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Forum topic by ajshobby posted 09-16-2016 01:50 AM 1201 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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103 posts in 3528 days

09-16-2016 01:50 AM

While serving in the navy i messed up my back. Since then ive torn a hamstring both my rotator cuffs and messed up my back further. One thing ive noticed is if i put in too long of sessions in the wood shop i can really agravate my old injuries. Some of the things ive found that help is a comfy chair to take frequent breaks in. I have to wear good boots while in the shop due to the concrete floor as the padding squares just dont cut it. Ive had to raise all my benches, router table, table saw and other equipment so i dont have to stoop as much. Im sure many others have some great tips to help us make our shops a less painful place to be and id love to hear them.

AJ Minnapolis MN

17 replies so far

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 2673 days

#1 posted 09-16-2016 02:33 AM

I’m disabled and can’t walk much. My shop is tiny and most everything is within reach.


-- Madmark - [email protected]

View Robert's profile


4716 posts in 2700 days

#2 posted 09-16-2016 11:40 AM

Anti fatigue matts are also helpful for me. I buy the interlocking type from Sams.

Knowing when to quit is the biggest factor for me.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View bigblockyeti's profile


7566 posts in 2940 days

#3 posted 09-16-2016 11:47 AM

You’ve got the boots thing covered pretty well it sounds like, footwear IMHO is one of the most important factors in keeping yourself comfortable. Anti-fatigue mats are great too, but boots or shoes are always exactly where they’re needed and while they can be expensive, it’s nothing compared to surgery or further crippling yourself taking away pleasure from all of life’s activities.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Clarkie's profile


514 posts in 3061 days

#4 posted 09-16-2016 12:52 PM

Hello AJ, I raised my bench a few years back, found it much more enjoyable to work at

a comfortable height. My shoulders stopped hurting after I changed the heights on the jointer and bandsaw and the bench. Doc told me the pain was radiating down into my wrists from straining at the bench etc. When you work, you don’t realize how much you look down and work in that position. I have both the interlocking and the thick rubber mats and they work for me. As far as shoes or boots go, I would sure like to find a comfortable pair. I have bought just about every pair out there and the same result, not very helpful. Have fun, make some dust.

View ajshobby's profile


103 posts in 3528 days

#5 posted 09-16-2016 02:35 PM

Ive found that the made in america Keen’s have been the ticket for me. Have both the steel toe and the hicking models of these boots and the support on concrete has been fantastic. At roughly 200 usd they are not the cheepest but were worth it for me. If i wasnt building a new shop next summer i would put hardwood down on my floor to see if that would also help improve my comfort level.

View Redoak49's profile


5368 posts in 3208 days

#6 posted 09-16-2016 02:42 PM

For me, wearing the right shoes helps but…..

My back is held together with screws and links, my hip is cobalt and other issues. I have found that having all the tools and work surfaces the right height for me is critical. I can not be handling heavy pieces very much. I also have an adjustable stool with back support and a work table with a foot rest underneath.

There are just some projects with a high cost to my body and others with low cost. I have to pick the my projects with a thought about my back.

View Clarkie's profile


514 posts in 3061 days

#7 posted 09-16-2016 03:00 PM

Hello Redoak, could you post a picture of the footrest on your bench, sounds like something that could be useful.

View ajshobby's profile


103 posts in 3528 days

#8 posted 09-16-2016 03:57 PM

Id be currious on the adjustable stool also.

View Redoak49's profile


5368 posts in 3208 days

#9 posted 09-16-2016 07:39 PM

The adjustable stool is a Craftsman that is several years old now. It swivels, adjusts up and down and the back is adjustable. The best foot rest that I have found is the upside down cat litter plastic bucket. I have tried several other foot rests but this works best for me. The small work table was made to attach to a workbench and cantilever over the edge. It is also built as a small downdraft sanding table. In addition, I have another bench which is just a sheet of 3/4” plywood on some plastic sawhorses which are height adjustable. I also us a cat litter bucket for a foot rest with it.

View HokieKen's profile


19178 posts in 2358 days

#10 posted 09-16-2016 07:57 PM

I have the same stool as Redoak. One of the keys to me for long sessions without killing my back is to have 2 stools. I have the one like Redoak shows that I sit in when I’m doing something on my bench that doesn’t require standing. I also have a mechanics stool (short with no backrest) that I sit on when the tall stool starts hurting my back. Between standing and sitting on the 2 stools, I try to keep changing position enough to prevent any soreness.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View ajshobby's profile


103 posts in 3528 days

#11 posted 09-16-2016 08:07 PM

That craftsman stool sure looks like a helpful seat. I also like the kitty litter foot rest. I just got done today moving alot of my commonly used small tools (drills and whatnot) down from high shelving in an effort to to keep from reach over my shoulders too often. Think im going to try a floating floor in my shop. Wife talked me into it. She said whats the point of going to my cave if im not comfortable.

View hotbyte's profile


1089 posts in 4195 days

#12 posted 09-16-2016 10:38 PM

Kitty litter bucket is my stool! I really need to upgrade :-)

View Kirk650's profile


741 posts in 1968 days

#13 posted 09-16-2016 11:15 PM

I have, happily, a full bedroom and full bath attached to my workshop. I’ll go in there every now and then and flop down on the couch, put my feet up on the ottoman and read or watch tv for a while. Or nap. That said, a full day in the shop will wear me down. Right now I ache all over, but have a big cold Bloody Mary.

We are, as a group, very lucky to have our woodworking hobby to enjoy.

View jobewan's profile


34 posts in 2197 days

#14 posted 09-17-2016 12:23 AM

Being a really large guy AND an ex jock I have my share of pain and issues with tool/bench height. I am 6’ 10” tall, so tool height is something I take seriously. I have my bench up on a platform I built out of 2x dimensional lumber that adds a lot of mass to the bench. It raises it up about 8 inches. I have a mechanics cart that I use in the shop to sit at when I can and take frequent breaks. THe floor is really hard on my legs and back as well – its a concrete slab floor. I have the cushions at my oft used tools and my bench, but I don’t think they do all that much. I do invest a lot in good shoes, but finding them in size 16 is a bit of a challenge. You don’t get a lot of selection in that rarified air. :-)

I am seriously considering a Moxon vise to put work at an even higher level on my bench. I do ache if I am cutting dovetails or planning at bench height for any extended length of time.

Good luck – I really hope you find ways to enjoy our wonderful hobby as long as you can. I know I plan on it.


-- Measure Twice, Cut Once - throw it in the woodpile, start over...

View Forseeme's profile


36 posts in 2162 days

#15 posted 09-17-2016 01:04 AM

I use the same strategy as HokieKen – stand, sit, sit “different”, repeat. I have a high stool (from a chem lab), folding chair, and I stand a lot. I took an existing bench and put 2 sets of 4×4’s under the base – helped me a lot.
Folding chair is more for taking a break and working on things close to the floor.

Shoes are key (especially on concrete floor). Thorogood makes a comfortable boot, but not as durable as they used to be. When it comes time to replace them, I’m planning on trying Keen. They are super pricey (and I’m very cheap), but it seems the more years you put on your feet, the better you have to treat them.

Another tip: Ice. Some people get better with heat, but I do better with ice. If I spent a good portion of the day standing in the shop (standing beats me up much more than walking), after dinner I go with a hot shower (which gives short term pain relief) and then I ice my lower back for 20 minutes. No ice, and I suffer the next morning. I had always been told “use a heating pad”, but a heating pad leaves me in extreme pain in the morning. HMMV

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