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bonewalk

Hello from Canada

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Hey all;

A friend of mine, Brett the Bonecarver, from NZ told me to check out the forum. Glad I did! I carve in bone and antler, mostly small scale, but some larger. I have some moose antlers here that I 'm getting up the nerve to start on. No pics to post yet, sorry.

I've been stalled out artistically due to health problems, and I'm hoping the forum will help kickstart me.

Here's hoping!

Lana Klassen

Bonewalk

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We all need a kick start now and then- myself included lately. People on the forum are a great help for inspiration, encouragement and comradery.

 

Welcome!

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Hi, guys;

LOTS of inspiration; the work posted here is just mindblowing.

I'm going to ask a question here for lack of knowing where else to put it. The health problem mentioned earlier involves my carving arm and hand - I have been developing a numbness when I carve, to the point where I can't feel myself hold the tools. I mostly use power tools, with some handwork to finish things off. It doesn't seem to be from the powertool vibration, as the cramped, intense position used in the hand tools also brings on the numbness. I've been tested for carpal tunnel - not the problem. Maybe it's time for a second opinion on that, I don't know. I've also had a massage therapist suggest that the problem is further up the arm, where the shoulder seems to be held too far forward, which restricts blood flow to the arm and hand.

I can't carve for longer than about 1/2 hour at a time now. I used to be able to go for hours on end. I hate not being able to carve!

Does anyone out there have a similar experience? What helped?

Thanks

Lana Klassen

Bonewalk

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Hi Lana,

 

As to your medical problem, all I can think of is for you to have someone take a couple of photos of you at your carving station and in carving position, side, back and front views. Maybe seeing that, someone here on the forum can suggest a way of helping if it turns out your workholding situation or posture are at fault.

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Hi Tom;

I can't post pics of me at work (or anything else) due to lack of technology. But, I did try out a different posture when carving today, and experienced much less trouble than is now usual. Seems silly to not have tried that already, but there you go! :( I will have my sister, who is a massage therapist, watch me while I carve, and give her opinion as well.

Thanks for the comment. It may seem like a little thing, but if it means I can get back to my carving, it will mean so much to me.

Lana

ps: the piece I worked on tonight is turning out very well, no doubt due to the inspiring art on display here. It's a relief carving of an owl in it's hunting stoop, meant to be worn as a pin- dimensions 1 1/2" by 3/4"

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Hi Lana,

 

I am sorry to hear that you are having such difficulties. It sounds like repetitive stress to me. I carve for hours on end, these days up to twelve hours. Not a normal day, but fortunately I am managing with it. The worst on my hands are the first days, with the power tool used in a constant manner.

 

This year I think the difference is that I am taking Yoga lessons, and take stretching breaks once or twice a day, and will do a simple thing to release the upper back while sitting hunched over the carving for hours (snap crackle pop and back to work). A little relaxation helps the mind as well. I am not a mystical beliefs person, but I do find the physical effort of slow and controled stretching and weight-bearing challenges very positive. I try to use positions which focus on the various areas that are stressed by hours of sitting. Upper and lower back, my butt, well even my fore-arms. Whole body attention relaxes and wakes me up. (I might sneak in a 10-20 minute nap during the relaxation part on a long day of work)

 

If it is as simple as modifying your position, that would be very great for you, indeed! Do try to learn about what carpal tunnel syndrome is and other related repetitive stress ailments might look and feel like. I've just Googled "repetitive stress" and came up with many good references that you could review. Carpal tunnel is just one of many maladies resulting from... go have a good read!

 

You speak of power tool vibration. Do you have a low or high end quality machine? The more expensive power micro-grinders are smooth and more comfortable to use. I upgraded after years of using a hardware store variety Dremel flex-shaft tool. The improvements were and still are dramatic. Instead of struggling to keep the hand piece from vibrating off the carving, the new hand piece is steady and does not wimp out with pressure. We all will have suggestions about microgrinders if you have questions. Start a topic in the Tools & Technical area. (Most of my work is with hand tools, while the power tool is used the first day followed by days to weeks of hand tool work.)

 

I do wish you good results with any changes you can make!

 

Janel

 

PS I am happy that The Carving Path is a source of inspiration for you!

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Hi Lana, great to see your postings on the site, bummer about the health issue. I have in the past year had a bit of nerve pinching numbness in my arms and have a good friend who is a very good osteopath. She worked at my shoulder and found some of the muscles very tight so working them started to relax the shoulders and the follow on down my arm was very noticable. Also alot of muscles in my forearm needed releasing, especially my left arm which does much of the holding and minimal movement, like a vice. I was working hard out carving aerated cement block for garden sculptures using heavy tools repeatedly agrevating the problem. What Janel said about stretching is very important and I try stretching out my arms every day. By concentrating on my shoulder stretches I feel the blood and nerves being worked all the way down my arms. I do recomend a visit to an osteopath who are very good at tracing those problems. I'm doing good now but have changed my activities lately to bronze casting and now have a full time job again in the costume props work on the childrens tv production of 'The Power Rangers' so very different activities(currently making muscle suits using spandex, foam and thin neoprene). Cant wait to get into carving more mammoth ivory tho.

Hope the problem dissapates for you, good luck and best wishes, Brett

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Lana,

 

Boy, can I empathize...I have been suffering from a similar problem. I use alot of power tools in my proffesional carving work( large movie set sculpture ) and it has gotten much worse in the past few months. I thought it was impingement in my elbow, but after several scans and tests it has been determined that it is my neck! I have several bulging discs preseeing on the root nerves feeding my carving arm. I have been sidelined from work for about a month. The "pasive" treatment has been a series of epidural injections in the cervicle spine. They have helped, and still see more therapy in coming weeks. The horibble part is I can't even work on MY art while I'm on the mend, holding any carving tools for more than ten minutes gives me hell....The reason I'm posting is, I have a hunch that the problem is not in your shoulder, look higher. I was absolutely positive that my elbow was the scorce of my pain, numbness, cramps,etc...Do you have any radiating pain in you neck? I didn't, just an annoying little earache that seemed to have no cause. The hand bone is connected to the neck bone.

 

Good luck!

 

Derek

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