I can see the line.... - Router Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2012, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Default I can see the line....

This thread is to those of you that may be following my posts and know that I have just started using my new Grizzly band saw. What you do not know is that I am visually handicapped and have been for most of my life and during my life I have had to find ways to compensate for the issue and I call the things that I do "work arrounds". For example, the biggest problem that I deal with is that my eyes won't adjust to bright light and so I have to wear sunglasses, now I am not talking about regular glasses, I mean especially darkened glasses, and not just one pair but two pairs of them, this cuts the light down enough that I am able to see well enough to drive and be comfortable, but I absolutely cannot drive without them.

Several years ago I had Lazic surgery in hopes that it would help, but all it did was make the problem worse, by worse I mean that I can't see well enough to read anymore. Needless to say I have a few problems when working in the shop doing woodworking, but I have my work arounds and have gotten by pretty well. Well when I decided that I wanted a band saw in my shop I was afraid that I may not be able to see well enough to cut along a line. The saw arrived this week and with my neighbor's help, it is set up and running, it was time to see if I had made a big mistake by buying an expensive tool that I could not use. When I tried my first cut , just cutting into a workpiece and attempting to follow the line that I had drawn on it. When I started, I was looking straight into the leading edge of the saw and while I did fairly well, but was not comfortable with it. I just thought, well more practice may help. Later in the day I tried again, and this time, for some reason, I began to watch the blade from a slight angle so that I was looking at the side of the blade, and this worked, I had no problem seeing well enough to follow the line. Then I drew a curved line and found that I could follow it alright too. What a good feeling I had, of satisfaction and excitment for my new band saw, I had my work around working, part of which is a high powered set of magnifying goggles in the form of a visor, but it worked.

Now please don't think that I have ever felt sorry for myself, the first time that I really realized that I had a serious vision problem was when I was 14 years old. I wanted to play baseball but could not and my dad took me to be fitted for glasses, and when that didn't help and he and I returned to the doctor to see if there was anything else that could be done, the doctor told me that there was nothing, I felt a big lump coming up in my throat and tears started to come into my eyes, my dad did the right thing, he told me in no uncertain terms to quit, don't start feeling sorry for yourself, it won't help, you are not blind, you will learn to deal with it so except it and lets get on with things.

Since I could not play ball, I decided to become a good shot with a rifle, I could do that, I could see well enough to shoot. Over the years I did very well with my shooting and was a pretty good competitor in competition, was on a rifle team in the Army and did well at the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio in 1959. Later I shot and competed in Precsion Benchrest Competition, I learned work arounds that allowed me to get by. The biggest issue that I had in shooting was that I could never read mirage and had to rely on my wind flags that are not as reliable as is the ability to read mirage.

Wood working became a new interest to me at age 71 and I have been really enjoying it.

Recently I met a man that is completely blind and he is a woodworker too, and believe me, he really has to use "work arounds". For example he told me that he has a ruler that talks to him, it is not highly accurate but does work well enough that he able to do enough work which allows him to complete some interesting projects, so when I get frustrated, I think of this man and thank God that I can see as well as I can.

Life consists of dealing with challenges one way or another and much of life's pleassure is dealing with the challenges what ever those challenges might be, we all have them one way or another.

I have one issue in my life that has made a great deal of difference and I mean a really big difference and that is an adjustment in my personal world view. Some years ago I learned that Christianity is not a religion. All religions teach that a person should try to be good in order to please their God. The fact is that nobody can be good, I mean really good and all attempts to do so will eventually fail. this is because of the fallen nature of man. Christianity is an understanding and excepting that God loves all of us unconditionally and understands our short coming, and because of his understanding, he does not condem us but just loves us. Understanding, I mean really understanding this, will transform one's life in a way that nothing else can. I am the first to admit that grasping this is extremly hard for most people and unless a person recognizes that he or she has a problem, they won't even try to understand what I am saying, it's just part of human nature or the fallen nature that we are all born with. I just wanted to take time a moment and share this with anybody that follows my posts.

Guess that I better close this off and get out to the shop and do some clean up, probably will make a few practice cuts on the new band saw too.

Jerry Bowen
Colorado City, T

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2012, 11:08 AM
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Hi Jerry,

As my signature says "A Disability Is Only A Disability If You Let It Be One", and you live like you should live. Enjoy the time we have on earth, don't let bumps in the road stop our journey through this short life. Let them briefly slow you down, then continue this journey we call life, knowing you are living everyday to it's fullest.

Your BRAIN Is The Most Important Power Tool In Your Shop. Turn It On Before You Turn On Any Other Power Tool.
A Disability Is Only A Disability If You Let It Be One
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2012, 01:31 PM
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Hey Jerry, hearing your story of your disability, reminds me of my best friend's (growing up) Dad. His Dad "almost" blindness, was caused by an industrial accident. He had some form of chemical splash in his face and it caused his eyes to be super sensitive to light. To go outside and the day, he wore a regular pair of sunglasses, a set of flip top sunglasses on the framed sunglasses, and then a pair of those throw-away dark dark sunglasses you get at the eye Dr. when you've had your eyes dilated. All three for outside, and inside he'd be cable to take off the throw-away pair.

I remember one time, when I was over at their house, one of his kids forgot about his conditioned, and took a flash picture of something in the house with their Dad near by. I thought he was going to kill somebody. He was totally in grave pain for a while. It took a while before I felt comfortable to go inside their house again. Unfortunately, my friends Mom had Multiple Sclerosis, and so his dad had to drive without a license for many years until his oldest child could drive.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2012, 02:25 PM
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Jerry, thank you for sharing your faith, though I am a christian also, there are times when I need a boost. Thanks for the 'lift' at just the right time,



He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2012, 05:27 PM
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Amen and Amen
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2012, 05:56 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to give us some more glimpses into who you are as a person and how that relates to wood working. In doing so, you have led me to understand both myself and the craft a little better. When comparing the experiences you shared with my own the occurrence of common ground is plentiful.

The most obvious similarity between the two of us is that we both experience more of a challenge seeing things than nearly (but not technically) all those in our company.

Like you, playing baseball was not an option for me. In my case I compensated by pitching the idea of a 'student manager' position to the coaching staff and though the position hadn't existed prior then, they bought into it, giving me a chance to participate.

Though I never had the self confidence to approach competitive shooting on an organized level, becoming exceptionally proficient with small arms is one of the ways that I refused to 'give up'. In my case it was developing the skill sets required to 'out shoot' friends and family in recreational competitions.

Following a cut line with a blade has always been difficult for me. Though I am just now catching on to it, my visual impairment had a hand in my preference for metal shop over wood shop. Operating a metal lathe and casting metals just don't require the same degree of visual acuity that common markup tasks do when working with wood. It is challenging for me to get the line in the right place to begin with. That being the case,
I simply use as many techniques as possible that don't require mark up. (The setting of fences, guides, jigs and what not).

It also just occurred to me that working with my vision issues has a huge impact on what the best way to cut a joint is.

wbh1963 is flowing with the grain in Arlington, Washington, USA

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2012, 07:22 PM
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Jerry, you did the right thing in sharing your vision issue with us. Your approach of looking at the cut from an angle is perfectly acceptable. Many people do it this way.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2012, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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This is in response to those of you that wrote back to me about my personal vision and faith issue. Just for a little more insight into the vision issue. I'm not certain of this but I believe that the problem began when I was about three years old, At that time my folks lived in Kansas on a farm, there was no running water in the house. One day my mother was pumping water from a well. I walked up behind her with out her knowing it and she came down with the big cast iron handle of th pump right on the top of my head. I went down and went into convultions, turned blue and I guess that I almost died. At leat that is the story that I was told later in life. Of course I don't remember anything about it. I've been to any number of eye doctors and they seem to think that the optic nerve was probably damaged when the accident happened.

Most of my life I was able to be corrected to 20/30 as far as my acuity was concerned but the light issue still required the use of very dark glasses. My vsion has slipped 20/80 now after the lazic surgery and maybe being 74 years old has contributed to the problem too.

I quit competitive shooting 30 years ago due to losing interest in it after losing a rifle range that I had been instrumental in building. It was on Federal land and we had acquired a usage permit for the range. In 1982 the land that the range was on was involved in a trade with a private land owner and the range had to be dismanteled. It was very disappointing for me but by then a lot of the challenge of shooting was behing me, I had accomplished what I had been chasing for almost 30 years and that was "what makes a rifle shoot" and during the time that I was involved in benchrest shooting I had learned a lot. The last rifle that I had built was a hot gun and it consistantly shot five shot groups at 100 yards that were under .250" and often did that well at 200 yards, we shot at both 100 and 200 yards. In that level of competition, the ability to read the wind conditions is an absolute must and the guys with good vision could and did use mirage to read what the the wind was doing. I could not read it due to my vision even though I could see a .22 caliber bullet hole at 200 yards even with my vision using a 30X scope. I relied on wind flags. The problemwith wind flags is that when the wind shifts direction, the flag does not respond immediately due to its weight, but you can detect it when watching the mirage if you have good enough vision to see the mirage. Consequently I often would get caught in a shift and lose a shot where another shooter with good vsion would not get caught.

I say all of this for a couple of reasons, first of course is that I like to talk about it, but because of the precison that is involved with that level of shooting I think of such accuracy when it comes to my woodworking interest. I often say that my expectaions in woodworking are greater that my skills or ability to execute, but such was the case when I began my shooting career. As with shooting or woodworking, the journey and the challenges along the way are what makes these endeavors interesting.

My interest in accuracy and precison is what has led me to my purchasing a lot of the tools that Incra markets, such as their LS fence positoning system, their miter gauge with fence and sled, their Mast R router lift and their dovetail jig. I do like good tools even though they may not be necessary to do what others do so well without them. So far, my first three years at woodworking have really been a joy and this forum is a nice addition to that joy.

As a man once said to me upon finishing a long conversation, "Thanks For Listening To Me".

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