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Forum topic by Texchappy posted 05-30-2012 03:19 PM 1356 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Texchappy

252 posts in 1687 days


05-30-2012 03:19 PM

In working with my first project. Most things were going well but I came up against something that I could use some help with.

My left hand is weak due to my injury so I was having trouble holding a straight edge and try square. My marking cuts were all over the place because I couldn’t hold the edge straight. Any tips?

TIA,
Tony

-- Wood is not velveeta


15 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23199 posts in 2333 days


#1 posted 05-30-2012 04:07 PM

Tony, not knowing the specifics of what you are doing and your injuries it would be hard to advise you. However, as a word of encouragement I can say that there are at least a couple of fellows that buy lumber from us that have lost one of their arms from above their elbows down and they are doing some professional woodworking such as mantle pieces, bookcases, etc. I’ve never watched them work but have heard from word of mouth that they do good work. Injuries obviously can be overcome. I hope that your injury heals up and if not that you can learn to work with it so that you can enjoy this wonderful hobby to the fullest. Best of luck to you.

helluvawreck
https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Lifesaver2000's profile

Lifesaver2000

544 posts in 2579 days


#2 posted 05-30-2012 04:14 PM

I use a quick clamp to hold a straight edge or square in place at times, but of course that would only work in certain situations.

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 1731 days


#3 posted 05-30-2012 04:16 PM

Same thoughts as helluvawreck (not knowing the injury, what you’re building, your work area, etc.), I can only give limited advice.

You could try using some quick clamps (like the Irwin trigger-grip style) or even a C-clamp. They come in all sorts of sizes: (http://www.irwin.com/tools/clamps/one-handed-mini-bar-clamps)

Other than that, you could move the piece you’re working on lower and use your weight to hold something like a straight-edge down… or maybe standing on the straight-edge would work in some situations.

I often clamp things down so I can use two hands for work instead of one for work and the other to hold stuff in place. That seems to work better.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View SteviePete's profile

SteviePete

226 posts in 2770 days


#4 posted 05-30-2012 04:27 PM

Most every operation has a workaround. Clamping the strait edge instead of holding it. I have found the only force I can trust is gravity. By orienting the operations to have gravity be your shop partner will solve a few more setups. Modify tools, gloves, or personal protective devices to serve you better within your range. Look at the recommendations of others for the “correct” height/width of work tables and benches. Adjust yours or use additional blocking. An Occupational Therapist. Ergonomics Practician or Physical Therapist can help you set up your space to make it functionally positive (at least neutral) for your current limitations. If you have a local college or university, they may have students with projects to complete. Be a project (That’s what swmbo calls me all the time.) Good Luck, Steve

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 1687 days


#5 posted 05-30-2012 04:31 PM

Workspace right now certainly isn’t helping. My workbench is a gladiator garage works with a metal skirt around the maple top so no place to camp really and no place for dogs or vises. I did get a little b&d workmate but haven’t gotten it out of the box yet. Height on it may be better.

As to the project. I’m building a box for a torque wrench out of poplar (2/4 stock). The dimension will be roughly 20 inches by 8 inches by 4 inches deep (I’m just using the tool itself to determine the size rather than measuring).

Thanks for the replies so far.

-- Wood is not velveeta

View Johnnyblot's profile

Johnnyblot

319 posts in 1743 days


#6 posted 05-31-2012 11:00 PM

Hi- do you think a Moxon type vice mounted on top of your existing workbench might help matters? I sometimes use the bare body of a Stanley no.4 1/2 plane as a weight to hold workpieces in position while I set up to mark pins when dovetailing.
It’s a tricky one, best of luck mate!

Cheers
John

-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 1687 days


#7 posted 05-31-2012 11:21 PM

Johnnyblot. Yeah, I think that might be helpful. How would that work? I vaguely remember someone doing something similar in a project recently.

-- Wood is not velveeta

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Johnnyblot

319 posts in 1743 days


#8 posted 06-04-2012 01:05 PM

Hi Tony
How’s it going? I’ve done a Moxon vice search here on LJ’s , which was very interesting. I came across this one here that might be of interest to you. I would like one of these myself!
I think a Moxon vice can help by lifting the workpiece higher up when doing precise work such as marking out. Also it may be possible for you to clamp pieces easily using clamps and bench dogs while you work on them?
Good clear marking out with a SHARP marking knife is half the battle won, in my opinion. Especially for me as I don’t have good eyesight.
See what you think?

Cheers
John

-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 1687 days


#9 posted 06-04-2012 01:27 PM

Thanks for the link Johnnyblot. I’ve figured out some things by researching and help on this an other forums. I ordered a couple of ‘in-line vises’ from Lee Valley that should help me with holding pieces up right or on edge. I also have gotten over drilling into my Gladior Garage workbench to eventually get some bench dogs, hold fasts, or other similar.

I’ve seen a few variations of that bench on bench, I’m not sure if I want to go that route or the simpler one that I can just clamp on the surface of the bench.

-- Wood is not velveeta

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 1687 days


#10 posted 06-04-2012 06:46 PM

With all the help I’ve gotten I manage my first (don’t know if I’d call it big) feat. I now have two sides of a simple box that are even and planed true and square on all six sides. A small victory but my first success as a woodworker – using the term very loosely.

-- Wood is not velveeta

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 1731 days


#11 posted 06-04-2012 07:55 PM

Congratulations.

Being able to hold pieces in place or steady while you work on them is almost always invaluable. It is a challenge all of us face.

Squaring things up is not trivial and not a small accomplishment. You’d be surprised how often most people just get things “close enough.”

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Johnnyblot's profile

Johnnyblot

319 posts in 1743 days


#12 posted 06-05-2012 09:56 PM

Hi.
Good news. It sounds like yr on the right track. Just keep plodding on, thats all I do! Stay enthusiastic:-)

-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 1687 days


#13 posted 06-05-2012 09:59 PM

Wish the ends of my box came out as good as the sides. Planed a nice sharp camber in one end that should have been flat and planed the other one into a banana.

-- Wood is not velveeta

View woodworker59's profile

woodworker59

560 posts in 1668 days


#14 posted 06-06-2012 04:19 AM

sounds like your doing just fine, we have all worked our way through countless problems and mistakes, you will always learn more from your mistakes than your successes. have you thought of a bench hook and possibly a birds mouth attachment to go with it.. will help you keep pieces from moving around on the bench when your working on them.. I don’t have a link handy, but I am sure if you search either here or FWW site you should be able to find both.. keep up the good work, you will do just fine.. I have had to overcome the loss of 85% of the movement in one leg due to an on the job accident, just think about solutions instead of problems. Don’t forget to post some pics of that first project..

-- Papa@papaswoodworking.com

View rance's profile

rance

4245 posts in 2627 days


#15 posted 06-06-2012 04:42 AM

As for the try square. You’d be surprised how many students I have that try to hold it by the blade. That will often cause an error. Try holding it by the handle part.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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