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Old 08-31-2014, 05:30 PM
Ken Ken is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 417
Default Recomendations for a friend in a wheelchair?

I have a good friend that made it through a few tours in the middle east. A couple of months ago he had a fall off of a ladder and is now paralyzed from the abdomen down. He will be getting out of rehab in a few weeks and I want to make a PBB for him. He loves woodworking and is struggling with how do do things again. Like most of us men independence is very important and we feel useless when it is taken away. He will need to be in a wheel chair when working. I would appreciate any suggestions on what type of configuration would work best and what to avoid.

I have a two bench system in storage that I built many years ago. They are both 24" X 48" and can be used individually, as a T, L, or inline for long rips. I was thinking of putting adjustable legs on them until a proper height can be determined, then building a solid frame with locking wheels for each bench. Or it might be better to start from scratch.

I am guessing that there can not be to much sme sticking out on one side so that the saw can be easily reached down the length of the table. any tips on how I should configure the sme's?

I have been giving considerable thought to what might work out but I know there will be a lot of trial and error.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:56 PM
Jim Pierson Jim Pierson is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Saranac Lake, NY
Posts: 108

This guy might be helpful
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:42 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 483

I've been making a multifunction table cart (mftc) with two extension tables and have been thinking about how to configure the SME's on the sides. On the cart, I have the SME's extended 1/2" over the top. This allows me to put a top on the 3/4" ply that form the sides of the table. It will be either a 1/2" plywood top and be flush with the tops of the SME's or 3/4" MDF top that will be above the SMEs. The mtfc plan has a couple of extension tables that can add on to the 24"x48" table/cart.

Here's the video of the cart, which I've modified somewhat using SME's and different measurements. It shows the attachment of the extension tables in various ways. More different ways to attach are at the tail end of the video.

The extension tables are simple to build and increase the flexibility of it. I'm not suggesting you make the cart, it would be too high. But the extension tables might be something to think about with a regular/wheelchair height pbb. These extension tables are very easy to handle, lightweight, etc. I think they will be easy to attach to the sides of the main table (cart) using connector extrusions or perhaps sliding t-nuts.

Right now I'm planning on putting the SME's on all four sides of the table/cart and have begun that process. But with the extension tables I'm going to put the SME's on two sides (24" and 48") and then plan to attach them to the cart in various configurations. If you look at the video for the cart you can see the various configurations of these tables. I plan to have one open top extension table since I really like the open top concept for clamping different shapes, etc. The other one will likely have a top, perhaps with track embedded in it to use in various ways for jigs, etc.

The way that this design differs from the PBBs with the sliding SME extrusions on the top is that it has a smaller footprint (24"x48") and nothing is sticking out. You can get extra width or length by adding the extension tables. I'm hoping these will be easy to attach. The are light and pretty maneuverable for me (I have some difficulty with my hands so lifting really heavy things a lot is something I should not do).

Dik has done some neat things with extension tables, too.

Another thought would be to use a paulk-style shelf under the top of the main table or the extensions. This would make it easy to put tools there and access them from a wheel chair. J Gowrie did this with his version of the mtfc. Here's the link:

The other thing that might be useful would be to have a set of sliding drawers/shelves that could fit under one end of the workbench, like the cart has. They are quick and easy to build, maybe a stand-alone unit that attaches to the table.

Last edited by Goblu; 09-01-2014 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:56 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 483

Oh, and Rick (bumpandstump) has some other kinds of extension tables made from track that are very light and easy to set up. I'm thinking extension tables as a general concept do away with the top-mounted SME sticking out but still give flexibility. There are various designs. Mine were made from all scrap except the extrusions, of course.

I just posted a section on the extension table on my MTFC thread:

Last edited by Goblu; 09-01-2014 at 10:29 PM.
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