April 12, 2021

A New Workshop Toy

With the weather being so nice lately, I've been working in the garage as often as I can. I open the all the doors and get lost in a project. Unfortunately, this hasn't been great for my hands, so I've been trying to rest them until I can't help but go to work on a project.

I saw Becky on Easter and she showed Jerry a massage technique that he can do for me. Becky worked as a massage therapist while going through nursing school, and then she worked as an RN until moving here from Minnesota. So she knows quite a bit about the muscles and what may be going on with my arm/hand. And she doesn't think that the problem is my carpal tunnel; she thinks it's something called lateral epicondylitis ("tennis elbow"). That's when the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the elbow get inflamed.

I had tried telling the doctor that I felt like the pain was starting around my elbow area (I couldn't pinpoint it), but he didn't listen to me and he told me he was sure that it was carpal tunnel syndrome. Wearing the splint doesn't help much, and if it was my carpal tunnel, the splint should help with the symptoms.

Anyway, Becky said that she bet she could pinpoint exactly where my pain was coming from--and within about three seconds, she said, "Right here" as I gasped in pain while she pressed down. When she put pressure in that spot, my hand got numb and I felt the very familiar sharp, burning pain in my forearm. (It is possible that I have both tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome--I have the symptoms for both--but the tennis elbow seems to be where most of the pain is originating.)

She showed Jerry what to do, pressing his thumbs gently but firmly above my wrists, and very slowly sliding them up my arm along the muscle. She said she could literally feel the inflammation with her thumbs. It was painful, but it also felt like it was doing some good.

She told me that I should ice it a few times a day, which sounded painful to me--usually cold makes my bones hurt!--but I tried it and I was surprised at how good it felt. I hope that I am finally on the mend. I know I should be resting it more, and I have been--painting is what hurts the most, but I've only been cutting boards with the table saw lately.

And speaking of cutting down boards... I'm SO EXCITED because I now have a Dewalt thickness planer! It's been on my wish list for about two years, and I regularly check Facebook Marketplace, but nobody seems to want to part with theirs. They are never listed on there (or if they are, the price is the same or more than they would be at the store). Receiving the planer was actually a surprise...

Yesterday, Shawn (my brother-in-law) came out from Illinois to pick up our zero-turn lawn mower. When we were up north last summer, Jerry and I told him that he could have it for his and Jeanie's property in the upper peninsula. We wanted to get it out of our garage because it's so big and our yard is definitely not big enough to require something like that (we sort of inherited it from a family friend). It was nice to cut grass with, but not worth the space it took up in the garage.

Anyway, Shawn talked about giving me a jointer (another tool I'd like someday) in exchange for the lawn mower. I told him not to worry about it, that we were happy to give him the lawn mower.

When he arrived yesterday, he brought me a "present" (something in a black garbage bag). I assumed it was the jointer, and I said, "Oh! The jointer?" And he just said to open it. I was shocked when I opened it and it was a Dewalt planer! I was thrilled. It's in great shape and I'm super excited to use it.

It's ironic that I got it right after I used up a lot of my scrap wood on my scrap wood cabinet project! Haha, but I do need a table for the planer itself, so I plan to just use the cabinet for that. (The top that's on the cabinet in the photo above is just there temporarily--I am going to cut the edges flush with the cabinet.)

If you have no idea what a planer is (I didn't until a couple of years ago when I started making things out of wood) it's a tool that you feed boards through to trim them to a particular thickness while giving them a very flat surface.

When building furniture, like the cabinet, the planer would have been super nice because the boards would fit together better without any gaps where the board wasn't perfectly flat. A lot of the scraps I used for the cabinet were far from perfect, but still useable. Now, I can run boards through the planer to trim them to a consistent thickness and to flatten them.

If you had told me four years ago that I would one day write a post about how excited I am to have a thickness planer, I would have laughed at you! ;)

I have a date with YouTube tonight to watch some videos about the planer. Nerd alert!


  1. Glad you're getting some more answers about your pain. Hopefully, the massage and icing will help. Congrats on your new planer too. :)

  2. Thats awesome! I'm excited to hear what you make with this!!

  3. If you haven't tried a TENS unit, I highly recommend it. I overdid things at work a few weeks ago and got really bad arm and wrist pain, and the TENS unit I have was the single most effective thing (along with rest) to help. Massage helps a ton too, if you have someone able to massage the right areas in the right ways.


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