Tag Archives | safety

Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison

We’ve been doing more and more woodworking over the past year, and our arsenal of tools and equipment has grown steadily. We’ve always been pretty safety conscious (thanks to Evan, who always has to remind me to put on my eye/ear protection, respirator, etc) but with the increased dangerous-equipment-usage, we’ve been feeling the need to up our safety game even more. Enter the Push Sticks.

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Basically, a push stick is a tool you use when you’re working on a table saw to be able to a) keep your hands farther from the spinning blade of doom, and b) give yourself more control to safely maneuver a piece of wood through said spinning blade of doom. There are two common styles out there that were popularized by Matthias Wandel and John Heisz, so we made each of those versions and tried them for ourselves.

The Wandel version is based around the idea of using two long-handled push sticks. You hold them pretty far back, which keeps your hands quite far from the blade. One is used to push the wood forward, and one is used to hold it from the side and keep it straight. Because of how you hold each of them, you tend to stand a little more to the side which means you’re less likely to get hit if there’s a kick back.

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com

The Heisz version is designed in a way that applies forward and downward pressure at the same time so that you have solid control of the wood without having to apply as much force yourself (meaning you’re less likely to fall forward toward the blade). It also has a log of surface area that touches the wood and feels like it gives you great control.

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

Step 1: Print, cut, and glue template

The first step was to download the templates. We printed them out, roughly cut around their shapes, and glued them to the wood.

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com  Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com

Step 2: Cut out push sticks

We cut out our push sticks on our band saw, but you could do it using a jig saw as well. The band saw gives you a little more control though, so if you’ve already got one, that’s what we’d recommenD.

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com  Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com

Step 3: smoothing and sanding

This step is optional. We decided to round out our sharp edges (and imperfections because yours truly got a little carried away on the band saw) using a 1/8″ roundover bit. This mainly gave us some smoother to hold onto. We also sanded these to get them even smoother, plus sanding removed any paper we couldn’t pull off and the remaining glue residue.

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com  Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com  Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com  Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com Done!

And that’s it! These guys are super easy to make. But I know what you’re all wondering… which one did we end up liking better?

First we tested the Heisz version…

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com Then we tested the Wandel version…

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com And our favorite is… the Wandel push stick! We ultimately chose it because we felt less scared using it, which is a totally personal perception. But you could push the board farther without having to get close to the blade at all, which was nice, and having that secondary stick to help guide the wood made us feel a little bit more in control.

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com With the Heisz version, we had to reach our arms over the blade to push the wood all the way through, which we weren’t crazy about. Although we DID like how much more surface area of the push stick was in contact with the wood using the Heisz push stick.

 Wandel vs Heisz push stick comparison - evanandkatelyn.com In the end… I think we’re actually going to try and make our own, using what we liked from each design. Stay tuned for a video and post covering that soon!

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