The Orthopedic Surgeon sez: Stand up tall!

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philipff

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Joined
Jun 21, 2009
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436
Location
Williamsburg, VA
My doc gave me a "wire brushing" over my posture when at my lathe. Bending over too far, not keeping my head up, arching my back when I do not need to do so, and a few other criticisms/suggestion. This is just a reminder to all that the wonderful hobby we all enjoy so much can lead to back and neck and leg/hip problems as we get older. Stand up for your Self! Amen, and that's enough lecturing for today. Pff
 
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leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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Tunica, MS,
Woodworking in general has two mindsets on things that affect posture: A. everything at the same height for symmetry, or B. everything at its optimal height. Over the years I have found the divide is between young and middle age (for the most part) and those about 60 and over. Young and middle age see benefits of having TS, planers, BS, router tables and work tables at the same height. That is great for the consistency of work feed - such as outfeed of boards. However, it is not best for posture, work strength or Bad Backs. This is why older people notice the differences, when their health (backs/posture) let them know that something is wrong.

Best heights for tools:
Low level height: Thickness planers where force is needed to get things started (Upper thigh height)
Mid level height: Table saws need to be at a mid-level height where a balance of force and control are both needed. RE-saw Band Saws should be at mid level if a lot is done, but at a higher level for smaller work. (Waist height)
High level height: Router tables, Drill press, general Band Saw, and Lathe center height - where control is more important than strength. (Control is two fold: Precise Hand control and close detailed Visual Observation. (Elbow Height)

Once a person develops back/neck pain problems, (whether from individual DNA or years of not respecting the body ) shop tool height symmetry gives way to common sense! ;)
 
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Woodchipper

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Mar 15, 2017
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3,292
Location
Cleveland, TN
My doc gave me a "wire brushing" over my posture when at my lathe. Bending over too far, not keeping my head up, arching my back when I do not need to do so, and a few other criticisms/suggestion. This is just a reminder to all that the wonderful hobby we all enjoy so much can lead to back and neck and leg/hip problems as we get older. Stand up for your Self! Amen, and that's enough lecturing for today. Pff
I have some of those and had them before I started turning. Good advice, though. Might make a good case for turning while sitting. I was on my feet a lot yesterday helping my grandson turn a screwdriver handle. My right knee was protesting.
 

MTViper

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Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
621
Location
Clyde, Texas
I used to teach Ergonomics at a university so I am very familiar with making my tools fit my body. I'm 6'3" tall and when I got my Jet 1642, I started having back aches after a long day of turning. I realized that my working height was too low. When I was teaching (and before that when I was inspecting) I also did a lot of study on "field expedient" ergonomic solutions since so many store-bought solutions are exceptionally expensive. My solution was an 8' 2x4 cut into 4 pieces. Pieces were screwed together in pairs and one pair was put under each vertical support. They fit with little overhang between the legs. I secured them to the lathe with lag bolts. Voila, my lathe was 3" higher, the boards made the lathe more stable front to back. They also absorbed a lot of vibration if something was off balance. NOTE: This worked because my shop was relatively new and the floor was level. That does make a difference. So now my lathe is at the right working height and my back ache is gone.

Steve
 

Woodchipper

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Mar 15, 2017
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3,292
Location
Cleveland, TN
Wish I had a level floor. I can move my TS which is portable. Some places, it will rock. Move it two inches and it is solid. Steve, good info. Thanks.
 
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