I think I'll amend "suggest" to "beg". Please take a look here:
You are correct, of course. An unaltered puddle pusher only pushes the emulsion around. You need a gap between the paper and the coater. Wrapping tape around a glass rod creates a coating gap.
There are a number of reasons this works better than a wire-wrapped metal bar. Silver emulsion will eventually corrode even stainless steel. Glass is corrosion-proof. It's dimensionally stable. Puddle pushers are cheaper. They are far more adaptable to experimentation and different emulsions because you easily set a custom gap height with tape.
I don't even know how many acres of paper and film I have successfully coated, but it's a lot. I'm into my third pound of silver nitrate. I'm giving you good advice.