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  • Scrolling with arthritis?

    I'm asking this for my 81 y.o. dad who suffers from some arthritis in his fingers and hands. Sometimes he has some trouble changing the blade on our DW788 - especially when it's cold in the shop. He also has intermittent problems with the blade slipping out while he's working. I sanded some burrs off the blade holders this weekend, but I think that most of my dad's difficulties are related to his arthritis. He has complained for years of reduced strength in his hands - I think he isn't able to tighten the blade holder enough sometimes. His old saw uses pinned blades, so this was never a problem before, I suppose.

    Do any of you folks have arthritis in the hands? Any tips I can pass on to my dad? I suggested that he wear fingerless gloves to keep his hands warm while working.
    Inside every piece of lumber, there is a pile of sawdust waiting to be uncovered

    -Andy-

  • #2
    My other half has mild arthritis in his hands and ankles; it can be so debilitating. Strangely, it's improved dramatically since he took up dancing! Perhaps there's something to be said for exercise after all.

    Something else he's found that helps dramatically is a herb called Devil's Claw. You can get an extract of this herb in capsule form at most health shops and it's a superb anti-inflammatory agent. In fact scientists have tested it and found it to be one of ten so-called 'super-herbs' that are proven to have health benefits.

    On a less medical note, a pair of pliers can be very helpful when tightening knobs and holding fiddly pieces. He might also find a little jig like the one in the attachment is useful for holding blades and fine pieces. I made it out of document slide grips (I think that's what they're called) to hold small items when they're being painted because I'm getting fed up of painting my finger tips . However, I can see that it might have other uses for someone who has limited dexterity.

    Gill
    Attached Files
    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

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    • #3
      I have arthritis in my left hand, it has slowed down the amount of cutting I do. I don't go out to the shop when it is cold. It doesn't seem to bother me changing blades, just not as fast as I used to be.
      I go to the fitness center 5 days a week, I have started doing more weight training and it is helping.
      I haven't played golf in 3 years and I may be able to play some this summer.

      Bob
      Delta P-20 & Q-3

      I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!

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      • #4
        Does carpal tunnel count? I have noticed that my carpal tunnel flares up really bad if I scroll too long. To reduce the effect, I have raised my stool higher so my elbows aren't as bent. It makes it a little harder to see the pattern then, but at least I'm not in pain.
        Mia

        We are the music makers.
        We are the dreamers of dreams.


        Easy scrollin' with a DW788

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        • #5
          Great jig you made Gill.

          Another item that may help is a clothes peg to slip over the wingnut.
          It will allow you to tighten the clamp without over tightening it.

          I bet Sharon could help out on this thread.
          CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
          "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
          Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

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          • #6
            Dealing with arthritis and degenerative joint desease since I was in my late teens has prompted me to 'modify' almost every tool in my shop and how I use them. Worst thing ever happened was when they pulled Vioxx and Bextra from the market since they were the only half effective drugs so far. Right now my best friends are heat and ice and a double does of Naproxen on very bad days. About every six months or so there a very good friend of mine (my pain management doc) who has these l-o-n-g needles with bug juice in that help the spine for a while too.

            Anyway....

            I always wear a pair of mechnics (winter style) gloves with the grip style fingers when working in the shop. It does help to contain some of the warmth in the joints as well as give that little extra grip we all loose after a while. Having an older less expensive saw that deosn't have tool-less blade attachment actually helps because the tool to tighten the blades has a long arm to add to the torque when I tighten. I always have a small adjustable wrench close by to aid in the tightening on very bad days. You may want to look into an adapter to go back to pinned blades if it's available for his particular saw and will make blade changing easier. If possible and there's a spare room like a sunroom or bedroom with heat to allow use of the saw in more comfortable quarters, by all means bring it in from the shop. A little sawdust never hurt anybody! And they make vacuums for that anyway.Those cold pieces of metal we rest our hands on while sawing doesn't help either.

            I'll be 60 in a couple days and swear the discomfort will never stop me from making sawdust. It may slow me down and take a little longer for the projects but without my shop I'd be lost and a real bear to live with. Do what ever you can to help him keep enjoying the hobby. I really admire the fact that at his age he's still making dust and not becoming dust. I only hope when I reach his age (and I plan to just to bug the daylights out of my kids) I'll be out in my shop too.
            Pop
            Delta 16" 40-530
            Ryobi 16" VS

            "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember it was amateurs that built the ARK but Professionals that built the Titanic!"

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            • #7
              Any tighten tool will, of course, depend upon the saw. My Craftsman, for example, uses an elongated knurl-knob to tighten the blade holder. The bottom left motor access plate can be permanently removed if desired. A potential T-handle tool to help tighten blades for my saw might look like this.
              Attached Files
              Mike

              Craftsman 16" VS, Puros Indios and Sam Adams!
              Scrollin' since Jun/2006

              My Gallery

              http://scrollcrafters.com (reciprocal links welcomed)

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              • #8
                I have'nt been able to do any kind of work in the shop for weeks now due to cervical spondylosis in the top of my spine. Winter is always a bad time for me anyway but this year things are really bad,even 20mins at the saw will leave me in agony for at least one day /usually more. I take 4 different painkillers every day and use heat treatment as well. I've been suffering with this since i was 16 yrs old but the last 3 years have seen a rapid increase in pain.My doctor has just had the x-ray results back and his reply to my question of what can be done was "nothing".This has really knocked me for six as i thought that surgery might help but alas it's not to be, so for the rest of my life i've got to try and live with it, which for me at my age is very depressing especially when i've got all these plans and ideas to make things for my family. Guess i'll just have to keep looking at all of you wonderful artists turning out great work and hopefully i may feel a bit better when the weather warms up and try to do some cutting myself. I think i need a lie down now after this i've never typed this much in one go before.
                kevin/pitbull.

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                • #9
                  Sorry to hear about the health problems. Sounds like you've had rough time for quite awhile. I don't know how difficult working with your hands is for you. But, if you are able, perhaps you could try scrolling with a coping saw. That wouldn't raise much dust so you could saw in the house where its warmer. You could then take breaks more often to minimize the strain.

                  I know that sounds so easy and it might not be. Just trying to be positive.
                  Mike

                  Craftsman 16" VS, Puros Indios and Sam Adams!
                  Scrollin' since Jun/2006

                  My Gallery

                  http://scrollcrafters.com (reciprocal links welcomed)

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Mike, i had thought about that but it's not really the warmth problem as my shop gets very warm, anyway i just got some good news when i went for my first physiotherapy appointment, apparently i have also got a trapped arterial nerve which should get sorted within the next week or two. the trapped nerve coupled with the spondylosis is why i've been in so much pain, normally the spondylosis pain i can and have lived with so fingers crossed i should be back to scrolling and general woodworking very soon, then it's just a case of taking it slow and easy and not push myself too far.So things are looking good hooray!
                    kevin/pitbull.

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                    • #11
                      I've got Carpal Tunnel in both hands and like Pop, I've found that Naproxen is a big help. If my fingers are tingling too bad to hold the blades, it's time to go over to the lathe.
                      I read somewhere that B-6 can help, so I bought a bottle, but I keep forgetting to take it, so I don't know if it works.
                      Fred


                      There's a fine line between woodworking and insanity, I'm just not sure which side of the line I'm on!

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                      • #12
                        Glad things are looking up...
                        Mike

                        Craftsman 16" VS, Puros Indios and Sam Adams!
                        Scrollin' since Jun/2006

                        My Gallery

                        http://scrollcrafters.com (reciprocal links welcomed)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          for carpel tunnel, have you tried wearing the gloves sewers wear? There are no fingers, but fit tightly around the palm part of the hand and wrist. As for arthritis, my beautiful daughter of 25 has a disease called ankeling spondilitis (I'm sure I butchered that spelling!) which in a nut shell is her bones fuse together. Her neck has stared to fuse and she has alot of pain in her hips. The only medication she can take she is allergic to and can't take anyway since she is pregnant so she SWIMS!! She goes to a pool regularly, and she has an instructor who gives her water exercises that work all her joints and keeps them flexible. She has been swimming and exercising 6 times a week for the past 2 years and if she misses a few days, can really feel the difference. I wouldn't try any exercise without the approval of a doctor, but it's worth a try. Just a thought.

                          Betty
                          Betty

                          "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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                          • #14
                            LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

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                            • #15
                              I don't know any chinese men that intimately
                              kevin/pitbull.

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