Push sticks, push blocks, hold-ins, and featherboards are simple little things, usually made up from scraps around the shop. But there's a common thread among the woodworkers who unfailingly use them -- more than likely they've got all ten fingers.

The Basics:
- A simple device will do: The old standby is a notched piece of scrap wood.
- For tablesaws and jointers: A push stick comes in handy with a variety of power tools.

Push sticks and push blocks
There's one thing for sure, for such a simple device, there is much difference of opinion about what a push stick should look like. The old standby is a notched piece of scrap you hold at 45° to push the work through the blade. Over the years there have been improvements on the old standby design. They include push blocks with a long snout, a handsaw handle, and push sticks that straddle the rip fence.

Featherboards and hold-ins
Featherboards and hold-ins are first cousins to the push stick. These safety devices, which typically are fashioned from a piece of wood with a series of kerfs cut into one end, clamp to the fence rail or lock into the miter-gauge track.

Don't stint on safety
These cutting aids should always be used at the tablesaw, but also have a place at the bandsaw, router table, and jointer. In any case where you might expose your fingers to a spinning blade or bit, these cutting aids are essential.