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"Arthritis-friendly" tools query

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  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
"Arthritis-friendly" tools query
Posted by Bobstamp on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 10:33 PM

I need some suggestions about dealing with model building not in a time of pandemic, but in a time of osteoarthritis! I fear that arthritis is going to be a part of my life longer than the pandemic!

Since I was in my late 30s, I’ve been fighting osteoarthritis. It appeared first in my big toes (eventually I had “bunionectomies” which removed the big joints from both great toes), then my hands and knees. I need knee-replacement surgery, but my feet are so bad that there doesn’t seem much point in having knee surgery if I end up not being able to walk because of my knees. Recently my hands have been causing a lot of difficulty.

Last night I was doing some detail painting on my model of USS Haven, which I’m building as USS Repose, the hospital ship to which I was evacuated after I was wounded in Vietnam. I was using a tiny brush, but I had to give up after an hour or so because of pain at the base of my right thumb. Coincidentally, I got a call today to arrange an appointment with my new rheumatologist because my regular rheumatologist, Dr. Reid, is retiring. I mentioned my thumb pain to the receptionist, who told me that using that small brush for an extended period was undoubtedly the cause of my pain. That was hardly news, but it got me to wondering if I there are brushes designed for arthritis victims. There are, apparently, but in a brief Google search I only found pictures of them; they have large, bulbous handles. I decided to see if I could customize that small brush, and came up with this (using rubber bands and adhesive tape):

I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems more comfortable than the skinny handle of the brush.

Have any Finescale discussion board members come up with ways to make the tools we use more comfortable? Can someone suggest sources of “arthritis-friendly” tools?

Bob

 

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 10:43 PM

A lot of us have the shakes.

Or poor eyesight.

I can't answer myself, but my attitude tends to be to be happy with what I can do.

Pain is awful, my wife cries at night. She uses ice a lot, and exercises the joints in question.

Listen to music or books on tape while you model. It helps to take your mind off of the focus on physical ability.

Someday we all may be reduced to telling our grandkids history, but the route from here to there should be considered a triumph however it goes.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 10:53 PM

You might search in jewelry making with arthritis. I don't make jewelry but a lot of what I browsed through made sense to me.

Aternate ways to replace tying knots with CA drops.

See what you can find.

 

bill

 

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 11:32 PM

How about taking some hard foam insulation board and drilling a hole in the middle to glue the handle, (might even work with just a friction fit), then shaping to something comfortable to hold.  Plus you can get more contact along the length of the fingers, should help with tension buildup of muscles.

There are brushes available with larger or bulbous handles.  I think the micro mark catalog has both types.

  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Jon_a_its on Thursday, December 17, 2020 3:27 AM

Nice improv, I built a propelling pencil with 2 layers of thisk soft leather wrapped round it for comfort. Works fine for me.

Search for Triangular Art Brush in the search engine of your choice.

You should find something like these from the online vendors of your choice, such as Major Brushes Triangular Grip Detail Paint Brush Set of 6.

 Major Brushes Triangular Grip Detail Paint Brush Set of 6 image 0

 

You can also get Triangular pencil grips, and from the tattoo tool box, EGO Pencil Grip - White - 27mm

EGO Pencil Grip - White - 27mm

or these designed for pencils:

some information here: https://therapyfunzone.net/blog/pencil-gripspros-and-cons/

 

East Mids Model Club 29th Annual Show 19th MAY 2019

 http://www.eastmidsmodelclub.co.uk/

Don't feed the CM!

 

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Cave City, KY
Posted by Watchmann on Thursday, December 17, 2020 2:40 PM

Hi Bob,

I like your solution to your paint brush.

While I don't have arthritis, yet, my hand does cramp something awful while using an airbrush.  Here's the solution I came up with for my Iwata brush.

   Iwata01

I had to put a dab of epoxy putty on the knob since my figer kept slipping off.  It's not perfect since my trigger finger position is still a bit awkward.

I bought a Grex Tritium TS this year.  I tried one out at a show a few yeas ago and fell in love.  The handle was still a bit small, and my middle finger kept ending up under the trigger.  Grex sells a custom handle set that comes with an extra plastic handle and a blob of polymer clay, but a box of Sculpey is cheaper, so I made my own.

Grex01

Grex02

This feels soooo much better.  It did add a bit of weight, but I think it will be okay.  Now, I've got to make a custom stand for it. Stick out tongue

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Friday, December 18, 2020 1:25 PM

Ah Bill;

     Turns out the Landlady and her Daughter figured the Parkinsons thing before I was willing to admit it, and the final diagnosis was in. So much for being a shaky old man! I work through all of it in the seating at my bench, optical aids and lots of "Extra or Second Hand" Tools and Braces made out of LEGO then Padded. Works for me.

    The biggest problem for me right now is the poor quality ( Thinness) of both X-Acto and Excel knife blades. I don't realize sometimes how much pressure I put on them and they snap easier. So, for long straight cuts I went to a crafter's Rotary Knife. Now I hope they don't borrow it in a pinch to cut Pizza! LOL.LOL.

      There is also a smallish retractible knife( very small blade) that works well for rounded and regular corners in both plastic and paper. I put one of those rounded triangular cushions on it and it now works fine. I saved a bunch of " Dr Grip" pens I once had and cut them off at the fat part and modified them to fit the X-acto handles.

    Will I ever stop Building Models? Only if I can't see them. So There! Oh! Merry and Safe Christmas to you and the Missus. Would either of you object to being put on my prayer list? My Missus went throught the same. I prayed, and I think it helped, But it's just a matter of one's faith.

      I went to a toy store and bought a metal cap gun. The handle now adorns my older Binks Airbrush. Works great too. It was a handgun that was a life sized version of ( Detective Harry Callahan's ) Gun. It made my day too!

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Friday, December 18, 2020 1:32 PM

Bob;

      Before I replied to Bill Morrison I checked my Brushes. The last four I bought had the fatter handles. I went back to Hobby Lobby and found three more and one is a " Proffessional" Striping Brush. Ya know, for Boot topping on a ship! With the same handles. I bought some the ladies at the Art League recommended.

  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Jon_a_its on Saturday, December 19, 2020 1:47 AM

Neat idea Watchman

I Didn't go quite so far with my Grex Handles,  I have them on my Iwata HP-CS & Badger 4000.  (Badger 150 retired)


Picture

East Mids Model Club 29th Annual Show 19th MAY 2019

 http://www.eastmidsmodelclub.co.uk/

Don't feed the CM!

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, December 19, 2020 9:10 AM

The biggest aid I have found for arthritic or shakey hands (I have both) is to maintain your two hands in physical contact.

Here is an exercize to illustrate the technique.  First, extend your arms and try to touch the tips of your index fingertips together accurately and light pressure.  If you are like me this is hard to do.  Then, place your third fingers together and then the index fingers- easier.  Now, place base of thumbs together and put the index fingertips together- much better.

The hands do not have to touch each other- you can have them both touching some solid object.  Try resting the bases of the thumbs on a heavy block on your bench and then hold a small object in your left hand.  Using tweezers in your right fingers, touch the object.  Much easier than when you are cantilevering your two hands with your arms.

The reason I like a block is to get the hands a little closer to my eyes without bending my head down too much which is hard on bad neck joints.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Cave City, KY
Posted by Watchmann on Saturday, December 19, 2020 11:14 PM

Nice mod, Jon!  Those Grex handles were the inspiration for the wooden handle on my Iwata.  I have a lot of scrap wood in the basement, so I thought I could whip one up.

  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Jon_a_its on Sunday, December 20, 2020 4:57 AM

Watchmann

Nice mod, Jon!  Those Grex handles were the inspiration for the wooden handle on my Iwata.  I have a lot of scrap wood in the basement, so I thought I could whip one up.

 

 
Adapt, Improvise, don't spend beer tokens unnecessarily! Wink
 

East Mids Model Club 29th Annual Show 19th MAY 2019

 http://www.eastmidsmodelclub.co.uk/

Don't feed the CM!

 

  • Member since
    November 2020
  • From: Blaine ,MN
Posted by BootBoyx2 on Saturday, March 20, 2021 9:59 AM
Hey Watchman, great idea for your Grex. Due to neuropath in my hands, my hands also cramp up using my TRN 1 Iwata. What kind of Sculpey did you use? I searched at Hobby Lobby and found 4 different ones. Some of them say to bake it to harden. Did you do that? Any tips you have to form it to my hand would appreciated. Also, is it permanantly fixed to the AB.Thanks,BootBoyx2.

Be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it.

  • Member since
    February 2011
Posted by knox on Saturday, March 20, 2021 1:47 PM

Watchman,  you’re a genius!  Well done. 

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Cave City, KY
Posted by Watchmann on Sunday, March 21, 2021 2:33 PM

knox

Watchman,  you’re a genius!  Well done. 

Thanks Knox.  Not a genius, just a copy-cat. ;)  When I was getting the feel for the new Grex, I realized that the handle it came with was a bit too small, so I did an internet search for "custom airbrush handles" and found that Grex sells an extra handle with a blob of polymer clay. A boxy of Sculpey was cheaper than their kit, so I went that way.

BootBoyx2
Hey Watchman, great idea for your Grex. Due to neuropath in my hands, my hands also cramp up using my TRN 1 Iwata. What kind of Sculpey did you use? I searched at Hobby Lobby and found 4 different ones. Some of them say to bake it to harden. Did you do that? Any tips you have to form it to my hand would appreciated. Also, is it permanantly fixed to the AB.Thanks,BootBoyx2.

Hi BootBoyx.

I went out to Michael's and got a 1lb box of the "Original Sculpey", the kind that you bake in the oven.  It bakes at a low temperature, so your TRN-1 handle should be fine.

I made a little stand out of a small piece of 2x4 and a dowel sticking up so I could bake it in the oven.  It also made a good place to keep the handle between sculpting sessions.

As far as the forming, I just warmed up a chunk of Sculpey by kneading it in my hands, wrapped it around the handle then squeezed, poked, and prodded it until it felt "good". I put most of the clay at the back of the handle to keep enough room at the front so the action of the trigger wasn't impeded I also added a little extra to the palm side of the AB.

After baking, I used a #10 hobby blade to do some cutting and scraping, then went over the whole thing with some fine sand paper. Since I took the pictures, I've painted it with some black acrylic craft paint and given it several coats of urethane wood finish to seal it.

It's permanently fixed to the handle of my AB, but I can remove the handle from the rest of the AB.

I'd love to see how yours comes out. Good luck!

P.S. Try to complete the sculpt before you bake it.  Trying to add more Sculpey after baking can be difficult, as the new clay doesn't always stick well to the old.

  • Member since
    November 2020
  • From: Blaine ,MN
Posted by BootBoyx2 on Sunday, March 21, 2021 3:27 PM
Thanks so much Watchman. I'll try it out once I am able to get some. Will use your tips but i'm sure I'll screw it up somehow.I'd post pictures but I'm not able to do that. Once again thanks alot.BootBoyx2.

Be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it.

  • Member since
    December 2020
Posted by Thuntboss on Friday, April 2, 2021 9:37 AM

Bobstamp, I sent you a private message on here.

"Do it as well as your experience and skill allow. Practice and persistence increase skill"

 

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