The Shaft:

The Shaft

This is probably the homemade tool I use the most.  I have not written about it earlier because it is quite difficult to explain. If you have read the project called The Strap, the following should be easier to understand. I have limited use of my arms and especially my fingers.  The majority of time my hands are closed in a loose fist.  I have little grip and so am constantly frustrated by my inability to reach, grab and gain possession of objects.  I started out with the paper pickup and the rope and hook but each was kind of limited to a specific function.  I tried to create a tool that would allow me to reach and gain possession of a wide variety of objects.  Again this is the result of trial and error, frustration and a lot of modifications.  I wanted a shaft that would be stiff as well as light weight so I could easily manipulate it.  I started with the shaft of one of my son's broken lacrosse sticks. Do not confuse this shaft with the plastic one described in The Lacrosse Stick. These shafts are made out of aluminum, titanium or other lightweight metals which are very strong and very light.  Most lacrosse players have a number of shafts which they no longer use, so most likely it would be possible to pick one up for nothing. I wanted to place a hook on one end and I began by using another trap drag which I explained in more detail in The Strap.  It was too heavy to be functional.  I went to my friend Marshall Thayer and asked if he could make a single hook out of lightweight aluminum similar to the trap drag which he did.  I drilled two holes at one end of the shaft and screwed the hook in place.  One drawback of the lacrosse stick is that it is very smooth and difficult to grip.  After trying different solutions I decided to wrap the shaft in friction tape.  On the other end I wrapped tape around and around to act as a stop to help prevent it from slipping through my hand. Under the tape stop I also drilled a hole and placed a loop of tubular webbing to help prevent me from losing the shaft.  On the same end of a shaft where the loop is I attached an Universial Holder ($20.) for more control.  When lifting some objects it quickly became obvious that I would have to regrip the shaft in order to bring heavier objects to my lap or a table.  Adding another handle solved that problem. Notice that each of the adaptive handles face in a different direction.  This tool is multifunctional. Both ends can be used independently. As I said on my home page I am constantly revisiting the tools I have made. You can see in the pictures below I have replaced the telephone handle with Stops which make the tool more user friendly.

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Holder on Shaft

Universal Holder

Stops on the Shaft

Making a Stop

Closing a door

Gripping the stops

Made with Namu6