in a wheelchair now...

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Blog entry by cdaniels posted 04-17-2014 07:11 AM 1571 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi my name is chris and i came across this site in researching woodworking in a wheelchair. Im still active duty air force and i live in japan currently. Ive recently been put in a wheelchair and im 25. from what im told i will be in one for the rest of my life on account of a damaged spinal cord. I put myself thrOugh penn foster college for cabinetry and furniture building. Ive always built custom furNiture and antique restoration as a hobby. Ive always wanted to do it full time and i will be discharged in the next few months because of my wheelchair. I was wondering if anyone has some good ideas on where i can start looking at getting equipment so i can still do what i love but in a wheelchair. Im new to the disability and am learning my life over again. Any tips would be appreciated! Thanks for your time


-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

11 comments so far

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1683 days

#1 posted 04-17-2014 07:26 AM

Hello Chris, do a dedicated search here on the LJ search engine – you will find a lot of dicsussions and also more than one person who deals with exactly what you are dealing with, which is woodworking in a wheelchair. You’ll find a lot of info here and probably quite a few people who can help you out.

Also, don’t let the doctors dictate the rest of your life, you can very well recover and be fully mobile in a few years, the world is full of stories like that, but what they all have in common is a positive outlook, which your woodworking will certainly help you with.

I wish you all the best in your endevours and hopefully you will find what you are looking for, sorry I can’t be of more help to you.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View Dogboy's profile


94 posts in 2665 days

#2 posted 04-17-2014 08:31 AM

Hey man,
Welcome and thanks for your service. I am a nurse who works with spinal cord injuries at mayo clinic, I am also a wood worker with many friends and mentors who have served. Good luck getting set up, if there is anything wood workers can do its to rig things up to work in unexpected ways. I look foreward to seeing what you put together.

-- No mistakes, just kindling

View jfk4032's profile


365 posts in 2579 days

#3 posted 04-17-2014 11:21 AM

Hey Chris,

Thanks for your service and sacrifice first and foremost. With your woodworker history, have you ever worked with scrollsawing? Although not furniture, I fell in love with the details involved and the many disciplines within it that you can explore. There’s fretwork, portraits, boxes, puzzles, intarsia, marquetry, compound cut pieces, segmentation and many other categories. It also would be one of the easiest woodworking skills to achieve and excel quickly to a master level being in a wheelchair.

Best wishes to you and hope your future woodworking projects can bring inspiration to others.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

View Bob Areddy's profile

Bob Areddy

192 posts in 3455 days

#4 posted 04-17-2014 12:22 PM

Chris, just a quick google search came up with this:

Looks like someone in the same boat as you. Good luck, thanks for your service!


“woodworking in a wheelchair”

There are other links that popped up.

-- --Bob

View abie's profile


875 posts in 3823 days

#5 posted 04-17-2014 02:22 PM

You just found the berst site as far as I am concerned.
lots of advice and help here.
Also look up adult education centers for wood shop schools.
or Continuing ed credits. Good luck and THANKS for Your Service.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3417 days

#6 posted 04-17-2014 08:55 PM

View cdaniels's profile


1320 posts in 1554 days

#7 posted 04-19-2014 03:02 AM

Thanks very much for all the comments. I’m definitely going to check out all the tips and I’m excited to get settled in once everything finishes up so I can get to work!

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View cdaniels's profile


1320 posts in 1554 days

#8 posted 04-22-2014 11:09 PM

i have an idea in my head for a table but i wanted to see if you guys thought it was a good idea. basically it’s going to be the traditional woodworkers table with a few adjustments. the legs will be wider so that i can get my wheelchair under it. also instead of having clamps on the side i will either have cranks that don’t hang down or i will put them underneath of the clamps. also in the middle of the table i want to cut a large circle out and put a spindle underneath it so that when i’m working on something and i need to turn it to sand another side or something all i have to do is take the turn brake off and rotate it with ease and that will save scraping and i don’t have the strength to pick much up so that would solve that problem as well. i have the idea in my head but i’m not as good at drafting as i was in high school (time does tend to do that to the brain) but i think it could work. i’m open to any suggestions if anyone has any?

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View cdaniels's profile


1320 posts in 1554 days

#9 posted 04-22-2014 11:42 PM

also hey joel i was looking at your post about scrollsawing. the only thing i’ve ever used one for is when i’ve cut out 3/4” acrulic to etch for led inserts inside of show cabinets and pieces. i always thought it took one heck of an eye to do it well. where would you recommend i start?

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View Disneytodd's profile


31 posts in 1431 days

#10 posted 08-17-2014 04:11 PM

I just joined in hopes to find other woodworkers that use wheelchairs as a extension if their body I have been using a wheelchair for 5 years now I gave a brief description in about me and don’t really like talking to much about my condition to much. I have a rockler bench and find it really nice for me I have not modified the height my seat height is at 19” and the bench is at 30” so it’s a nice fit I just have to cut out half if the tool shelf underneath it so I can roll underneath it. But want to build a moveable drawers for storage on the left side on my list if setting up shop that is never ending. I also am trying to figure out a nice apron to help me carry items as well as keep my chair somewhat clean I’m lucky enough that my upper body so far is strong enough to last be a couple hours in my shop depending on the day so I don’t yet have to ruin my power chair with the dust and don’t know what I will do once I lose more function and have to be in my power chair full time.and make sure to eat lots of green tea kit kats while your still in japan they are very hard to find in the states! Your right that Jesus was a carpenter that’s why I blame my obsession on tools because of my father.i hope to ad some pics of my shop of what I have set up so far in making it accessible for me and the fact that it’s a real small single car garage with a washer and dryer in it.

-- Focus on what you can do not what you can't do!

View patron's profile


13610 posts in 3394 days

#11 posted 08-17-2014 05:06 PM

first off

thank you for your service

‘don’t give up the ship’
(or plane as the case may be
or planer either)

here are some LJ’s that have worked some of this out

check thru their projects and blogs
lots of tips and help

there are others here to
each with some issues they have ‘worked around’

and welcome to LJ’s
just keep asking or looking

lots of talented folks here

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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