Needing reasonable accommodations can’t and shouldn’t stop you from the wide world of routing. Accessible shop features and tools are mostly easy to come by – and even those designed for typically abled people can almost always be adapted to work for you. Routing is for everyone, and accessible routing is within reach. Whether you’re working on setting up a shop for yourself or trying to make a public use space accessible to all, it’s almost as easily done as said.
Tabletop routing has its advantages, the prime one being that it requires considerably less strength or dexterity to manage. When designing an ADA-compliant or accessible routing space, the height and depth of your routing table matters.
Any work bench or table that’s between 28 and 34 inches tall, with at least 27 inches of leg clearance between the floor and the table is required. A clearance of at least 30 inches between the table legs makes it an accessible table, allowing for clear access to wheelchair users.
A deeper table isn’t always better. The depth of your routing table needs to handle your router but leave everything within easy reach of those who may be unable to stand, bend, reach or grab at a distance. Depending on your router setup, you may have to add an additional accessible workspace next to your router to keep tools in easy reach.
Oneway Sit-Down Lathe
The Oneway company betrays its name and leads the industry in showing that there really isn’t just one way to do something by being one of the only companies to offer a lathe that’s usable whilst sitting. For wheelchair users, this is a boon and makes using a lathe possible without adaptive equipment. At just under $3,000, it’s considered a high-end lathe and not an entry-level tool, so just be sure you’re committed to the art of woodworking prior to investing in one.
Reach and Grip Modifiers
Whether you need a little extra reach to operate your equipment, a little extra strength to hold it or another adaptive solution to help you be comfortable in your routing workshop, there’s plenty of products on the market designed to modify the reach and grip of tools.
Whether it’s gloves and clamps to add more “oomph” to your hand, easy-slip straps to allow you a better hold on the tool (while still letting you remove your hand easily to avoid accidents) or extending or telescoping arms to help you reach what you need, companies like Disability Work Consulting can help you deck out your workshop.
Some things sound like a bad idea until they’re put into practice: for example, a self-driven, remote controlled, rail-guided saw like most of those made by Mafell. The company uses remote control technology to make woodworking safer and more accessible to all, allowing users various means of control to start and stop their saws. From panel saws to circular saws, the company offers different models to suit your routing and woodworking needs.
Routing – and woodworking in general – is one of the most accessible trades with a variety of adaptive technologies and solutions to help you bring your ideas and creations to life. With a little searching and viewing how others have made their workshops more accessible, you, too, can create an accessible routing space that allows any person of any ability to give routing a try.
Do you have a favorite accessible routing tool?