Turner's Elbow - what is it?

Turner's Elbow - what is it?
If not mistaken, it's not the same as Tennis Elbow. I've heard it
mentioned, and a few websites have tools they claim will help or prevent.
I took a week long class, and developed a wicked pain in my elbow. It gets
better, and then worse, seemingly without reinjury. I wore an
unprescribed armband (Band-IT) but had to wear it in differently that
recommended for TE, and while it helped a bit, it made my upper arm
Reply to
Yep, tendonitis. Relief from NSAIDs if you can take 'em, and rest/compresses. Prevention by decreasing the load on the elbow and forearm. My solution is to forego sage tool advice and cut everything with my hand at a spot midway between my navel and my nipples, which is to say with my elbow relaxed, and not to "make the shavings fly" which means having to overcome the forces which would release them plus applying enough extra to send them airborne.
Slow the lathe, cut the wood as it wishes to be cut, and tune your tools to allow you to turn with a mild upward flex. I think you'll find, as I did, that the tool and tool position which stresses your elbow least also produces the smoothest surface.
Reply to
I'm with George.Tendonitis or inflamation of the tendon comes from repeated small shocks. turn gently, sweet Afton, or Patrick, or whoever :-) As Frank Pain said, "cut the wood the way it wants to be cut." Let it flow, no need to force it. Tools, lathes and nerves all last better, not to mention elbows. ______ God bless and safe turning Darrell Feltmate Truro, NS, Canada
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Reply to
Darrell Feltmate
Hi Pat
Yes like George and Darrell say, but then there is the other turners elbow, spindle turners or between center turners do get them the most often.
Only remedy for those is to take the sharp center out of the tail stock before you jam your elbow into it. Have fun and take care Leo Van Der Loo
Reply to
Hello Patrick,
Here is how I solved this problem for me. It may or may not help you, but I offer it in the hope that you will benefit from my experience...
Several years ago this was a big problem for me as well. As a production bowl/platter/hollow form turner, I turn a significant amount of wood every day and over time, I developed the dreaded "Turners Elbow". Like you, I tried several of the armband type of devices, but they offered little relief and were a pain to use.
Since I turn professionally, a bad elbow was not acceptable, so I began to look at every phase of the turning process to see where I might improve. I finally settled on sharpening as the culprit, the fact that I was not doing it frequently enough. If you think about it, the only thing that moves the gouge through the wood, is your movement of the tool. If the edge is dull, or not as sharp as it can be, you have to push harder to make the tool cut.
Over time, (like your week long class for example) this can strain the ligaments, muscles and tendons in your arm causing the problems you mentioned. If you turn a lot, or for extended periods at a time infrequently, you are causing repetitive motion stress to your body. The key for me to eliminating my "Turners Elbow" problem was to simply sharpen more often, about four to five times as much as I had done previously.
If you think about it, when the gouge is fresh off the stone, it really glides through the wood... As the edge begins to wear, it requires more effort to push/pull it through the wood to make the cut. This extra effort can really do a number on your arm if it happens regularly. However, if you are always using an edge that is really sharp and you keep it that way, your body will appreciate your efforts.
Today, I turn during the production season up to 20 hours per day without any problems. In fact, I've never had the problem again after I altered my turning/sharpening protocols. Before I made these adjustments, I suffered from "Turners Elbow" for about five years on and off. At times it was so bad that I could not turn at all and other times, it was just a real pain. I've been pain free for several years now and my studio's total output is several times what it was when I started years ago. Give it a try. Good luck to you and best wishes in all of your woodturning endeavours!
On 9/18/06 10:09 AM, in article
Reply to
Steve Russell
I'm not really sure if this would apply to the elbow, but I used to have quite a bit of shoulder pain and stiffness when I was doing a lot of turning.. After some research here in the group, I tried a few slight changes in the height of the lathe until the pain stopped...
This was with the mini on an adjustable table.... As the turning gods would probably predict, when I got the Jet 1442, the spindle height within a 1/2" of where I'd adjusted the mini too... whodathunkit? Mac
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mac davis

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