Push stick stands at the ready
At my small commercial shop, we removed the factory tablesaw guard and installed an over-arm blade guard for safety reasons. Even so, the battle between the blade guard and rip fence becomes problematic the closer the two get. For narrow rips, we found ourselves either removing the guard or fighting with it.
To solve this problem, we developed a push stick based on a sled that fits over the rip fence. The unit has 3/4-in.-thick sacrificial plywood sides, with a 1/4-in.-long finger on the back edge to provide the push-through even on very thin rips. When resting fully on the fence, the finger just touches the table. In use, the unit pushes the stock both down and forward.
The other side of the sled is the same but reversed, so the sled is ready to go regardless of which way it is grabbed. A large door handle on the top keeps your hand well clear of the blade. The sled works for any ripcut, but it’s especially useful for ripping narrow stock. For those jobs, the side of the sled slides under the guard, which rides up and over it. The handle (and your hand) stays clear to the right. If the sides get chewed up by the blade, we simply replace them.
To keep the sled handy but out of the way for 3/4-in. and thinner stock, we hot-glued a wedge to the top front of the rip fence, and we curved the leading edge of the sled to provide 1 in. of clearance above the table when the sled is resting on the wedge. When pushing stock through the saw, the sled rests on the wedge until it is needed to push the tail end through. For thicker stock, we simply set the sled nearby…