Turning and Rehabilitation: Woodturners Aid Individuals with Brain Injuries

We recently got the following correspondence from Erica Perry and Dan Konyn of the Huron Valley Woodturners (http://www.huronvalleywoodturners.org/) in Dexter, Michigan:

Huron Valley Wood Turners discovered 3 years ago an avenue for community outreach that was both enriching for the traumatic brain injured clients of Eisenhower Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan, (http://www.eisenhowercenter.com) but also very fulfilling for the membership that volunteered there.

We began by sharing an old lathe, wheeling it into their courtyard. But client interest picked up so quickly that Eisenhower Center created a small workshop in the back of one of their residential buildings so that the program could continue throughout the year.

With having a dedicated space now, the wood turners began to donate tools and other woodturning equipment to the workshop.  This was helpful to those clients who could stand up but there were three clients who very much wanted to learn woodturning but were wheelchair bound.  Getting close enough to the lathe was very problematic for them and for the instructors and severely limited the scope of their projects.

Looking through woodturning magazines, we discovered the Robust Scout lathe, particularly outfitted for folks in wheelchairs.  Through several donations and Brent and Deb English’s (Robust) generosity, Huron Valley Wood Turners were able to procure a Scout lathe.  The Robust Scout is extremely versatile, stable, and wheelchair user-friendly.  And the universal stand accommodates clients at different heights and angles.  Our wheelchair clients are now turning bowls, thermal cups, and other ambitious projects which they sell in their summer craft fair.  They show up for the twice-a-week turning sessions half an hour early and several have told us that this is the most rewarding of all the therapies offered at Eisenhower Center.  Their pleasure in working with the Robust Scout is witnessed in the accompanying photos.


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