Woodworking and Retirement

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Are there many of you out there that didn't start your woodworking hobby until you retired? How long did it take you to really become effective at it once you started?
Is woodworking a hobby that a healthy retiree can safely pursue into the twilight years, say into your late 80's or 90's? Any woodworkers out there in their 80's and 90's? If there are some of you out there, what if any limitations are placed on your hobby as a result of your advanced age?
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Not retired yet myself but my wife's grandfather was woodworking up to his late 90's, about 98 or 99. Lived to 102.

there
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On Mon, 06 Feb 2006 02:07:32 GMT, "Philly"

Well, I'm not in my 80's, but I've found that the most frustrating experience is my loss of close up vision as I age. I've been woodworking for over 40 years. I'm not sure what you mean by "effective." It doesn't really matter how long it takes to complete a project when it is a hobby. It's really never too late to start woodworking.
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Phisherman wrote:

This is where near-sightedness becomes an advantage. :)
My understanding of it is that the myopic eye is arranged such that focusing on the close stuff is "enhanced" and loss of near vision is less or non-existent as the eyes lose their flexibility. Don't get that corrective surgery!
er (looking forward to his old-age, but it's still too far to focus on!)
--
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Phisherman wrote:

I hear that. At first I was beginning to worry... then I found out that it was normal. The little muscles that make our eyes focus become a little less "stretchy". The result is difficulty focusing close up.
The cure, as many I'm sure are aware, are the magnifying reader glasses you see at the store. They are a godsend when doing ANYTHING close up. I've found however that with these glasses, more is not better. Use the weakest power that will enable you to comfortably read small print in average light. Some store displays even have a chart with recommended magnification for your age group.
I was fortunate to find a store in my area (Marc's in NE Ohio) that sells decent quality glasses for 88 cents each and I have them littered around the house. At first I was a little self-concious about them, but I soon came to the realization that squinting like dope and holding things at arms length and STILL not being able to see it was no fun at all. So now I just slip on the nearest pair of old man reading glasses and that's that.
Joe Barta
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Joe.. next time you can't quite read something, try reaching for a light instead of a magnifier... helps a lot!
I've found that as I get older, my eye exams stay about the same (glasses for distance, non for reading) but my night vision sucks and I need more light for fine work..
When I'm working on something inside the computer, I find that a focused beam of light on the print or whatever helps much more that magnification.. YMWV
mac
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I'm not retired but started at about 55. Plan to keep going as long as I'm going.
"Effective" is a relative term.
I've made many pieces that I'm proud of, but they pale in comparison to others right from the start. So what? I like what I'm doing and satisfied with the results. I'm always trying to go to a higher level and I'm gaining on most every project. If you don't think you are up to making a full set of cabinets for the kitchen, make a bird feeder to start. Useful, fun, not stressful from a quality POV. The important thing is to get started. I started with doll furniture for my wife and granddaughters. Not real fancy, but far better than the stuff in the stores. You can see some on my web page.
If you think you are interested, just get going. Take a class. I attended one at Woodcrafts a couple of years ago and at my age, I was about the median.
Have fun. get going.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome /



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I started when I was 49. After about five years, I'm pretty sure I'll want to keep doing this after I retire. I agree with Phish about the eyes part. I need LOTS of light and the workbench keeps getting shorter. I remember reading something by Frank Klausz, saying he was building himself a taller workbench so he could see the work better.
Other than that, the big trick will be finding the kind of stuff you like to do. I'm not sure yet if I like building small stuff like boxes and puzzles or larger stuff like tables and nightstands. SWMBO wants a set of matched dressers/laundry hamper/TV stand in the bedroom. She loves the nightstand with the door that opens on the side she wanted with the shelf right where she wanted and the drawer at exactly the right height. Making stuff to her specs and having her satisfied with the results is a reward I don't get from anything else. It's not perfect but she's always happy with it.
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Frank Klaus now has a workbench he can raise and lower but I think its more for the benefit of his back than his eyes. I've found after I hit the big 60 mark, standing on a concrete floor bending over my workbench all day really gets to my back. Yes I have anti-fatigue mats and I'm working on how to raise my bench without loosing stability.

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Max Mahanke wrote:

Why raise the bench when you can dif a trench to stand in?
FoggyTown
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What !!! and bend over to lift the shovel????
Pete
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snipped-for-privacy@mts.net wrote:

Mr. Klausz kneels next to the bench to a)rest his back and b) get close to the work.
charlie b
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Sam Maloof is in his 90s. Some older people like Sam Maloof look and act 20 years younger than they are. Others seem to fall apart in their 60s. I have good genes for longevity assuming I take care of myself, which I have so far. It's weird. I'm 35 and can already feel the affects of getting older. I need more light to see. I have more aches and pains. My hearing is deteriorating (right on schedule). My vision started getting worse again. On the up side, I seem to need a lot less sleep than before. I'd say whether or not you're able to woodwork into your 80s and 90s depends greatly on the person. I think the main goal should be to keep moving. Exercise for strength and range of motion is critical at those ages.
brian
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I think it all depends on particular person and his specific health. I'm 70, had to give up one hobby several years ago due to arthritis in hands of building fishing rods (rod wrapping). I also like to build radio electronic projects but eye sight makes this difficult when trying to solder in a cramped circuit board. I do still enjoy an occasional session of making saw dust with my wood working gear which I have done since I was about 12 years old and my parents gave me a craftsman 36 inch jig saw for Christmas. It's not the age, it's the specific health of the person. I have a brother in-law that rode dirt bikes until he was 74 then continued riding his Harley, making trips from Okla. to both the east and west coasts until he was 76. He would still be going but cancer stopped him. RM~
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Philly wrote:

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On 6 Feb 2006 09:07:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

===============I have been retired since 1998 but I sure am not in my 80's yet...and I started woodworking as a hobby in my 20's...
Only brand new hobby I picked up since retiring is Astronomy .. and it is much harder to persue then woodworking..(its always cloudy..and damn it gets cold in the winter sitting on your ass, eye glued to a 350 dollar eyepiece with the wind blowing at 1 AM trying to focus good enough with frozen fingers to see one of the moons of Saturn... Bad eyes however can be corrected ..just switch to different eyepiece..
Woodworking is a snap compared to that...walk out to the shop turn on the furnace .stay nice an warm... relax and go to it.. when the wife calls you to lunch you can wrap up what you are doing in under an hour and walk up to the house and get yelled at (nothing really changes does it) .
Seriously the only limitations That I have encoundered are minor.. I am noticing I have more trouble handeling rough cut lumber, need a little bit more light, and have to take more frequent rest periods or else my work gets sloppy... AND I get real grouchy when I have to replenish my lumber rack,.,,just not used to blowing the entire SS check on lumber....ouch...!
Bob G.
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"Bob G." wrote in message
. <snip> and have to take more frequent rest periods or

I would have sworn you were gonna say "pee" instead of "rest".

.... and I get grouchy when "lunch" fits into either of those categories.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 12/13/05
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I too am retired and started to get active in the woodworking hobby. My only complaint with the hobby is that it took me 30 years to collect all my woodworking equipment, and now I can't afford to buy the wood to make something.
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I get a lot of wood for "free." Fallen trees, pallet wood, old furniture people do not want. Home improvement centers have higher cost per board-foot than most hardwood dealers. Granted, making a bed from cherry is going to cost a lot more than making a bedside table. If I were making a bed I'd select a less-in-demand wood such as walnut, maple or oak rather than cherry. Wood prices jump around depending on local supplies so take advantage of the what is currently plentiful. Also to keep costs down, think about more smaller projects and fewer larger projects.
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I can get rough sawn Cherry that has been in a shed for 3 years for $1 bd ft. I was there just after it was originally cut and stacked.
Walt Conner
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