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Stiff hands from axe/adze work?

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Forum topic by treesner posted 11-14-2015 07:43 PM 867 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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treesner

167 posts in 431 days


11-14-2015 07:43 PM

Hey guys I was curious if anyone else hands cramp up from a lot of carving with an axe and adze?

I find when in swinging for awhile and let go of the axe my hand doesn’t want to move out of the handle grip and is sore to stretch out. I was wondering what the cause of this was


22 replies so far

View TraylorPark's profile

TraylorPark

151 posts in 1065 days


#1 posted 11-14-2015 07:59 PM

I don’t know what the cause is, but I suffer from the same thing. It’s slightly concerning since I don’t consider myself old at all, only 34, and it’s been going on for some time now. I’ll be interested to see what others think.

-- --Zach

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treesner

167 posts in 431 days


#2 posted 11-14-2015 08:07 PM



I don t know what the cause is, but I suffer from the same thing. It s slightly concerning since I don t consider myself old at all, only 34, and it s been going on for some time now. I ll be interested to see what others think.

- TraylorPark

Indeed in only 26 so maybe it’s a technique thing. Been thinking mybe it’s from griping the handle to tight. Perhaps sanding up the handle or adding some pine tar to make the grip better would allow you to hold it lighter.

I do remember getting the same feeling from riding dirt bikes for along time, especially in cold weather

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

892 posts in 2419 days


#3 posted 11-14-2015 08:24 PM

My guess is you are using muscles you haven’t used for long durations of time. Just like any new muscle movements, your body will get used to the new motions, your muscles will strengthen, and you’ll be fine; especially given your young age.

-- Mike

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theoldfart

8126 posts in 1918 days


#4 posted 11-14-2015 09:51 PM

Try loosening your grip, it sounds like a death grip. The tighter you hold it the less blood can circulate on your hands. Lactic acid can build up leading to cramps.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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Luthierman

157 posts in 554 days


#5 posted 11-14-2015 09:57 PM



Try loosening your grip, it sounds like a death grip. The tighter you hold it the less blood can circulate on your hands. Lactic acid can build up leading to cramps.

- theoldfart


While what you say has loads of truth to it, I realized one day I had tendinitis. No matter my technique, it hurts. It was caused by years and years of being a carpenter.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

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TopamaxSurvivor

17676 posts in 3143 days


#6 posted 11-15-2015 01:16 AM

It can happen anytime you do something that you are not used to for an extend period of time especially if you are more of an office guy as opposed to a working guy. Even working guys get it when they start a new extended activity. I first experienced this when I was a young lad. When the power went out, we milked the cows by hand. ;-)) As an apprentice, I discovered all day with a jack hammer is a good way to trigger it too ;-((

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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shipwright

7175 posts in 2265 days


#7 posted 11-15-2015 01:26 AM

I can’t speak for axe work personally but I can for adze work and I’m sure the answer is the same. As mentioned above, loosen up. An adze cut can be almost as fine as a plane cut but it must be done with a relaxed grip. Tense muscles can’t give the fine control and will also eventually cramp. Golf is a good comparison. You can’t get it done with a death grip.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2576 days


#8 posted 11-15-2015 03:02 AM

Repetitive motion injury. You have to be warmed up properly and use proper technique to avoid it (and maybe take breaks at proper intervals). I can’t really say what these proper warming up and techniques look like, beyond what has already been stated, but stiffness and/or numbness and burning are a result.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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Ghidrah

667 posts in 689 days


#9 posted 11-15-2015 04:16 AM

What Dark_Lightning said, repetitive motion. I had a similar painful issue about 9 yrs ago, when I was doing a massive amount of entry and storm door installs. I believe my left thumb began locking on me because of the way I pushed the vinyl locking strips into the Andersen 2000, 3000 and 4000 series SDs, 3 or 4 weeks after I was done the problem stopped. I also believe I have the beginnings of osteoarthritis for at least the last 10 or more yrs.

-- I meant to do that!

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 553 days


#10 posted 11-15-2015 05:02 AM

While what you say has loads of truth to it, I realized one day I had tendinitis. No matter my technique, it hurts. It was caused by years and years of being a carpenter.

- Luthierman

Bingo! So easy to develop tendinitis, and so often people (me included) will self-diagnose as having arthritis (especially if the are over 45 or 50). Good advice above about loosening any death grip, using correct technique, warming up, working in short sessions. I will add a couple of things, based on quite a bit of experience. (a) When you first notice aching, stop and do something else, perhaps shake your hands out, stretch a bit and then go back to work. Most of us determined, focused workers will keep going, grit our teeth, and hold on tighter to the tool. The worst thing to do! (b) Check on other parts of your body—your neck, your upper back, shoulders, etc., make sure you’re not clenching all those muscles too—they should work smoothly together and [c] If you get really sore in your wrists and fingers, ice them to short-circuit the inflammation process and prevent things from getting worse. The problem with developing tendinitis is that, even once you’ve “cured” it with lots of time off, icing, anti-inflammatories, etc., that part of your body will always be prone to it! Really cold water, or a bag of frozen black-eyed peas work.

Jesse, is there any chance you also have carpal tunnel syndrome?

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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TopamaxSurvivor

17676 posts in 3143 days


#11 posted 11-15-2015 08:38 AM

+1 Forestgirl! I was told about tennis elbow when I was an apprentice and was able to prevent it. Golfer’s elbow occurs on the other side of the joint. Wish I’d have known about it. A simple stretch exercise can cure it and certainly would have prevented it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Luthierman's profile

Luthierman

157 posts in 554 days


#12 posted 11-15-2015 05:53 PM


Jesse, is there any chance you also have carpal tunnel syndrome?

- ForestGrl

It’s possible. I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor. She assured me that I have tendinitis. At the time it was so bad that I couldn’t move my thumb on it’s own. It would lock up and had to be moved with the other hand to relieve the intense pain. It may not ever go away. The mornings are a bit tough but as soon as I get moving it loosens up and I will be less prone to injury. This happened 8 months ago just for reference.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View Luthierman's profile

Luthierman

157 posts in 554 days


#13 posted 11-15-2015 05:55 PM

I couldn’t play guitar, hold a chisel, or run a hand plane for months. It was what I refer to as the dark times.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 553 days


#14 posted 11-15-2015 08:26 PM



Jesse, is there any chance you also have carpal tunnel syndrome?
- ForestGrl

It s possible. I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor. She assured me that I have tendinitis. At the time it was so bad that I couldn t move my thumb on it s own. It would lock up and had to be moved with the other hand to relieve the intense pain. It may not ever go away. The mornings are a bit tough but as soon as I get moving it loosens up and I will be less prone to injury. This happened 8 months ago just for reference.

- Luthierman

Hmmmm, that “worst in the morning” thing is part of the symptom complex with CT. Hopefully, your doc is right, but they’ve been know to miss a diagnosis. The reason carpal tunnel is worse in the a.m.’s is because we tend to sleep with our wrists bent, which further closes off circulation to the median nerve. I’ve had both hands done. Knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t pick up a spoon for breakfast. It’s important to take care of nerve compression before it is so bad that surgery doesn’t really help that much. Glad you’re out of the Dark Times anyway!

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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JoeinGa

7487 posts in 1474 days


#15 posted 11-15-2015 09:21 PM

As I age (now 63) the arthritis in my hands gets worse. I’ve tried Voltaren Gel and BioFreeze, but they really dont help any more. So now I take this and it help’s “MOST” of the time.
.
.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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