My grandfather kept at it until the day he died at 87. He wasn't much
into machinery which permitted the rest of the family not to worry about
what he was doing so long as I got to do the laborious stuff like
surface plane his stock, drive to the lumberyard, and make turnings. He
was content in his last several years to make simple items like magazine
racks, birdhouses, small tables, bar stools from parts largely supplied
by me. Can't say I learned nearly enough from the guy by the time I
went off to college.
I'd say it's perfectly safe as long as you have a reasonably steady
hand, aren't getting too forgetful, and don't attempt to turn logs into
lumber. It's even better if you can find some amenable high school kid
to keep you company.
Looks like my original reply didn't go as expected.
To your question about limitations - use what you have! Many
replies have been about woodworkers (Krenov, Maloof) who are
still creative into their 80's. I think Sam has enough wood
collected to last him several more lifetimes. But the thing
is from what I gather is that they are still enthusiastic
My wife's grandfather was active in woodworking to the
end of his life (91). He made things for his grandchildren,
while not artistic, were certainly labors of love. Everytime
I see the pedestals he made, I think of him and hope I'm
as good as he was.
I'd say, you will always be in learning mode whether or
not you're 25, 45 or 75. There's enough headscratching
exercises in woodworking that it should keep a person
mentally healthly, which I understand is a crucial as
we "age". I won't worry about achieving a specific level
of "success". It will be whatever you reach and willing
to strive for.
Let's see - Sam Maloof is in his late 80s or early 90s,
James Krenov's in his late 70s and is phasing out of
woodworking - to make time - to play TENNIS! Tage
Freid was wodworking 'til he died in his mid to late 80s.
I'm not retired ( quite yet) and not 80 ( 69) but I've been woodworking for
a long time. Main difference I've noted is that I can no longer lift the
pieces that I make by myself without straining - and I avoid that. However,
one DOES learn how to move things along without lifting the total weight.
You get craftier as you age .:)
In my case, I had double lens replacement surgery so my eyes are pretty
close to 20/20. Main concern is dust so proper consideration should be given
to dust collection, face masks etc.
Main thing? ENJOY!!!
I'm only 57 & semi-retired. (have been WWkng for 30 years) The one
thing I have learned is that the dust may well kill you- or keep you
from your hobby. I'm about to order a DC (clear vue) cyclone, but have
to build a small out building first- as I hate the noise. Then I can
build all I want. Read about the dust hazards at Bill Pentz's website
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