After what seemed like an eternity, I was finally allowed to go back into the shop this week. It was like meeting an old friend you hadn’t seen in a long time. “Will he still like me? Will I still like him? and the biggest…Can I still do it, within my limits???” I broke out into a sweat as soon as I walked in the shop….not from the heat but from the nervous anticipation. Not six weeks ago, I basicly had to have my left shoulder rebuilt….I was just short of having to have an artifical inplant. They had to take the torn glenoid labum that had slipped into the joint and pull it back up and peg it to the shoulder blade (nylon nails, go figure.) then they planed the bones back where they had grown into area where the cartilige had slipped away from and they had to repair all but one of the tendons as they were all streched and freyed and finaly they removed the bursa sack, which was inflamed and way to large for the joint now. On top of that, there was damage to the cartlige on the end of my arm bone from the abnomal wear of the damaged joint. All in all they came to the conclusion that it will be about a year before I’m back to normal, and it will never really be 100% but at least its still all me.
I started making my father-in-law a new Dough board (basicly an oversized bench hook for bread dough.) I am making it out of some maple I have on hand, not the best stuff in the world but it will work. I headed over to the wood rack, nervous, I didn’t know if I would even be able to pull down the boards that I needed off the rack. I managed, just kept my left hand down and did most of the hard work with my right. I pulled down three boards, picked the two I needed and put the other back. Now to the Radial Arm Saw. Just my luck my son happened to wander back home. I had him help hold the long end of the board as I made the cuts. (note to self, next time tell him exactly what you want him to do, don’t expect him to know it already.) On the second cut, he pulled on the board and bound up the saw, came close to jumping across but managed to hit the off switch. After I explaned what had happened and what he needed to do the next time we finished the rough cuts.
I looked a little closer at the boards, they are kind of rough but the grain makes a couple of wild turns. I wasn’t looking forward to having to lift up the plainer and set it up but it looks like it I need to try it. It wasn’t too bad, use the legs and the back (I know, not smart) managed to get it set up and ran the boards through once. Not what I was hoping for, looks like I will have to scrape them down later, the grain is a bit too wild.
I get everything the same thickness and start working on the glue joints. Again, lets try something new. I reach for my hand plane. I set up the clamps and set the boards up on edge and try the first joint. This doesn’t’ work too well. I need more control with my left hand in order to keep the plane square to the board. Oh well, at least I try. I take them over to the table saw with the glue line blade. I get everything ripped down and then mark where I want the biscuts (I use them just to help keep things alinged.)
I hit my first big ouch, without thinking, I stack up the three boards (7 ½ x 36) and instictively pick them up with my left arm as I am turning to the assembly table. Got a big protest from the shoulder that time and almost dropped them. I quickly recovered and gathered everything up and got it over to the table. I chose to use poly glue for the joints, since I am out of my tightbond III. (Its on the shopping list.)
Once at the assembly table I hook up the shopvac to the biscut jointer and cut the slots. That went pretty well, no problems, no mistakes. I set up the clamps and got down my glue tote (another ouch, again tried do this with my left hand.) The rest of the glue up went smoothly. All told, I spent about 2 hours in the shop, worked off a little restlessness, reaffirmed my love for woodworking and gained a little confidence that I will get through this eventually.
-- Greg - Charles Town, WV