What are the Best Pushblocks/Hold Downs

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Forum topic by DavidNJ posted 01-29-2013 10:09 PM 3333 views 1 time favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2908 days

01-29-2013 10:09 PM

There are a lot of pushblocks out there. Flat ones with foam pads, the MicroJig Grr-Ripper. I’ve seen some homemade. One concern is that it requires removing the blade guard.

Right now I have two plastic pushblocks.

There are featherboards. One problem I have is that the old Skil saw I’m using for the next month or so has an odd size miter slot and aluminum top. It has been very problematic getting/making a feather board to hold against the fence while ripping.

I’ve looked at Board Buddies, but it seems they hold down and resist kickback, but do they also hold the work to the fence?

My goal is the hold the work, 1/4” to 3.5” tall and 1/4” and wider to the fence and to keep my fingers far away from the blade so I’m never tempted to do something foolish.

41 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5311 posts in 4875 days

#1 posted 01-29-2013 10:45 PM

In my shop…..........
Board Buddies, feather boards, splitter with pawls, Grip Tites, on and on. So far so good.
I’m a wussssssss!

-- [email protected]

View Loren's profile


10785 posts in 4562 days

#2 posted 01-29-2013 11:02 PM

Grip Tites are my favorites. They are just super fast
to set up. They are magnetic.

Board Buddies are cool but require fussing to set up
for different material thicnesses.

I have Grippers but seldom use them because I
almost always use a guard on the table saw. They
are useful for ripping small sections but you need
to have a zero clearance insert too usually. I often
find it easier to rip small sections on the band saw.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16979 posts in 3533 days

#3 posted 01-30-2013 01:18 AM

Here’s the best hold down I’ve used.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2908 days

#4 posted 01-30-2013 01:47 AM

The Grip-Tites look nice, although for the next month they won’t work on my aluminum saw top. Removing the blade guard and its dust collection is my issue also. However, won’t the Grr-Rippers work on stock too narrow for the Grip-Tites? They also seem to keep pressure on the work while and after it passes the blade. The others seem to do that only on wider stock.

Smitty, those look like an articulated Jorgansen…how do you use them on your table saw? :)

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16979 posts in 3533 days

#5 posted 01-30-2013 02:02 AM

They’re Veritas, actually. Haven’t figured out how to use them on the table saw; the cast iron is a bear to drill. lol

I’ll let your thread get back to serious business now, sorry, David. :-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3604 days

#6 posted 01-30-2013 03:51 AM

I use shop made, hand-held featherboards (posted in the safety forum a while back). Basically a 6×6” square of ply with different width and depth rabbit along each edge. It not only holds the wood to the fence but holds it down on the tabletop. Mine has a 2×2 handle on the top.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6564 posts in 3408 days

#7 posted 01-30-2013 12:20 PM

For plastic push blocks, these are unbelievable. Significantly larger than most, they have the ability to grip the smoothest surfaces, like melamine and pre finished plywood. At about twice the price of the smaller ones they are well worth it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2908 days

#8 posted 01-31-2013 10:30 PM

It would appear the three thinks serve different purposes.

The Grip-Tite featherboard (and other featherboards) hold the work on the fence. If the piece is wide enough, that can be alongside the bode. The roller on the Grip-Tite would be hold it to the featherboard and press down beside the blade…others would just hold down. What is the best way to push work through the Grip-Tite.

The Grr-Ripper will hold down and right a very small piece next to the blade. Smaller than the featherboard can. It can more larger pieces, but it would appear a bit awkwardly (your hands is now inches above the workpiece).

The push pads work well for large sheet goods. The other tools could be used here—the Grr-Ripper is just a push pad with space for the blade to pass underneath—but not as well.

I’m flinching but beginning to think you need all three plus a conventional push block to use with the Grip-Tite or equivalent.

View LeChuck's profile


424 posts in 3977 days

#9 posted 01-31-2013 10:39 PM

It’s interesting to hear that the push pad from Bench Dog works. The ones that usually come with jointers or you can buy for cheap with that foam at the bottom are useless, they grip nothing and are actually dangerous as a result.

-- David - Tucson, AZ

View mrg's profile


872 posts in 3914 days

#10 posted 01-31-2013 10:41 PM

I use the Grrr-Ripers and like them a lot. You have more control feeding the stock, they press down and against the fence. If cutting thin you go right over the blade. I am not advocating not using the guard, my saw is missing the guard and factory splitter so these work good.

I am buying a new saw in the near future.

-- mrg

View handi's profile


159 posts in 5354 days

#11 posted 01-31-2013 11:22 PM

I’ve been woodworking professionally for more than 20 years. I simply do not use blade guards. They get in the way and cause more issues than they prevent. I DO use a splitter. Just a note, the European safety standards have always been much stricter than the US, and they require riving knives (splitter) rather than guards. OSHA last year dropped the guard requirement and now require riving knives.

I use the GRR-Rippers for the vast majority of my cutting. They take a bit of getting used to, but once you get the hang of them, they can help you do amazing things. Because they push down and toward the fence, your stock does not try to leave the fence and burn on the blade.

Just my 2 cents,


-- Watch Woodcademy free on Amazon Prime!

View don1960's profile


227 posts in 3601 days

#12 posted 02-01-2013 12:04 AM

I agree the Bench Dog push blocks are great. Bought a pair of them at Rockler on sale last summer. They really do grip very well, and are made of some substantial bit of plastic.

Sorry to say I never use a blade guard, ever. I can’t actually see what possible safety it could provide. All it does is hide the blade from you, and give you a false sense of confidence. (probably going to hell for that statement)

The riving knife on my 4512 does a great job, as I’m sure it does on any other saw equiped with one. Really should be standard.

I want to try the board buddies someday. Just looks as though they would do a great job.

-- -- Don from PA

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2858 posts in 3836 days

#13 posted 02-01-2013 12:28 AM

four of my push sticks.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View Lector's profile


7 posts in 2860 days

#14 posted 02-01-2013 01:52 AM

How fortuitous, I was looking at the gripper with some attachments. So I have chosen the grriper w/ a handle kit,a trailing hook & A pair of zero play guide banks/ I’ll let you know what I think of it in a few weeks.

-- Mistakes are good,learning how to fix them is better.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 3025 days

#15 posted 02-01-2013 02:21 AM

My favorites:

- Grammercy holdfasts
- Shop-made push blocks (a plywood rectangle with a notch)
- Cheapie and shop-made push blocks, with mousepads on the bottom. When the rubber gets too slit, I grind it off on the belt sander, and glue on new material.

ALL push blocks, sticks, etc… are expendable. I’ll spend $4000 on a table saw, but there’s no way I’ll spend $75 on push blocks. I’d rather use a notched scrap, let the tool cut them, then toss ‘em…

I rarely use feather boards, mostly on the router table, but have good luck with Kreg and Bench Dog.

showing 1 through 15 of 41 replies

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