I think it's Upscale that uses a wheelchair and was mentioning what
General had done with table saws. Chris Schwartz has an article on one
made especially by and for a wheelchair user.
Even with the lower height of the bench this guy made, I'm having
problems seeing how someone in a chair could get enough boost behind a
handplane to plane hardwood. Regardless, it's a lovely bench and looks
like it would make his time in the shop a lot easier than standard sized
As a wheelchar woodworker, I have to say that it can be challenging to get
enough oomph to plane hardwoods while sitting in a chair. The problem is not
one of strength, but of ballance. Remember, us "wheelies" use our arm like
the rest of you use your legs, so we tend to be pretty strong - every "step"
is about the same as a puchup.. The problem with planing is that I need some
sort of bracing to prevent me (my chair) from tipping over when I push the
there are a lot of easy solutions to this - I usualy position myself so that
a solid low table is behind me, and butted up against the wall.
Doing woodworking from a chair can be a bit challenging, but like everything
else, a bit of creativity is all thats needed to make things work...
I suppose something could be constructed, but realistically, I can't see how
it could be useful. The biggest problem as Tanus mentioned is the keeping of
one's body weight static or braced behind some type of motion like using a
hand plane. To do that with a special wheelchair, one would need to be
situated in the right place and be strapped tightly into the wheelchair.
That would negate all the leaning an tilting one needs to do in a
wheelchair, all the leaning and tilting that able-bodied woodworkers do
automatically with their feet and bodies combined.
How about attaching some quick release straps that would keep the
wheelchair tethered to the bench? The straps would do a better job of
counteracting the forces from a planing motion. The higher up the
straps were on the chair, the better to resist an overturning moment.
It'd certainly be a cheap enough way to do it. I suppose you could
also use some sort of bungie cord rigging to store, or preload some of
the energy for a planing motion.
I use a chair because I cannot stand or walk for more than a few
seconds without excruciating pain. One of my older chairs had "wheelie
bars" on the back side of the chair. A small hydraulic pump rigged
to cylinders would let me position two bars with just a few pumps.
They come in handy when negotiating curbs and working on uneven
I had them on my outdoor chair, but took them off, preferring to jump some
lower curbs or road hazards while in a forward motion. The wheelie bars
interfered with that. And when I needed help to get up or down a higher
curb, the wheelie bars really got in the way. I've tipped over backwards
several times in the 25+ years using the wheelchair, but I was always
flooded by a dozen people helping to get me upright. The only injuries I've
sustained were a damaged ego, considerable embarrassment and scaring the
hell out of myself.
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