of your jigs."

We made our handles from easily worked and inexpensive MDF (medium-density fiberboard). To assemble the pushstick used for routing the ends of long stock, glue and clamp the base to the MDF upright piece. After applying glue to the handle, rub it across the upright, and clamp in place. Glue the heel on last.

To make the pushstick for narrow stock, glue the base to the handle, and clamp until dry. For safety, do not use metal fasteners to hold the pieces together.

Put the pushsticks to use

Paired with a feather board, Carol's narrow-stock pushstick [Photo A] helps you control small pieces. The vertical pushstick [Photo B] supports the ends of tall pieces.

"I use this handle design at my tablesaw and jointer, too," Carol advises. After you chew up the sole and heel, send it through the jointer and attach new pieces.

"And don't think of just 34 "-thick material," Carol says. "I have safely routed thinner stock with 38 " pushsticks and a little heel."

Finger-Saving Push Blocks

If you like this project, please check out more than 1,000 shop-proven paper and downloadable woodworking project plans in the WOOD Store.