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Forum topic by lilredweldingrod posted 10-23-2010 08:43 AM 3333 views 3 times favorited 82 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lilredweldingrod

2495 posts in 1760 days


10-23-2010 08:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw lathe planer scroll saw drill press miter saw jointer tablesaw wheelchair diabled machine modifications safety for handicapped woodworkers

When I began woodworking, I was already in a wheelchair. As I collected my power equipment, it became a safety issue for me to lower the work areas to a safe height. Yesterday Gary brought to my attention an article in Woodworkers Journal E-zine about “Access by General”, the Canadian woodworking equipment manufacturer. They are now making a line of modified equipment just for wheelchair bound woodworkers. In my not so humble opinion, This is a great step into the future for those of us that are now unable to stand while working in our shops. Still having a lot of my metal working equipment from when I was in the welding business, it was a snap for me to make the necessary modifications to my equipment as I got it.
I am a pre-baby boomer and as the crop of baby boomers reach old age and come to have restrictions to their physical activity, they need modified equipment. And let us not forget all the disabled vets returning to us from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the comment section of the article, one gentleman checked on the price of a General drill press. He was told the regular price was $1600.00 and for the Access model, $2100.00. $500.00 to cut 12 to 18 inches off a piece of tubing? Come on General. In my opinion this is gouging the people least able to afford it. By the time we are disabled and in a wheelchair, we are restricted to Social Security, a disability pension or worse.
I am going on record that if anyone with a disability and confined to a wheelchair and needs my services to lower a piece of equipment, let me know in a PM and I will make the adjustments free. The only thing I ask is that the equipment be brought to me as I do not travel well. If you want to see the work I’ve done on my equipment, please go to my LJ site and see if this will be of use to you.
As for a $2100.00 drill press; check out my 1944 Walker/Turner model 900. I can raise and lower it to any height I feel comfortable with. My investment? $100.00 and the adjustment consisted of just 2 set screws. My band saw was free and I have invested less than $200.00 in modifications including the mobile base. My table saw? Another freebie.Investment, again less than $100.00 including the mobile base.
So guys and gals a little networking goes a long way in procuring our equipment. Let your neighbors and friends know your needs, and you will be amazed at the results.
Are you listening General? If you are going to gouge us we can find much less expensive ways to enjoy our therapy and hobby. Don’t screw up a good deal.
Just my not so humble opinion. Rand


82 replies so far

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2658 days


#1 posted 10-23-2010 10:10 AM

I’ve always suspected a conspiracy behind woodwork machines being built at crotch height. :)

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View rsladdwoodworks's profile

rsladdwoodworks

311 posts in 1822 days


#2 posted 10-23-2010 10:24 AM

I have been able to find an 14”band saw by grizzly build a box and it now set at 30” I did the same thing to my table saw grant it is a contractors table saw but it works fine I do need to up date my photos of my shop but I have a nice set up that is safe working hight for the wheel chair .but to see what they do to a person that is handicap with all thing marked handicap is a crime but they get away with it just the price we have to pay for a wheel chair is bad I do to bing on low income now do to being hurt Medicare will not by me a power chair I had to buy it out of pocket and cot luck thanks to crag list got for 700 .00 but if I could not get one place to deal with me to by out of pocket I was told by all of them it would it would be$ 9,000.00 now what if you had to by shoes like this I get ( I get so made I cant wright so I hope it is spelled right do to get hurt my mined not all there like in the past)

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4138 posts in 1509 days


#3 posted 10-23-2010 10:29 AM

Rand you hit the nail on the head.
It dont just stop there.
great topic to post.
jamie
In a wet n windy Scotland (normally Sunny Liquid Sunshine)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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rivergirl

3198 posts in 1491 days


#4 posted 10-23-2010 12:19 PM

It is really tragic and borderline criminal in my opinion that price gouging described above occurs. However, it does occur and often. Frankly, I think that a well written letter sent to the larger tool companies websites/blogs may have some impact? But also, I think that sites like this one are very helpful not only for information sharing, but for reducing the isolation that is sometimes experienced by people with (and without) physical disabilities. I would encourage members in their bios to list their state or province so that if/when desired a more tangible form of networking/assistance could occur. Also, you guys/gals with experience in physical disabilities of ANY and all types should make some blogs showing/detailing the modifications you have made to your equipment, so that others members can utilize this information. Use good descriptive tags so that the information can be easily found with the search engine. (Include words like: disability, modification, wheelchair, accessible, vision impaired, etc. etc. ) Alba, your wheel chair story reminded me of a person my sister worked with. He was a parapalegic- but was involved in competitive wheel chair racing. His wheelchairs kept breaking apart from excessive wear, so insurance bulked at replacement. So this guy learned how to redesign and build his own wheelchair- one part at a time. He would go to the medical supply place my sister worked and would request only a single part – and then would go home and modify that part to his own specs so that he could keep on keeping on. Imagine how much information a guy like that would have to share with others who are in similar need? And if the information on modifications is provided by people who have BEEN THERE, the value of that information is significantly increased. Blogs of this nature would also help to increase awareness. I’m sure there are members out there in need of some assistance/modifications and I know there are members out there who would be willing to go and help a buddy make the modfications. But awareness must occur. For example, I did not know that Lilredweldingrod was using a wheelchair? I did know that Alba, (my personal friend/buddy) uses a wheelchair because he puts it right out there LOL. So Alba, since you are my buddy, I challenge you, when you get a moment, to choose one modification that you have made, or would like to make if it were possible and write a little blog bout it. Then I believe others will follow your example. Am I right Redweldingrod? And Mads- if you are reading this… If we need help inventing a new part or tool or whatever you will be the go to guy. :) Peace.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View rivergirl's profile

rivergirl

3198 posts in 1491 days


#5 posted 10-23-2010 12:25 PM

One more thought: my Len is very active in the Veteran’s organization (VFW) here. If there are any vets out there from the Pittsburgh, Pa area in need of modified equipment in their shop, please let me know and Len and I will work on it.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View stefang's profile

stefang

13024 posts in 1987 days


#6 posted 10-23-2010 12:46 PM

This is a really great blog topic Rand. I’m not much of a demonstrator or agitator, but I sure would be willing to become one for a cause like this. I would think that instead of raising prices for cut down woodworking equipment that some manufacturers or others would instead see this as a challenge or even a business opportunity to sell to what might a pretty large market. General has at least made a start by recognizing the need and actually do something about it. I think we should give them credit for that, although I fully agree with you that their approach is less than helpful.

It was very generous of you to offer help in cutting down equipment. Maybe there are others around the country who would be willing to do the same. Robert Laddusaw had a non-welders solution which also sounded pretty good.

From a manufacturers perspective I think one problem might be that they really don’t know how large the potential market is. This would have to be the starting point for any business initiatives. Perhaps General has extra costs to cater to this market that we are not aware of.

I doubt most folks confined to wheelchairs and the people around them think about woodworking as a viable hobby. Personally I was very surprised to discover that so many handicapped people are woodworking, and that most of them are producing a lot more than me!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4138 posts in 1509 days


#7 posted 10-23-2010 01:18 PM

Great thinking Kelly,
I think there are lots of folk worldwide who have no other choice than work for themselves.
Most employers cant take the risk of putting us back into a shop. Insurance would be to high.
I’ve my own project on the go, where I help folk get back to work or a new craft.
There is no funding available for it, as the Red Tape involved would make me more of an administrator.
http://jamiespeirs.com/12011.html
I’ve been doing this for over ten years.
I’ve some wonderful success stories and mainly from women.

Yours
Jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View rivergirl's profile

rivergirl

3198 posts in 1491 days


#8 posted 10-23-2010 01:24 PM

I think that there is much to discover in this area of conversation. First, we need to know who of us out there are currently using modified equipment- and who needs modified equipment. So you guys and gals out there- put some posts up here and let us know what modifications you are working with or working toward in terms of modified equipment needs. I have a strong background in the area of disabilities, and I can’t believe I never even considered that woodworkers on L/J would have need for modifications? Awareness matters.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15696 posts in 2871 days


#9 posted 10-23-2010 04:04 PM

Great topic, Rand, and a very generous offer on your part?

Has anyone thought of writing to the ADA folks about this? They are constantly coming out with new regulations. While I doubt they would ever mandate that the manufacturers would have to produce accessible machinery, if enough people complain they might do something about the price gouging issue.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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canadianchips

1831 posts in 1650 days


#10 posted 10-23-2010 04:50 PM

Posting projects of modifying equipment is a great idea. I admit, I wasn’t aware of what people with a disability needed till it “HIT” our family. I remodelled what I could back then just to continue on as a family. A lot of changes were trial and error, I had no resource information at that time.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View BertFlores58's profile

BertFlores58

1646 posts in 1575 days


#11 posted 10-23-2010 05:51 PM

All I can say. Though it is quite different here in the Philippines, I admit that it turns out that I was having emphaty on Rands condition plus Megan’s condition. Upon knowing that Rand is so determined, that attitude is really a way of creating policy to a government. A positive approach to those manufacturer will be by letting those woodworkers on wheels open up and let them see the demand. I know for a fact that we even created sportfest on wheels..

Rand, this is a very open blog! Thanks for letting everyone knew your situation.
Jamie, I just know today that you are also on wheels.

-- Bert

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112083 posts in 2230 days


#12 posted 10-23-2010 06:25 PM

Rand
Thanks for this post I have wondered how to make equipment more accessible to folks in wheels chairs knowing we have some members that are in them of course I know they have to be lower but I’m still not sure how well you can use a lowered table saw to cut say sheet goods when your in a wheel chair. I have thought about trying to open a woodworking school that would have accessible equipment and also teach woodworking to the blind. I’ve never followed through because I don’t have funds or training to help folks
in these particular situations. But if in the future I can get a grant for this kind of school I would find others or learn my self how to teach folks with these challenges. thanks for bringing this up Rand. I also think its deplorable of companies to over charge for small modifications for folks that need them.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View rivergirl's profile

rivergirl

3198 posts in 1491 days


#13 posted 10-23-2010 06:27 PM

Jim- Ask Alba- he has done some of that teaching/modifying and he lives it everyday. He has some excellent information.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112083 posts in 2230 days


#14 posted 10-23-2010 06:30 PM

Thanks Kelly hope your feeling better

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View rsladdwoodworks's profile

rsladdwoodworks

311 posts in 1822 days


#15 posted 10-23-2010 06:53 PM

RIVER GIRL i HAVE SENT LETTER TO GRIZZLE AND SAW STOP THAT THE TWO FO THEM ARE CLOSE TO WHERE l LIVE AND THE SAW STOP IS THE BEST SAW FOR THE HANDICAP and I have not heard back so I do not know if they got it or not . Jim if you need some one to help you know the wright hight I will be glad to meet with you I am not to far from you ps 29” is been the hight I have working with and for sheet goods I cut them on sawhorse down a size I can safe on the table saw

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))

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