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Thread: How does your age affect wood working ability

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    Now..IF I can just get my right hand to stop shaking....hard to even drink from a glass...left hand is fine....except I am right-handed...

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    SCal
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    Some great feedback, we all benefit from reading these comments. Aging is something we all have in common.

    Interesting query about age of Creekers or ww in general. I agree, it seems mostly older. WW is like Astronomy, its more appreciated by older people who grew up in different times, pre internet, cable tv, etc.

    AS for age, this thread demonstrates my life experiences. I have a friend who is 70, he plays 4hrs a day of competitive college level tennis. He plays 20 year olds so hard, they puke on the court... he leaves them to recover, and looks around for another tennis partner. He eats junk, is fit as a 20 yr old athlete, has unlimited endurance and the strength of a body builder, despite never lifting weights. Not a single health problem, no aches n pains, never gets sick, never been in hospital, never had a surgery, no arthritis. very mild vision issue and hearing, mental acuity still good, slight drop in last 20 yrs. He is a freak of nature. His genes are worth a fortune, more valuable than wealth. If you are on this side of the equation, anything is possible.

    OTOH, my brother, late 50's, has no strength, super fatigued, tons of body aches and pains from past sports abuse, arthritis, bad back that is always nagging him, mental acuity fading, no desire, un motivated, etc, etc. He would never even consider ww as a hobby!

    So each person has to be honest with themselves, (not easy) as we can only play the hand we were dealt. Some at 60 are not really fit for ww, while others at 90 work great in the shop. The other factor we must all consider is, things can change fast at 60+. Injuries, mental acuity, eyesight, strength, stamina. Some health conditions are just cruel.

    AS to the OP, I am impressed with anyone who can use nothing but hand tools to build projects. Hand tools are quite brutal when you are dimensioning the wood, and cutting it all by hand. To me, that is sooo much work, I dont have time to focus on the actual project, I can get too burnt out. and I love hand tools, I have a ton of them!! Yes, I always use a jointer and planer, I like to start with wood that is close to its end use. There is enough going on with joining, edge treatment, embelleshments, finishing, etc. Of course a lot depends on the size of the projects u want to work on.

    Its amazing how many types of ww there are... tiny projects v huge projects, hand tools vs power tools, tool admirers vs. project admirers, green wood v fully dimensioned wood, turners vs. box builders, restoration vs. design/build, sharpening as a ww hobby, tool collectors, etc. etc. Pick your posioin, whatever brings you joy!!

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Itapevi, SP - Brazil
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    I am 57 and with a good health... my challenge is basically my vision.

    Up to a some years ago I didn't need glasses at all... then I needed only for reading... since a couple of years ago I need glasses for any task demanding some precision, woodworking included.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Doylestown, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osvaldo Cristo View Post
    I am 57 and with a good health... my challenge is basically my vision.

    Up to a some years ago I didn't need glasses at all... then I needed only for reading... since a couple of years ago I need glasses for any task demanding some precision, woodworking included.
    Presbyopia is an afflication affecting nearly everyone as we age and I started using reading glasses in my mid 50s as well. I have older brothers and they experienced about the same age when they needed glasses so I don't know to what extent genetics impacts it.
    Last edited by Curt Harms; 09-25-2019 at 11:35 AM.

  5. #35
    I'm on the younger side of respondents to this thread, but FWIW I plan to keep working at my bench until I keel over. That'd be a good way to go IMO.
    I do want to respond to the OP's question about a jointer…if you are into hand tools, and not doing it for a living, I would put the tailed jointer pretty low down on the list of priorities. In terms of machines that ease the physical burden, a decent bandsaw is number one, and might be all you need. After that, a thickness planer is number two. Flattening edges and faces with a plane is not that arduous or time consuming, but thicknessing definitely can be, and a decent 12" or 13" lunchbox planer is not that expensive relative to some other machines, so that's where my money would go.

    *A little more on that last sentence: Flattening a face is not arduous if you do it efficiently, by simply removing the high spots. If you follow the late 20th c. practice of mechanically traversing across every board, then planing diagonally in an X, and then planing long strokes with the grain, flattening (or "trying") a board is indeed arduous. But it shouldn't be that way. Bottom line: you probably don't need a 'lectric jointer.
    "For me, chairs and chairmaking are a means to an end. My real goal is to spend my days in a quiet, dustless shop doing hand work on an object that is beautiful, useful and fun to make." --Peter Galbert

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Voigt View Post
    I'm on the younger side of respondents to this thread, but FWIW I plan to keep working at my bench until I keel over. That'd be a good way to go IMO.
    I do want to respond to the OP's question about a jointer…if you are into hand tools, and not doing it for a living, I would put the tailed jointer pretty low down on the list of priorities. In terms of machines that ease the physical burden, a decent bandsaw is number one, and might be all you need. After that, a thickness planer is number two. Flattening edges and faces with a plane is not that arduous or time consuming, but thicknessing definitely can be, and a decent 12" or 13" lunchbox planer is not that expensive relative to some other machines, so that's where my money would go.

    *A little more on that last sentence: Flattening a face is not arduous if you do it efficiently, by simply removing the high spots. If you follow the late 20th c. practice of mechanically traversing across every board, then planing diagonally in an X, and then planing long strokes with the grain, flattening (or "trying") a board is indeed arduous. But it shouldn't be that way. Bottom line: you probably don't need a 'lectric jointer.
    Steve,

    I agree 100%. Small jointers are not that useful in most shops because they are very limited in the width of board they can address. A quick skip plane with a "Jack" (BTW I highly recommend your Jack for that job) to remove the high spots and address wind in prep for the planer is many times quicker and with better results than using a small jointer, especially if you have to cut a board down to fit the small jointer. I'd almost give up half my other tools before giving up my 18" bandsaw. A lunch box thickness planer with a Jack plane will do 90% maybe even 95% of needed truing of lumber but damn they are noisy, if you don't have hearing problems before using one, you will afterwards. If you have space and can afford it a reasonably big (25" or bigger) thickness planer is a treat to have. If you do not work sheet goods all the time lose the table saw, for occasional use a track saw works as well, is safer and takes up a lot less space. I'd sell my 8" jointer and cabinet table saw in a heartbeat if I could get 1/2 what I paid for 'em.

    I've thought about (for maybe two seconds) installing an overhead chain lift like I used to use in my Dad's machine shop to help with bench slabs and the needed timber. If I had more overhead I'm not sure I wouldn't do it, it sure would negate some of the effects of being older than dirt.

    ken

  7. #37
    Ken, I'm with you on the noise. I don't use my lunchbox planer very often, and the screaming direct drive motor is the main reason. I don't have the space or the funds for a stationary planer, but it would be nice to have one. Still, the old screamer will do until then…
    "For me, chairs and chairmaking are a means to an end. My real goal is to spend my days in a quiet, dustless shop doing hand work on an object that is beautiful, useful and fun to make." --Peter Galbert

  8. #38
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    White Lake, Michigan
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    36
    I, like others here, use my jointer, planer, and tablesaw to dimension the wood I use in my projects. I use hand-tools for nearly every other operation, i.e., the joinery and the surface prep prior to finishing. I make a variety of pieces, from small boxes to larger furniture items and I follow the same pattern no matter what the size of the piece I am building. I've been woodworking for some 35 years. I retired in 2015 and I am 69 years old. I am in relatively good physical shape, but breaking down sheet goods for cabinets is far more difficult than it was when I was a younger man. I spend a lot of time in my shop these days, and I hope to do so until the day I start my eternal dirt nap.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson View Post
    About the eyes, I have always had highly nearsighted eyes. It has never been an advantage before. Now, if I really want to see a line, I can take my glasses off and it is like wearing a jeweler’s loupe. Not everyone is so lucky. Good light really helps everybody. Bright light causes your pupil to close down. As any photographer will know, a smaller aperture increases the depth of field. In bright light, you can see better up close. It is an optical effect.
    Ah, the dreaded coreopsis. I sympathize. I used to wear contacts, now I wear glasses. All I have to do to listen to music is remove them and look at the grooves. It is my superpower.

    I started out in auto mechanics, but I was so nearsighted, it was thought best that I migrate to quantum mechanics, which I did. I must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque. At least my back stopped hurting.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    Ah, the dreaded coreopsis. I sympathize. I used to wear contacts, now I wear glasses. All I have to do to listen to music is remove them and look at the grooves. It is my superpower.

    I started out in auto mechanics, but I was so nearsighted, it was thought best that I migrate to quantum mechanics, which I did. I must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque. At least my back stopped hurting.
    Haha. Maybe “dreaded camera obscura”?I think you probably made a good career move. My wrong turn was perhaps in Knoxville.
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson; 09-26-2019 at 1:31 PM.

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
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    74.
    Even though until 2 weeks ago I went to the gym almost daily (I got the 'flu and don't want to affect others), for my weightlifting regimen, I find myself getting more tired easily and just don't want to be on my feet all day.
    I also don't ride as many long distance trips on the Harley as I used to.
    It's frustrating, but better than the alternative.
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  12. #42
    Lots of wisdom, experience and good advice in this thread. I hear you, and thanks to all.

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    7,350
    In my 69th year, there is the awareness that I need to treat my body with more respect. I stay pretty fit (power walk daily), but have lost some of the physical strength of my earlier years ... I certainly lack the ability to read fine details without glasses, and I am more vulnerable to aches and pains through over-use of muscle and tendon. On the other hand, my enthusiasm has not dimmed, and I continue to gain knowledge, such as improving my understand of joinery, the ability to read grain, and developing an eye for detail and design.

    In addition to the physical loses, I am aware that time moves on and there is less of it for building as I used to do. There is the realisation that I shall re-focus my energies to smaller pieces ... not necessarily less complex - hopefully more complex ... life is about pushing the envelope as far as possible, without being silly about this. My thoughts are moving from cases to chairs.

    The choice of tools is reflected here. There is nothing heroic about turning a tree into a cabinet sans electricity. While I am grateful for the years in which I used planes to prepare the rough stuff, I am now content to use the wonderful machines I have been acquiring in more recent years to do the donkey work. The fun lies with the details, and my satisfaction comes from a fine and final product. Hand tools combined with power tools make this possible. They work as a team, supporting each other, sometimes interchangeable, sometimes taking the staring role. Hopefully age brings with it better judgement and less extreme beliefs.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  14. #44
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Derek, I had a heart attack in 2005. While recuperating I read a book on fitness walking. Since reading the book. I walk 3/8 to 1/2 mile daily. My health is much better than it was. I also weigh about 40 pounds less than I did.
    Hey guys, see this link.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=fitn...hrome&ie=UTF-8

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Longview WA
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    This is a post on what could be called shop exercise:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?272588

    Not everyday, but as often as possible some of my time is spent planing or working wood as a form of exercise.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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