How can the tools you use help you work more comfortably and more efficiently? John Dabb, sales and marketing director at Hyde, investigates, and gives you the chance to WIN a Wolfcraft MasterCUT600.
Routine tasks that tradespeople, such as carpenters, carry out every day can put a lot of stress on their bodies, which can lead to sprains, strain and ultimately downtime which can be costly all round. Construction is a high-risk industry for muscular injuries, with tradesmen including carpenters having one of the highest rates of soft tissue injury, including muscles, cartilage, nerves, or tendons being damaged from overexertion or repetition. Commonly known as sprains and strains, these injuries may start as minor aches and pains but can become quite serious.
Then there’s the strain that can be put on your hands too – no tradesman can work without their hands so looking after them and keeping them blister-free should be a priority, which means taking a look at your choice of hand tools.
The challenge is to work smarter not harder to avoid such injuries and improve efficiency. This is why the cost benefits of ergonomics are measurable and invaluable, and investing in quality tools that help relieve the strain – rather than leaving you feeling the pain – is important.
Using tools and machinery, and reaching for them, are some of the most common causes of soft tissue injuries among carpenters and, let’s face it, bending and stretching in awkward positions certainly can lead to back pain, which is no fun. Cutting boards, for example, is one sure-fire way to sustain a nagging back injury if you don’t maintain good posture; in fact, one of the most common causes of low back pain is frequent forward bending. This is because bending forward a lot can cause increased pressure on the discs in the back, and can lead to muscle aches and pains. There are some simple remedies, of course, such as changing positions regularly and alternating bending with non-bending tasks, but when working under pressure tradesman are often the last to feel the pressure they are putting on their own bodies – until it is too late.
Ask yourself, for example, how many times have you caught yourself bending forward in a static position or even cutting at ground level? Aside from risking damaging your toes into the bargain, not using a sawhorse or cutting table is a dangerous road that mainly leads to discomfort and pain. Here again though, making do with just any old worktable, or one that can’t be adjusted to a suitable height, is not logical either, as that bending and stretching will remain. The trick is to invest in a piece of kit that is height adjustable. The MasterCUT600 from Wolfcraft, for example, is a height adjustable clamping and working table that provides an ergonomic working position for all heights no matter whether seated or standing, so you can even take weight off your feet while working.
Sturdiness is key to a good worktable too – you don’t want to be holding it steady with one hand while attempting to cut with the other. Thankfully sturdy and stable are two traits that are common throughout the Wolfcraft range, which also includes the Master 700. Again, height adjustable, this clamping and machine table has a continuously tiltable table plate from 0 – 70° with quick and easy assembly, while the Z-design of the base frame facilitates ergonomic working when either standing or seated.
Foldable legs for ergonomic work on the ground with the Wolfcraft 2500 Mastercut, which can actually be used as a work-station, circular saw bench, guided circular saw bench, milling table, jigsaw table and mitre saw table. Thanks to its foldable, height adjustable legs even working on the ground is ergonomic. Setting up and clearing away such equipment can, of course, also cause strain physically, particularly when tackling bulky items. With the Wolfcraft range this isn’t the case as the tables can be quickly and simply folded away for space-saving storage.
In terms of hand tools, it is important to think comfort first – cutters, screwdrivers, hammers and others in the hand tool family should at the very least provide a cushioned grip and the best of the bunch will also be ergonomically designed to put paid to that debilitating hand cramp once and for all. Again, Wolfcraft comes up trumps here with examples such as its MegaCut Precision Cutter, which is shaped to fit naturally with the contours of your hand, has a cushioned grip and a spring-loaded safety cover on the front of the blade holder to guard accidental injury.
The key thing is to spend a bit of time thinking about how you work currently, how much of your day is spent bending and stretching and how an upgrade of some of your equipment could help get things back on the straight and narrow. A bit of investment in the short-term could pay-off big time in terms of your health longer-term.
WIN! A Wolfcraft MasterCUT600
Professional Builder has teamed up with Hyde to offer one lucky reader a Wolfcraft MasterCUT600. This height-adjustable clamping and working table provides an ergonomic working position for all heights. Other features include a larger table area thanks to an extension plate, an infinitely tiltable tabletop, a magnet in the MDF board for storing screws and nails and a robust base frame which can be quickly folded away for space-saving storage.
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