Table Saw Push Stick

The sketch is provided by the instructor and the author of the sketch is Dr. Miller.

Design Thinking

There are not many options for the material since it is the first project for students and most of the students have no or little experience in fabricating wooden products. The ideal material for this product should have a relatively light weight since it is a push stick and if it is too heavy it might cause unpredicted difficulties when students/users are using it. At the same time, the price should not be high. The large storage of the selected material should not cause a financial burden for the college of education or TDE 110’s office. 


The material of the product will be pine because, according to Orangeries UK(2015), pine is lightweight and has good elasticity. Meanwhile, it can resist shrinking and swelling. More importantly, the price is relatively lower than hardwood since the project is the first project for students and the yield rate might be slow. However, it has some disadvantages too. For example, it can be easily damaged. For my product, one of the dovetail tails has a crack and I don’t even know when and how did this happen. 

The overall process is not difficult, but it is a time-consuming process. From my experience, I spent about 2 weeks on it. At first, I use a Table Saw and a Miter Saw to cut the size I want. Then I use Drill Press to take two hollow holes for the preparation of the handler. After I drilled the holes, I didn’t continue working on connecting the two holes because I was not confident enough to use the Scroll Saw, and meanwhile, the scroll saw in the lab area looks fragile. I’m afraid I would break it. Due to these concerns, I started working on the dovetail tails. The chisel helped me a lot. It is very easy to use, and I prefer to use the smaller size and manually push it downwards so that I can enjoy the happiness of taking wood down from the board. The hand saw is relatively energy-consuming for cutting tails down, but I like it too because the noise of cutting woods is beautiful. After using the chisel, a file helped me polish the surface. My last step is connecting the two holes for the handler, and I asked for help from the instructor and the instructor is very helpful. After I’ve done all of this I asked opinions from instructors and I was told I need to use the sander to polish the surface of the product and remove the papers from the surface. The sander is not easy to control, and the running sander paper touched my fingers sometimes, but I was not hurt or injured during the operation. 

The three pictures below show the progress from paper to the unsanded surface and to the polished surface.


I am pretty proud of my project. It is my first handmade project, and I’ve never done something like this before. Even though some of the teeth(dovetail tails) do not perfectly match, and it wobbles sometimes, but I still like it. The instruction of the project is quite straightforward, and luckily I didn’t redo any part of the project. When I was making this project, I really dislike operating the hand tools, so I keep thinking if there’s any part of the work that can be replaced by machine processing. For example, when I was making the dovetail tails of the product manually, I have difficulties making an accurate cut, so I wanted to use the band saw to cut it. However, when I was cutting it by band saw, the instructor stand behind me and (after I turned off the machine) told me that it is not suggested to use the band saw to cut the dovetail tails. Then I have to figure out how to cut tails with high efficiency and make me not that tired. I found the chisel. The chisel helped me a lot. I just need to use the combination of hammer and chisel so that I can have a relatively flat surface for my product, and I won’t be too tired to do that. I was thinking if we can use a CNC machine to do the project, the output might have a better look. However, it seems that the purpose of this course is helping us master the usage of different tools.

The most important lesson I learned from this project is learning from other’s operations is important and time-saving. When I was working on the project, I usually finished steps first, and it might not be good because I might use some low-efficient way to do my work, however, others might have an easier way to do it. I can learn from others if I can slow down my process. If I can do it again, I will cut the tails down carefully so that the tails would look better, and the product might have a better looking. I was not favorable about the appearance of the project, but I don’t have the motivation to redo it when I was still working on it. 

The final product:


Orangeries UK. (2015, July 1). Advantages and Disadvantages of Pine Wood for Conservatories.