Sunday, October 07, 2007
More Ergonomics of Wood Engraving
I constructed a stand out of plywood (left), with a slightly inclined surface for the block and a lower shelf in back for a lamp. I covered the sharp edges of the stand with foam plumbing pipe insulation (the gray strip at the top edges) and adhered them with acrylic contact cement. To keep the stand from slipping on the Formica work counter I used a piece of rubber nonskid sheet beneath the stand.
This system has been working very well, with no complaints from my back or neck. Then a few months ago I began noticing my right shoulder was aching and as time went on it was getting worse. I couldn't figure out what was causing the pain until I realized it was because my arm was constantly raised as I engraved. The stand is putting my shoulder in an awkward position for hours at a time, day after day, week after week, and causing the pain.
I've learned that I need to change my working position periodically. I've changed back to a conventional chair and am working at the level of the work bench and the pain in the shoulder is gradually disappearing. I plan to change between these two work positions monthly, to eliminate the stress.
"A change is as good as a rest."