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: Small shop woes.  ( 3026 )
cajunpedaler
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« : June 17, 2015, 09:19:44 AM »

What has been the "last straw" in deciding to close your business?
For me, it has been the health or lack of in my right hand.  It's not carpal tunnel, but my right wrist and hand are KAPUT.  Small wrist bones in back of hand, constantly painfully popping out of place, can't grip anything.  Also, my whole right hand and arm is painfully numb a lot.
Finding consistent good help.  Impossible.

I love to sew.  I love projects.  I love seeing a customer's face when I deliver a piece and I know I got it "just right". 

I'm thinking seriously of giving it up at the end of this year.  Life is too short to not be traveling or enjoying one's self...

Sadly,
Perry

If at first you don't succeed, redefine success. If at first you fail, redefine failure.
SteveA
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« #1 : June 17, 2015, 10:22:00 AM »

Sorry to hear your health is impacting a business that you not only earn from but like doing.  I'm sure you've considered another doctor for a second opinion - or maybe working only 3 days a week to keep your presence - find an apprentice to do the heavy lifting giving them the opportunity to buy into the business or lease it ?  I wish you well however it turns out - travel isn't a bad idea if it comes to that -
SA
gene
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« #2 : June 17, 2015, 06:53:18 PM »

I've been doing the hot wax bath for my hands for awhile now. I love it. It really helps. I no longer whine and wimper when I put my hands into the wax. I think the heat must have killed all the nerves in my hands.
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I've also been using my non dominant hand for all repetitive tasks, such as cutting with scissors, pulling staples, etc.
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Living with pain if you don't have to is not my idea of an enjoyable life.
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One of my favorite poems is The Desiderata. Written in 1927.

One line says, "Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth." I used to think this referred only to physical things, like running and jumping. I've come to see that it also refers to things like being able to remember things easily, being able to hold my bladder indefinitely, not needing prescription pills to make it through the day, etc.

Another line says, "Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself." I find myself asking this question more and more the older I get.

The best to you on any major changes you choose to make.

gene
« : June 17, 2015, 06:54:46 PM gene »

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
Mike
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Marine canvas & upholstery SWFL


« #3 : June 17, 2015, 08:31:39 PM »

about 3 years ago I had a bout of trigger thumb a painful ligament issue .
but had a stroke now my brother had a stroke in December  couldn't walk but now hes doing a lot more then he though he would. my eyes don't thread a machine needle like 20 years ago but hes still doing ok and will as long as posible
« : June 17, 2015, 08:39:25 PM Mike »

kodydog
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« #4 : June 17, 2015, 09:31:36 PM »

Cajun, do you mind if I ask how old you are and when did you first notice?

I'm 57 and get those pains once in a while but so far they go away with a little stretching and ignoring. My wife is a little older than I am and has pretty much stopped all strenuous sewing. My plan is to keep working through my 60's and wondering if I should create a game plan that involves less strenuous activity.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
« : June 17, 2015, 09:34:27 PM kodydog »

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #5 : June 18, 2015, 08:15:40 AM »

Small wrist bones in back of hand, constantly painfully popping out of place, can't grip anything.  Also, my whole right hand and arm is painfully numb a lot.
Finding consistent good help.  Impossible.
Perry
Normally I would say just take it easy and pick your jobs. BUT it's hard offer any encouragement with bones popping out of place.  

And I certainly concur about finding good help. Anybody that truly has an aptitude and passion for this kind of work has no reason to work for someone else. Even if their skills aren't fully developed, they can still make more money working out of their own garage.    

I'm 57, and plan to work as long as I can. I have plantar fasciitis in my feet, but have learned to manage it pretty well. The back and legs are better than when I was 20.  

I have a client who routinely orders padded seats for dressing rooms. The vinyl they selected is very NON-stretchy, and even with a heat gun, they are difficult to stretch and tack on. After doing 10 of them the other day, my right hand was so weak I couldn't even twist a cap off a soda. Then they turned in an order for 40 more.

Gene: How do you cut with scissors with your non-dominant hand? I'm right handed, and my left hand ain't worth spit.

I developed a little numbness and pain in my hand a few years ago. I got an electric rotary cutter, and now cut with scissors as little as possible. My hand is much better than it was 3 or 4 years ago.
« : June 18, 2015, 09:44:54 AM sofadoc »

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
byhammerandhand
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"By hammer and hand, all arts do stand."


« #6 : June 19, 2015, 04:03:33 PM »

Man, I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous. 


I've also been using my non dominant hand for all repetitive tasks, such as cutting with scissors, pulling staples, etc.

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
gene
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« #7 : June 19, 2015, 07:26:13 PM »

Quote
ambidextrous
Isn't that what Bruce Jenner did?

Quote
Gene: How do you cut with scissors with your non-dominant hand? I'm right handed, and my left hand ain't worth spit.

SofaD, it's been a long learning experience. What kept me motivated was topics like this one.

I'm left handed. At first I couldn't remember to use my right hand. Then I got to where I could only use my right hand for straight cuts. I used my left hand for shapes and difficult cuts. I realized that my stance and how the fabric/furniture was set up was for a left hander. I had to change all that.

Today I use my right hand for almost all cutting. I'll use my left hand if my right hand is tired. I even use the electric cutter with my right hand without even thinking about it. I still use scissors at the sewing machine to cut thread with my left hand.

I'm starting to use my right hand more for using the pneumatic staple gun. It feels like I'm going through the same process as with the scissors.

gene


QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
cajunpedaler
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« #8 : June 21, 2015, 03:43:54 PM »

I am 60.  I'm female.  Average height and weight.  Not overweight, no real health issues other than the structural damage I've done to my hand, wrist and shoulder...My work table is 30" high.  My sawhorses, I just lowered by eight inches or so last year, so that when tearing down, I'm bearing down with my weight more and not just brute pushing from my shoulder. 
I've started taping an X over my wrist bone..It seems to help.  Seems to take up the slack where tendons have petered out.  I say tendons inside and manmade (elastic tape) on outside.  My friends tell me it looks cool...
After a couple of really hard days in the shop, I wake up with a painful numb right arm and completely numb hand.  All 5 fingers.  Not just the pinky and ring finger.  After some reading and researching, it appears to be TOS. Thoracic outlet syndrome.  Makes a ton of sense to me.  Recommendations are shoulder exercises...and you know that could help, I used to go to the gym and throw around a bunch of iron every day..
A big factor in my day to day assessments is the fact that I am deathly allergic to NSAIDS...that includes motrin, aspirin, naprox, alleve, all the ibuprofen products.  Whenever you go to a doctor for anything, usually the first line of defense is NSAIDs.   I do not like cortisone.  Haven't had that for about 5 yrs now. And of course, I won't even consider something habit forming.
About 10 years ago, I went to a chiropractor who did a lot of good for my hand.  I've had different issues with forearm, wrists, thumb...etc.
Finding help is frustrating.  If they are young or younger than us, trying to keep them off the phone is ridiculous.  One girl, I told her no phone while working, and I swear she went to the bathroom 80 times a day...(so she could sneak and check her phone).  The one that I have right now is pretty good, but I give specific detailed instruction on teardown and damned if he does it his way, which makes more work for me.  He gouges wood terribly, has no finesse with staple puller.  And when he leaves, just leaves stuff and tools laying all over, never picks up behind himself. 
I am in a really poor rural area and the hiring pool leaves a lot to be desired. 
I don't do and don't want to do enough work that I have to pay someone over 20 hours a week.  Hard to find someone that is ok with minimal hours.  I pay 12 bucks an hour, cash.  Better than Taco Bell or Walshit.
Oh well...
This past week has been better than previous weeks...I'm not in as bad of a funk mood as earlier...
Perry

If at first you don't succeed, redefine success. If at first you fail, redefine failure.
sofadoc
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« #9 : June 21, 2015, 04:14:12 PM »

The one that I have right now is pretty good, but I give specific detailed instruction on teardown and damned if he does it his way, which makes more work for me.  He gouges wood terribly, has no finesse with staple puller.  And when he leaves, just leaves stuff and tools laying all over, never picks up behind himself.
You just described my helper. He makes a big mess that I end up cleaning up. Sometimes, it takes me longer to fix all his f-ups than it would've taken if I had just done the whole teardown myself. I used to pay him $15 hr. But I've cut him back to $12, and he really isn't even worth that much. Once he's done enough work to buy a pack of cigarettes, his level of interest wanes considerably. I only tolerate him because he lives down the street with his mother, and is available anytime I need him. I don't have to guarantee him a minimum number of hours. I have another helper who is really good. But he has a full-time job somewhere else. So he is seldom available.

You seem to indicate that teardown is the main part of the job that affects your wrist problems. How about stretching and stapling fabric, and cutting with scissors?

Believe me, I know that gizmos like the Stripbit and the air chisel aren't always the answer. But if you relied more on tools like those, would it help extend the life of your hands?

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
cajunpedaler
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« #10 : June 21, 2015, 09:25:12 PM »

I have the Little Bantam air chiseler.  It works okay, but does a lot of wood digging. 
What hurts my hand is when I have to cut yards of welt.  I don't do a lot of vinyl stapling at this location..that used to kill my hand and my thumb. 
When I have to do a lot of stapling, that hurts my wrist.  I now watch all my position and grip..to make sure I'm holding tools and doing technique straight on, without twisting my wrist.
Perry

If at first you don't succeed, redefine success. If at first you fail, redefine failure.
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