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One of my woodworking rules is start with 10 fingers and quit with 10. So I'm big on push blocks. They protect you from putting your pinkies somewhere you shouldn't. Sometimes you need a flat push block that can be plunked down in the middle of a board for downward pressure, for instance, when you're cutting dadoes. Sometimes you want a push block with a foot on the back that will capture the end of the material, like when you're face-jointing. Now you can get both uses out of one tool with the Joy Block from Woodworker's Supply, $13. The foot in the Joy Block pad is spring loaded. When the block is used in the middle of a board, downward pressure on the handle compresses the spring so the foot recesses into the pad. When pressure is released the foot springs out, where it can engage the edge of a board. Four thumb supports are molded into the handle, so no matter how you're holding the block, there's a place to rest your thumb, providing greater control of the material.

Woodworker's Supply, (800) 645-9292,, Joy Block, $13.

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