There are some really awesome router bits you can use on a router table. Panel raising bits. Cope and stick bits. Lock miter bits.
While these are pretty awesome, some require a risky kind of maneuver in order to use them correctly. Those are the bits that involve pushing the workpiece on edge across the bit. Vertical panel raisers and lock miter bits come to mind as two types requiring this move.
While some woodworkers may feel comfortable pushing the wood past the bit in this manner, it has always scared me senseless. I have to coordinate holding the board down to the table and tight to the fence without having it wobble, which would ruin the cut. Then, how do you prevent massive tear out?
After trying to push a board past a bit like this, I had to make things easier on myself. I spoke briefly with Jim Heavey at Wood Magazine and, with a little inspiration, came up with this design.
VERY easy to build. The upright is two pieces of 3/4″ scrap plywood. One is 8″ tall by 8″ wide, the other one is 8 3/4″ tall by 8″ wide. When glued and screwed together, I created a rabbet for a piece of 8″ long by 5″ wide that rides flat along the table. I put a gusset to hold the assembly at 90 degrees and to serve as a handle.
The trailing edge is a piece of maple that was planed down to 1/4″ for another project. That was screwed to the back edge of the assembly with a 1/4″ overhang to serve as a push cleat. Don’t use glue here… just in case the cleat gets chewed up and needs to be replaced.
I used it by placing my board against the router fence and sliding the push shoe until is captured the board against the fence. Now, instead of concentrating on three things at once, all I had to do was push the piece through the router bit. No panic, no fear and because the cleat was supporting the back edge of the piece… no tear out. Very easy stuff.
By ensuring the cleat was as tall as the top of the push shoe, I could also use it as a horizontal push shoe for the mating piece as well.
Believe me.. anything that makes your work safer and more accurate is something worth looking into. And, when it is that easy to build… all the better!