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Thread: Hnadicap/disabled furniture?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Hnadicap/disabled furniture?

    I was wondering if anyone here has any input on this subject. I am not looking for a debate. Here is the thing. The owner of the house I am working on is disabled and spend most of his time in a wheelchair. What I am looking for is plans or different ideas for making things like dressers, cabinets and other items. He is willing to pay for all the materail and would like me to start building some for his house and to sell to others like him. Any ideas? If possible plan on keeping the end cost down as much as possible.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    Al I would think that we should be able to come up with some plans here on the forum but need to know what is required to fit the wheelchair under a desk etc. Height,width. There must be some specs opn some gove site or some web site for the difrently abled.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Dec 2008
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    falcon heights, minnesota
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    one would think that lowering the hieght of the tops of kitchen cabinets, dressers would be a first step. any ideas you can come up with, send the dimensions and i'll give it a shot in sketchup.
    benedictione omnes bene

    www.burroviejowoodworking.com

  4. #4
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    Dan,
    I don't know if you would lower the top or raise it to accomidate the chair going under the top. and I don't think a standard width would be wide enough. I did find some info here
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Austin, Texas
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    I built a "special needs" bed for a boy who had grown too large for a hospital bed... basically a queen size bed with side rails, but there was a lot of discussion about what should be accessible on shelves (over the pillow), and what had to be out of reach so it wouldn't be accidentally hit or tipped during the night. So I guess the bottom line is "it depends." See www.plesums.com/wood/bedroom/specneedbed.html
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Cedar Park, TX
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    I built an accessible baby bed for a wheel chair bound couple at our church a while back. In addition to having to allow for the space under the bed to allow them to get close up to the bed, I used a pair of sliding "guard rail panels" for one side instead of the typical drop down guard rail set-ups. This limited access to one end of the bed at a time, but was better, I felt, than having hinged guard rails that had to swing outward or bifolds which would be more difficult to secure when closed. Since there was no need for easy access over the rails, I increased their height of the guard rails substantially as a guard against the baby climbing over them.

    Here's a pic of the baby bed as I was delivering it.


    For furniture pieces with wide doors I would recommend sliders or bifolds.

    I am currently replacing the wood on a metal and wood outdoor bench for them and the wife, who has some mobility out of her chair, would like to be able to get from her chair onto the bench more easily. For her, this means raising the bench seat by several inches. I'm thinking this through right now and am considering attaching a pair of 4X4 skids to the bottom of the legs.
    Last edited by Jerry Palmer; 08-15-2009 at 02:49 PM.
    Jerry

    http://www.sawdustersplace.com

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet

  7. #7
    Al,
    A great resource for accessibility info is a later edition of Ramsey/Sleeper's Architectural Graphic Standards. It's a pricey book, but your local library should have a copy.
    http://www.amazon.com/Architectural-.../dp/0471241091

    If you "click to look inside" then click "first pages". There should be an example of some of the info. (click zoom at the top of the window to see the dimensions.)

    Wes

  8. #8
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    living in Cabrils, a small town 20Km. away from Barcelona, Spain
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    Apart from what has been said, I would talk a lot with the guy who's going to use them. He's the one who knows best its limitations and small little details that we would miss.

    For instance, apart from lowering the height of the pieces, depending on its use he may need to go under them with the wheelchair, maybe there is room for his legs but not for the armrests of the chair.

    Depth is another dimension to consider. Opening and closing doors and drawers is not as easy on a wheelchair that standing. When we open a cabinet we either strech our arm or we retreat a bit, those simple movements are not that inmediate on a wheel chair.

    Designing for handicapped people is a great challenge and unfortunately not addressed and solved properly most of the times.
    Best regards,
    Toni

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________

    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Thanks all. For his limits, he has/had broken his neck and back in a acceidental at a fabercation shop. He can use his hands some, but just two fingers work on rigth hand. Chair is a motorized on that allows him to tilt front/back and raise around 14". The width of the chair is 29-1/4" For the cabinets, we(he) thinks a 8" over hang on the counters will work best. All the doors are 30" wide and the casing is taking a beating. So, We are going w/ 36" doors. Thses are the main things for now. One of the perks of this jobs is access to his home metal/wood shop. Will try and get some pics on monday or tuesday when I am there again. This is the first job where I do not need to bring any tools as the owner has better/more tools then me.

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