adaptive device for a student with one arm

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Forum topic by EddieNic posted 11-15-2018 10:17 AM 1165 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 606 days

11-15-2018 10:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have a student in my high school wood shop that only has one arm. He really wants to use the lathe to turn small projects, for example pens, segmented bowls, but he has trouble using the chisels with just one hand. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for building a jig to hold the chisel in place while he worked. We do not have access to a metal lathe, we only have a couple of small lathes and one large Powermatic. He is a smart kid with lots of ambition and I don’t want him to miss out on a learning experience.
Thank you,

7 replies so far

View TravisH's profile


717 posts in 2713 days

#1 posted 11-15-2018 12:26 PM

I would look at contacting a dedicated turning organization, local turning groups, and perhaps a disability organization.

A jig likely could help stabilize the tool. I would assume side to side stability is the issue. Maybe finding something that would allow some resistance in that horizontal plane but is not fixed. A bungee or similar around the shaft of the tool near the handle and then have it hook onto a fixed place on the stand to pull the tool down on the rest. May allow him to concentrate then on side to side movement. I would try a few variations yourself in the shop to see if you find it safe and a benefit or not. Cords however would make me nervous about getting caught and wrapped onto the piece. Personally wouldn’t go that route and would look more into just figuring it out one armed.

He will be best be served just practicing a lot and maybe make a fake set up that mimics the motion and just learn one armed. Ideally if resistance can be added so he strengthens those muscle used in the side motion it would help him keep things in control. Maybe contact a physical therapist and see if they could come up with some ideas that might help train muscle.

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2079 days

#2 posted 11-15-2018 01:56 PM

Only a possibility but may work one handed for light work as you described. Not sure about segmented bowls and the like but pens, bottle stoppers, etc may be very doable.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Planeman40's profile


1499 posts in 3539 days

#3 posted 11-15-2018 04:06 PM

You say “one arm”. Does he have a partial arm, say a stump of a forearm? If so, a cuff over the stump end with an extension and a clamp to old the tool might work.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View pottz's profile


9914 posts in 1762 days

#4 posted 11-16-2018 12:44 AM

Only a possibility but may work one handed for light work as you described. Not sure about segmented bowls and the like but pens, bottle stoppers, etc may be very doable.

- LeeMills

+1 i like this idea,looks like it would give good control,at least on small turnings.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View telrite's profile


92 posts in 3073 days

#5 posted 11-16-2018 01:05 AM

If you think this would work and are in Canada I have a setup like the Sorby hollowing tool that I would be more than willing to donate. It is a Don Pencil. I think you would also need some sort of captive for it,330,49232&p=49126

View Ocelot's profile


2541 posts in 3416 days

#6 posted 11-16-2018 06:59 AM

Call Keith Watson at Foreaux Prosthetics I go to church with him. Those guys do awesome work

View runswithscissors's profile


3099 posts in 2803 days

#7 posted 11-17-2018 03:49 AM

Good on you for going out of your way to help this kid!!!

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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