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Considerations for the Disabled Woodworker

1971 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  dbray45
I'm sure I'm not the only Woodworker that has disabilities. Safety, comfort, accessibility and other challenges should be considered. So I thought I'd start a topic that allows everyone to share their experience, suggestions and questions.
Every handicap has it's own unique challenges.
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I have liver cancer, but my biggest disability in the shop is simply being able to stand for very long. I went to Tractor Supply and bought a 3/4" mat used in horse stalls. I can cut whatever size I need for each spot in the shop. Boy does it help my legs and arthritic ankles!

Here is one called the Comfort-Eze-Mat. It's a little too pricey for me so I went with what's good enough for my horse is good enough for me.
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Thanks to Vietnam and Agent Orange, I also have macular degeneration of my eyes. It's not bad yet, but in time it will worsen so I need some type of Bright Flexible Lighting that I can move near a project to see better and keep my fingers in tact. Any ideas?

I believe this is a worthwhile Forum Topic and I hope you do too!
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I use headlamp when working and am so used to it that it is hard to go without. Light is always just where I am looking:)
I painted my entire shop including the ceiling bright gloss white which helped the lighting a lot. I also covered my workbench with white formica. This helped not only the lighting issue but glue doesn't stick to it and I can write notes/measurements on it.
LOL, I just put a dark stain and sealer on my bench! I'll have to look for some white formica. What thickness did you use?
I have a special chair in my shop, we call it a "trippelstoel" (see photo) but I don't know how it calls in English.
It's a great sitting chair witch ride on wheels and can electric High and Law and it can twist and has a lot off adjust possibilities. My chair is with one legrest
For me the high and low is great and it's safer to work when you can adjust your hide.
Only the terrible pain keeps me from woodworking and there is no solution for.


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For those who need some extra cushion under their feet I bought rubber foam tiles for the basement laundry room when I was finishing the area, my father talked me out of carpet due to not only the expense, but also the guaranteed loss if any water accumulated. I think these would work great in a shop too verses the expense of some fatigue mats I've seen. I bought mine from and they were on sale for less than $1 per square foot.


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Two items help me: (1) a Dust Bee Gone mask to prevent breathing saw dust (my review: ); and, (2) cushioned shoes (wear trail running shoes with additional inserts to cushion) in addition to floor mats (which I've used for over 20-years).
One of the problems that you encounter - is the height of the stationary tools - tablesaws, bandsaws, etc… To deal with these, a raised floor may be in order, that you can use a chair safely. For this environment, you would not want a soft cushion on the floor but a hard or plywood floor.

I made a table for my daughter that is her height (in a chair) and it has worked out well. She uses it for cooking and has a cutting board that is now safe for her to use.

Just a thought
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