HomePlanning

How do you prepare for a successful build?

Woodworking with a physical disability Messages in this topic - RSS

Lee Caron
Lee Caron
Posts: 1


5/3/2019
Lee Caron
Lee Caron
Posts: 1
Hi everyone. I'm new to the forum, though I've been a happy Buildsomething member for a few years now. I'm hoping my request/enquiry gains some traction, because it's a very high impact issue. I'm talking about woodworking for people with physical limitations/"disabilities". I won't try arguing in favor because the reasons are self-evident and shouldn't need to be justified.

A quick background on my interest in the subject. I'm a middle age nurse. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which necessitated going on disability. I was still able to do a lot of stuff, and I had a sudden glut of time on my hands. I'd worked since I was 14, and all the empty time drove me nuts. I had no reason to get out of bed in the morning. Then I discovered two things that would give my life some purpose: light landscaping/gardening and woodworking. The gardening keeps me occupied from May through Halloween, and woodworking the rest of the time and as needed during the summer.

I've been slowly losing function thanks to the MS. It affects my balance (Yikes! in a woodworking shop setting), fine motor skills, coordination, and loss of strength in general. For the first couple of years, the loss of functions were gradual enough that I could make adaptations unconsciously. This past winter I had a major relapse which left me with permanent loss of function in my right foot and significant weakness in my upper leg. Unfortunately, the relapse came in conjunction with an unrelated surgery for a rotator cuff tear. That left me with a double whammy, an arm I couldn't use, and a leg that didn't want to work. Toss on the arthritis and vision changes that come with middle age and I'm facing the need to adapt to a slew of disabilities large and small.

I am not the only one. I know a good many of the community's members are dealing with the same issues. I would love to hear what others have done to adapt to the challenges physical disabilities, large and small. An example of "small"? Using a drill to sharpen a pencil, or using reading glasses for detail work. An example of "large"? Building a portable table saw stand at the correct height, or (major) build a ramp for wheelchair access. Is there anything you've developed over the years to make it easier for you to work around your "can't do" list?

I think this is an important subject. I would love to see if anyone has any adaptations I can use in my struggle to keep building. It doesn't matter what the disability is: limb amputations,diabetes, vision impairment, cardiac, respiratory, etc etc. The adaptation is the point, not so much the disability itself. I think this would be a great way for us to share our strength and help fellow woodworking devotees otherwise facing the need to give up their beloved hobby.
link
Shari Ford
Shari Ford
Posts: 1


8/29/2019
Shari Ford
Shari Ford
Posts: 1
While it hasn't affected me to the point of threatening my ability to accomplish most tasks, I have had to adapt to changes in my health in the realm of wood working and crafting. I have Crohn's disease and as a result I have an ostomy, so I have a tool belt I've modified to not only divert tools away from my bag, but also stabilizes the base of my bag so it can't accidentally be tugged away. This tool belt has also been used (both while woodworking and not) to hold the pump for temporary feeding tubes on two occasions.
I also have signs everywhere around my workstation reminding me to eat and stay hydrated. I have a small, fold up step stool I keep close by at all times so I can sit and rest whenever necessary.
link