Modifying the tools and shop for the wheelchair woodworker....2

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Blog entry by lilredweldingrod posted 05-29-2011 05:33 AM 4570 reads 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The plan is working so far.

The bandsaw only needs to be moved to the right about 15 inches and the shaper/router pulls to the left about 2 feet. The saw rolls right up to the bench and I have plenty of room to cut short boards with the door closed.

Now I can work in the shop on smaller projects such as cutting boards and boxes in comfort away from the wind. The reason the door is open a little is that there was laundry being done and we use the gray water for irrigation and the hose has to go under the door.

There is enough room to easily get between the jointer and the shaper. If there is a need for more room, the jointer is much lighter than the other tools and can be moved outside or any where inside if there is rain.

And no heavy equipment in front of the lumber rack. Now I can’t wait to dig out some cutting board stock.

The suction hose from the vac to the Dust Deputy was always a problem. It was always getting hung up on the drill press because I ran it around behind the drawers for the workbench. Now with the help of this old brass plumb-bob that I have had for years, I’m talking 5 lbs of brass, it now keeps the hose up out of the way and it easily swings around the DP when I need the full length of hoses.
And an added benefit for every thing being away from in front of the clamp and lumber racks is I can now get to either of them with ease.

And after seeing this in one of the woodworking mags, I have been wanting to try this on the new cast iron table top.This would not work on the old saw top because the stamped wings were not flat.

But now I can use my Wixey to square up the miter. I double checked it with the new Starrett combination just to be sure. AH! Sweet success. Hey patron, no more cheapy HF squares. lol That was a lesson I will never forget. Let me just say that David has a very nice way of calling crap tools CRAP. lol

Well I will try this setup for a while and when I find a better system, I will add to this series on the shop for a wheelchair operation. And as always, if you see an improvement, by all means comment on it. I love your input, both pros and cons. Best wishes, Rand

27 comments so far

View patron's profile


13611 posts in 3397 days

#1 posted 05-29-2011 05:44 AM

never done the wixey thing that way

i always just run the miter upside down
(in the miter slot)
to the fence bar
and tighten
assuming the blade and the slot are square
seems to work fine for me

try both and see how it works

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

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10156 posts in 4108 days

#2 posted 05-29-2011 06:00 AM

WOW, Rand… You’ve really got that place laid out good now!

That is so COOL!

Sure wish I could get my place cleaned up & organized like that!

You sure don’t let any grass grow under your feet!

Good job!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4247 posts in 2617 days

#3 posted 05-29-2011 06:41 AM

I can not wait until I have a working shop like yours, however, I think I would like a vertical storage for my lumber, because I can not pick it all up and check it out. The other way I can tag the lumber for type and size, but have a small lumber rack like yours for small stuff.
Rand Thank you so much for getting help for me, I no longer cry in fustration for a shop that does not work. You have given me hope with Patron to help me. I know I do not have enough money now to keep him here to get everything done. Is there anyone that could help us raise money to help Patron come here and work. If they only knew that $20 dollers would even help or $50 dollers. That way When I get my back pay from the VA I could contribute to have him help others.
You are a swell guy. I really really wish I could see you.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3162 days

#4 posted 05-29-2011 07:57 AM

Arlin, there is alot of behind the scenes activity going on, so bear with us as we get things together. Only my health issues keep me from being there, believe me. When you do get this off the ground, be sure to keep my phone number and I will be glad to help with advise where I can.
With all your new equipment, you will have a fantastic shop well worth the wait. If there is something that is done in the shop, ie: lumber storage that does not work for you personally, be sure you have it changed while you have the help to get it done. Remember that you are the one that has to live with the arrangement. A lot of it you can change by your self, but when it comes to the heavy things you will need help rearranging that. But make the shop comfortable for you. Keep your safety priority number 1.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit, we will go to the shop and have a blast. oops bad choice of word. lol

PS…Your lumber does not have to be 8 or 10 foot pieces if that is to hard on your back. You can cut the boards down to 3,4,5, foot. Since you are planing on making boxes, the longer things are not necessary. Now later when you decide to add cabinets, then that will be another story and maybe while you are getting the shop together you will find some great nearby friends to assist with the sheet goods.

Good luck and best wishes to you and the family. Rand

View patron's profile


13611 posts in 3397 days

#5 posted 05-29-2011 08:44 AM

for anyone wondering what arlin is referring to
please read this intro of his first

this vision God gave to him is the inspiration to get the help needed
rand is and has done as much as he is able at this time
we have been in constant comunication
to find a way to help arlin get his tools shortened and working for him
but more than that to help set up a safe and functional shop
that he can use and the knowledge to do so

as i live alone and am somewhat close (?)
and have the knowledge to help
and the experience to modify and check each tool for alignment and safety
and the ability to show him all the functions and uses of these tools
it is a great honor for me to think i could be of help
arlin and i have talked on the phone and in PM’s
neither of us have the funds to do this on our own
i have one need

gas money – ‘don’t leave home without it’

there is no charge for the services – this is not a ‘job’
i intend to come equipped with all the tools i may need
to set up the shop work areas lumber storage and shelving etc.

the door is open
any one that may like to help is free to do so
it’s a way to be a part of something we all dream off
a better and kinder world with those around us
helping caring and sharing of our gifts and blessings

now it is memorial day
we together can be part of the sacrifices made for our freedoms
by honoring all those that give of themselves for that freedom

so yes it will take some more than gas
some standard lumber and even just particle board
screws and supplies to make this happen
we aren’t talking ‘plated’ fancy shop
just the basics (i’m thinking french cleats)
so arlin can add and change as his skills and needs grow

so if you can spare some help financially to this please do
all monies to this can be put into his account
just PM with him for details – Arlin Eastman

thank you all
and bless you and yours

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

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2944 days

#6 posted 05-29-2011 11:21 AM

Hi Rand.

If shop room is tight, the best solution I’ve found is the “flippy stand”, a tool stand that pivots vertically so two tools fit in the space of one. The first one I intend will hold my scroll saw on one side and my band saw on the other.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4247 posts in 2617 days

#7 posted 05-29-2011 11:35 AM

I have thought of that also it came with the magizine ShopNotes, however, unless it is really balanced it would take to much effort to flip it over. My arm strength is good, but my back is way out of the question.
Thank you for the Idea thought I really need those kind of ideas.

All the lumber I need is 50” long. To me that is the big stuff, 24” and smaller is the of course Small Stuff. I also just found out that 60” and under is the ideal way to ship wood so I am in good there.
Well it is almost 5am and my back still will not let me sleep even thought I have a hospital bed.
I just thank God for guys like BigTiny coming up with ideas to help. It is alway wanted and needed.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3162 days

#8 posted 05-29-2011 08:00 PM

Good morning Arlin,
I’m sure there are lumber yards in your area. I have found that almost all yards are happy to cut boards to manageable size for us.
I hope you don’t have many of those nights. I have found that they are like grapes. They come in bunches. lol
It makes things rough on family life as it will mess with your body clock. If we aren’t careful we become night owls and lose contact with the family. I have found that I am more successful in getting back to being awake in the day time by pushing things forward instead of trying to force myself to sleep when I really can’t.
When I am hurting to bad to sleep, I get in the chair and play on the computer. Setting up is easier on my back than laying in bed. And the bed sucks the strength right out of me.

Big Tiny,I agree with you on the double flip set up. I have seen the one Arlin is talking about and there have been others on LJ. Very neat idea.

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2944 days

#9 posted 05-30-2011 12:10 AM

I too was concerned about the weight problem, but figure it can be balanced either by adding weight to one side, or by offsetting the pivot to the heavier side. That could be done by using a 4 inch separator between the two bases, then experimenting with the placement of the pivot hole until things balance fairly well. You might have to set the hole right against one of the bases, but I don’t think any more than that would be necessary.

Also, if you chose which tools to put together so they are close to each other in weight and height, like my scroll and band saws, that should help. Putting a tall, heavy tool opposite a short, light one wouldn’t work very well.

Another option I just thought of would be to drill a hole in the front of the bases that would accept a handle that could act as a lever to assist in flipping the tools.

Hope some of this helps.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3054 days

#10 posted 05-30-2011 09:01 AM

Many of the modifications you would make for accessibility are good ideas whether you have any physical limitations or not. Even more so as we get older. I have been reading about these accessibility modifications and wanted to make a few suggestions…

For a table saw, why would you not just get a good quality contractor saw and build a shorter base instead of fighting a cabinet saw? (for others, since you already did the hard work on this one) Setting it for a wide stance would be better also to make it less tippy. You might need to pull yourself up on it and you don’t want it to tip over.

What kind of provisions do you make for getting to the blade for changing?

What modifications do you make for push sticks?

I would have several magnetic pick up tools stuck around on the saw for dropped items. (I already do for myself) A magnetic flashlight stuck on the side of the saw would be handy as well.

I would also suggest a hand mirror be ready for inspecting set ups and looking for missing pieces.

I would fill in the gap on the outfeed side of the table. Too hard to reach dropped pieces. I would also make the gap wide enough so you could fit the chair behind the saw to access belts and such. The wheels on the equipment are great but pushing a 300 lb saw on wheels when you are on wheels is not that easy. You might consider a hanging handle above the table to give a place to hold on for longer reaching. Hold bars under the fence would be good too so you can have some leverage or stabilize yourself while feeding stock.

Put a tray under the wings of the saw for setting things down within reach. Again, supports from the wings to the floor in case you have to lift yourself with the table. I would also make a place to store the tablesaw fence below the table and maybe store a sled below that you could swap.

I like the fire extinguisher down low. I would be happier to see some first aid kits down low as well. I would add a couple things like an air horn or loud whistle as well (make sure you have cell phone available or other emergency communications)

The placement of the bandsaw is problematic. Access to the covers for blade changing is important. I would swap sides with that spindle sander or shaper (or whatever that is) that is on the left. That way you could use the table saw for the outfeed support on both of them.

In an ideal world, a hoist that you could move things around would be a great addition to anyone’s shop. If you are in a wheelchair, multiply that benefit many times over.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2978 days

#11 posted 05-30-2011 10:39 AM

I really admire how you do the things to go together with your situation. My thoughts is different… why not speciallize on something like a hydraulic lift for your chair? This will be on your special time when you adapt others’ normal shop level…. I knew that you also need to lower and come up higher from time to time…. Just a concern suggestion. As of now, I am really happy what you’ve done with your machines…. that will make you safer as you can see more from top.
Be careful. Sorry for the late replies, just came backl from teaching out of town.

-- Bert

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6860 posts in 4035 days

#12 posted 05-30-2011 03:12 PM

Hi Rand;

You sure are geting organized there. It looks like a great space to work in.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3162 days

#13 posted 05-30-2011 08:05 PM

Wow! You have really been in the think tank on this. First, I had an old contractors saw and even though I changed the trunnions, the blade just would not stay in alignment. And having to remove the out feed table and get out of the chair and on the floor to reach the trunnion bolts to realign everything, it was just to much for me. Getting up off the floor is not a task I look forward to.
I made a cabinet for the old contractors saw and that added more weight than you would expect too. With the cabinet saw I get two great benefits over the contractors; more power, and ease of alignment. Only 4 bolts not 6 and they are easily reached from outside the saw and I don’t have to get out of the chair.

The blade is a simple thing for me. Just the same as for anyone. No difficulties at all.

I make my own push sticks. I hate the plastic ones because they always hurt when they touch the blade. Plywood never does this. I do use the plastic ones for templates.

I do have several magnets on a stick, all over the shop. And I have to try the hand mirror idea. I never thought of that. Thanx.

And moving the table saw that weights 594 pounds is a real pain and I do have to have help for this. Most of the time I have the garage door open due to the heat to enjoy the breeze. But there are weeks of strong winds that require the door to be closed and now I take advantage of the ability of being able to move the saw away from the door to play in the shop.

I like your ideas about a place for the fence and miter when they are not in use and I will work on that this summer.

On this saw, all the internal goodies are accessed from the door on the left side, and after talking to several of the LJ’s with cabinets saws I don’t expect to need to change belts etc for several years. Any way I hope not. lol

The safety features you mention, air horn, phone, fire extinguisher etc are absolute requirements in my shop. I have a fully stocked first aid kit in an easily accessed drawer. The grand kids give it a real workout on the band aids.
So far I have no need for it, knock on wood. I have two abc 20 lbers required on a truck for welding in the oil refinery’s, these should be plenty of overkill for this little shop.

I started out with the band saw on the left and found that I was constantly moving it in and out for position to be an outfeed table. Every cut changed the position were it was needed. And to keep it when the wood slicer blade w ould not be damaged was a PITA. So I swapped places with shaper and set the blade out side the range where material would be coming through the saw. I have a sheet of Masonite to fill in the gaps between the saw table and the bench so that I can cut long boards or several small ones, ie; 3/16 stickers for the lumber rack, with out having to move things for playing 52 pick up.
David, I appreciate the thought you have put into this. Many of your ideas are at work in my shop and I know others will take your ideas for their shops too. Thank you for being a part of this thread. Keep them coming.
The hoist in the shop is my invalid son’s Hoyer Lift we use to lift him out of bed to change the sheets. It pulls double duty carrying heavy board to t he saw. It is good up to 250 lbs.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3162 days

#14 posted 05-30-2011 08:14 PM

Hey Bert! Hi guy, Great to hear from you. I have one of those hydraulic chairs, BUT lol the base has this really big foot print and makes it difficult to get close to the equipment. I forget the manufactures name, but it will take anyone from a setting position to a standing position with a pump handle on the right side. But it make you reach extra far from any of its positions. I guess that due to liability problems, it is made this way. It is designed for kitchen use as you must have a recessed kick plate to even get a drink of water. lol It is very uncomfortable to try to work from. It is for sale, make offer. It cost $4000 new and is in new condition.

Lee, Thank you I appreciate you looking at my play area. Give our best to the family.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4247 posts in 2617 days

#15 posted 05-31-2011 12:57 AM

I have to agree with you about that chair lift, I have seen it in action and would not want to have it in the garage. Plus, I am just to stubborn to stop wanting to walk. The VA wanted to buy me many types of chairs and scooters, but to me, it is like giving up.
I really understand about being on the floor, did that once and hope never to do that again.

Thank you to all the guys with Ideas, I have most of the safety devices with me that was mentioned except a blow horn. I do have a whistle that is off the limits loud so I can not blow it to hard.

There is one thing I am going to make and that is a stout stick with a large rare earth magnet to pick up metal objects. I am still thinking on a divice on how to pick up things to get things that are to high.


-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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