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Physical limts

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  • Member since
    February 2015
Physical limts
Posted by Billmc on Friday, January 26, 2018 4:12 PM

I am 50yo, i have neropthay in my hands and feet/legs, arthritis, lots of shaking in the hands, and very bad shot term  memory loss. Was wondering if anyone else has any of these and builds?, how do you deal with it?. My builds really reflect my issues. Love to hear any advice you have on personal limtations, satisfaction, and enjoyment pf your builds.

  • Member since
    April 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Friday, January 26, 2018 5:19 PM

Hi, Bill!

I'm 48 and I have my share of physical issues as well. The old injuries from playing football and military service have finally caught up with me, so I understand the challenges. Arthritis has set into my joints, making it difficult sometimes to handle small parts. I'd dislocated a hip back in my twenties, so sitting at the bench on those days where it flares up very uncomfortable (you should hear that thing pop when I go to stand back up!) after a few hours. Two years ago, I suffered through what the physicians tell me was a 'transient ischemic event' that was, in effect, a miniature stroke that left me legally blind and cross-eyed for seven weeks. I've since also managed to add what the neurologist calls a 'necessary tremor' in my hands to the list. All of it is attributed to aging by the doctors, making me question their competency.

How do I deal with it? I try to follow the medical advice I was given for changes in diet and exercise to keep the joints functioning a little while longer. I bought new furniture for the shop, including a new chair that helps take the pressure off the bum hip and lower back, plus it has wheels to help me zip around like I was five years old again. I also bought my old jeweler's bench from an old employer who was retiring from business. 

The bench has changed things for the better. The bench pin projects out, allowing me to brace my elbows on the edges of the pan below and to rest my wrists against the pin. It helps to keep my hands steady on those days where the tremors set in.

I've upgraded the lenses on my Optivisor to compensate for my vision and begun wearing glasses to ease the strain. I've also added a lot more lighting above the bench to help things out. A new Panavise is also on the bench, as well as clamps designed to hold figures in place for painting. I watched a friend of mine who owns an art gallery use her left hand to brace her right while she painted and lettered a postcard sized portrait, so I've adopted her approach and it works like a charm for me.

Keep doing what you love, Bill, and stay optimistic - you're going to find the answers and maybe even create new solutions as you go along!

  • Member since
    February 2015
Posted by Billmc on Saturday, January 27, 2018 7:08 PM

Thank you, yep i am in the shop every moment i can, my progress Ohhh its slow, some times its two steps forward three back, but i love the hobby. I too bought a new chair. new table, and rearanged to make building easier. Its the pain that is my biggest opponent, my biggest oppistical!. The fight continues, the builds continue.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, January 28, 2018 11:15 AM

One of the things I do for fine work, especially with tweezers, these days, is keep my two hands in contact.  I find a way to extend fingers, or bases of thumbs in contact between the tweezers and the hand holding the model or subassembly the part will be added to.

Even if the model is sitting on the bench, as a model ship on a base, I touch the model with left hand, and extend little finger, or base of thumb, on right hand holding tweezers or small part. If I cantilever arm for fine work my fingers really shake.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2017
Posted by ugamodels on Sunday, January 28, 2018 4:15 PM

"Necessary tremor" or 'essential tremor'?

Not that it really matters. But bracing part of your hand is probably critical to doing detail work. Sometimes using a piece of dowel held with the opposite hand and braced against something provides a place to rest your working hand in the correct position. 

I type on a tablet. Please excuse the terseness and the autocorrect. Not to mention the erors. 

  • Member since
    April 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Sunday, January 28, 2018 5:42 PM

My neurologist is Greek and English is his second language. It is more correct to term it as an essential tremor, but it's far more fun to use his terminology. After all, humor is the best form of medicine.

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by fritzthefox on Sunday, February 25, 2018 9:31 PM

My dad is in his eighties and suffers a good deal of memory loss. He has been combatting it by turning his home into a forest of post-it notes. 

Bracing your hands with a finger or eachother definitely helps steady them. Artists often use something called a mahl stick for this purpose. 


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