Gym membership vs life - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-16-2013, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Just curious if any of you have compared a gym membership to doing life by hand? I recently acquired a 4 1/2 foot one man crosscut saw. And started cutting firewood. WOW. Now I'm not the most unfit person, I'm 25 building a house working full time do excavating and always cut my firewood with a chainsaw and split it with only an axe, or maul. But these hand tools I've been using lately are for real. If you want to get a good nights sleep try cutting just one 8' pole into 12" firewood by hand. Using these hand tools (crosscut saw, planes, ax, froe, hand saws, and all other) seems to me to be a better exercise than the gym ever was. In the gym I worked only a few muscles. In life they all seem to get used. Any of you hand tool people gym goers? If so what do you find to be a better workout?

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post #2 of 18 Old 04-16-2013, 02:48 PM
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i hand plane a lot. my arms are buff.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-16-2013, 03:22 PM
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I watched Firemedic working one day when I was visiting his shop. I made this very comment. "Damn I could get rid of my gym membership if I used only hand tools."

So yes I agree with you on that one.
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-16-2013, 03:59 PM
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I retired from a desk job about five years ago and started building furniture with hand tools. I lost about 40 pounds, and now wear jeans the same size that I wore in high school. I don't think I need to pay for a gym membership. I'm in the best shape since I left the farm.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-16-2013, 05:09 PM
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I still work-out, mainly because It's in my job description to be in shape. I can't do my job if I'm winded after a flight of stairs. We have a gym at work and time allowances to get in there so there's no reason for me not to - but I dont go crazy with that.

That said, some days in the shop really do wear me out. Yesterday for instance, I got to the shop around 0500 and didn't get home until 1830. I stopped around 3 for a couple minutes to eat a sandwich but didn't take my normal 1 to 1-1/2 hr lunch break. Needless to say I was pretty whooped.

I find the work to be more cardio taxing than anything. When I started doing timber hughing demonstrations while talking I found out how important it is to pace yourself. I'd die on top of that log if I tried to work quickly while talking.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-16-2013, 10:26 PM
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I also do not go to a gym. As well as doing alot of hand woodworking a ride a bicycle daily (weather permitting). I started at 5 yrs old and still do it at 71.

Joe B. 41
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-16-2013, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Joeb41
I also do not go to a gym. As well as doing alot of hand woodworking a ride a bicycle daily (weather permitting). I started at 5 yrs old and still do it at 71.
Nice, that is inspiring. The only thing I've been able to do daily is get out of bed( weather permitting also). I have a bike. But not time. No Matter how I try to plan my life I never seem to have time or money, one thing fore sure, I have a happy family. That's all I really want.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-16-2013, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbo1234

Nice, that is inspiring. The only thing I've been able to do daily is get out of bed( weather permitting also). I have a bike. But not time. No Matter how I try to plan my life I never seem to have time or money, one thing fore sure, I have a happy family. That's all I really want.
Amen to that.
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-17-2013, 07:34 PM
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Excersize

I flared my nostriles 50 times this morning first thing.
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-18-2013, 06:43 AM
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I have been a cyclist and hiker for 40 years. I started lifting 20 years ago mostly to get my body back in balance. When I started woodworking a few years ago, I found that I really enjoyed hand tools. I found planes and hand saws fun and not particularly challenging physically.

I will be 68 next month and I shudder to think what my life would be like without all that training. I have known folks all my life who said "I work hard so I get all the exercise I need" and I have seen a lot of them deteriorate as they age.

We are training for old age, my friends; it ain't for sissies.
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post #11 of 18 Old 04-18-2013, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by HandToolGuy View Post

We are training for old age, my friends; it ain't for sissies.
I love that one !!!
And you are so right.
When we're young, we can do anything and quickly recover.
Now I do stuff and feel it for a few days and then if I have to do it again, I really feel it.
I'm very active in my shop and still contracting small projects.
I have a couple of stents, and take a bunch of meds.
...but I do a 1 hour cardio power walk every day.
If you treat your daily activities like a gym, you don't need to pay for one.

Learning more about tools everyday
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post #12 of 18 Old 04-18-2013, 02:16 PM
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I'm a wood carver who normally begins with shake blocks and log pieces. The rough work is work.
I think that log carving, by hand, is about as athletic as I need to be. It gets better and better as the winter rolls along. Couple of hours swinging a 30oz lead core mallet. Stopped for a breather and burst out laughing, knowing that I just could not pick up that mallet one more time.

I heat my home with a Harman P38+ wood pellet stove (love it.) I take delivery of 50x40lb bags in my front yard, 5 times each winter. Load 4 in the wheel barrow, into the downstairs and pick them up again to stack. Pick them up again to load the stove. 2,000lbs x 5 is actually 6,000lbs x 5 by the time they burn.

I know a couple of gym rats. They live for it. Whatever floats your boat.
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post #13 of 18 Old 04-18-2013, 06:21 PM
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I've read a lot of the posts and been thinking how I wanted to reply. By day I'm a physical therapist, so I know a fair amount about exercise and conditioning. Working fitness CAN substitue for the gym but doesn't always. There is a phenomenon referred to as specificity of training. Simply put, if you want to be a better runner, then run, don't swim. While working with strictly hand tools can develop strength and, to a lesser extent, cardiovascular fitness, I doubt that most of us who use hand tools do it often enough for long enough to get the maximum benefits. Now I'm not saying that it's not work, we all know it is. But for true cardiovascular beenfit you need an elevated heart rate for a length of time. As to strength, my only concern is that it is very unilateral. How many of you saw or hand plane ambidexterously? Now all that said, anyone using hand tools is getting more fitness from wood working than those using strictly power tools, but can we skip the gym? Probably not. Especially as we age.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-18-2013, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by sawdustfactory View Post
How many of you saw or hand plane ambidexterously? Now all that said, anyone using hand tools is getting more fitness from wood working than those using strictly power tools, but can we skip the gym? Probably not. :
I work in the shop for between 6 and 8 hours/day, and I do use a plane and chisels both right and left handed. I'm to right eyed to saw left handed. That being said, when Spring finally gets here, it will be time to get the bicycle out again.
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post #15 of 18 Old 04-18-2013, 09:29 PM
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I too plane and chisel left handed... and saw too. It's necessity for me.

I disagree with it not being much cardio, at least for me. Flattening large slabs and making long rips... Hughing logs with an axe... and at a pace necessitated to keep production up and profit up certainly keeps my heart rate up, or at least elevated above my resting rate.

While that's likely not true for everyone, each person knows what their circumstances are. I don't think the intent of the thread was for anyone to justify a pass but I could be wrong. If I am wrong nothing said here is going to keep someone in the gym if they don't want to be there.
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post #16 of 18 Old 04-18-2013, 10:02 PM
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True that. I know there are folks like yourself Jean who work hard enough to get the workout. And I don't mean that others don't as well. I just think quite a few of us, myself included, are too inproficient (makin up words as I go) with hand tools or just don't use them enough to get out of the need for the gym.

I also whole heartedly agree that you have to want fitness/healthy lifestyle. No one is going to do it for you. I recently had a come to Jesus moment and embarked on getting my sorry butt back in shape. I've lost 69 pounds since August, dropping 6" off the waistline and dropping the body fat percentage from near 40% to 22%. Cholesterol levels back to normal, blood sugar normal and on the lowest dose if blood pressure meds, just because of familial hypertension and doc not wanting me completely off just yet.

There's no way I could have done that without working out, either at gym or home. Nor could I have done it without significant dietary changes. Anyway, all I am really trying to say is do what works for you. Just be aware that you might need a little something extra.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #17 of 18 Old 04-19-2013, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think the intent of the thread was for anyone to justify a pass but I could be wrong. If I am wrong nothing said here is going to keep someone in the gym if they don't want to be there.[/QUOTE]

My intent for the thread was simply to vent that life by hand is hard but good. Today's conveniences such as power tools and technology certainly have their benefits but also their negatives. I have an extreme interest in not just old ways but learning to apply those ways to my life. But then again I have an iPhone and catch myself using it more than I want. I love old tools and the lore that goes along with them. At this point I'm my life I think the extra calories burnt at a gym would not benefit me. I'm 25 and about 145#. I have a metabolism that is through the roof. I counted calories for a while ad was averaging between 4000-4500 a day. I was shocked to see that. I have a very physical lifestyle especially in the summer when I have a rake or shovel in my hand for 8-10 hours a day. Then come home and grab a hammer after a good round of tickles with the kiddos. Then Try to find time for a round of ticked with the wife. I did try the gym for a while to tone my body but I was loosing too much weight. I'm 6' and I was down to 125# after the gym and had to call it quits. I must add that those 4000-4500 calories are not junk food. I try to rather very clean and healthy and my wife is an excellent cook.
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post #18 of 18 Old 04-19-2013, 04:19 PM
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I think that it's an advantage to be able to use planes or hand saws with either right or left, same with the carving tools. Tear out? Oh, well. . . go the other way. It gets pretty tedious having to turn the work around, again and again. A vise is of little help to me = most of my carvings are one of a kind but I have made a few pairs of things. Tying them to the bench seems unique to each one.
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