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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Woodworking with Cancer?


    I was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Does anyone know or have info on doing woodworking/ metalworking while undergoing chemo?

    I will ask my doctor at some stage but was wondering if anyone out there is/ has been in a similar situation.

    It's either woodworking or doing some homebrew that I know wont make the Mrs. Happy!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Cheltenham, Melbourne


    sEarlier this year, I went through Chemo for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Apart from tummy issue, which left me needing to be within a minute of a toilet during the first half of each cycle, I found fatigue to be an absolute killer.

    You may get different symtoms however. The only advice I can give, is that you will have to let your body tell you what you can, and can't, do.

    Sorry not to be more helpful, but everyone is different. Best wishes for your treatment, and hope all goes well. This is not a pleasant trip, but it is far better than the alternative.
    Last edited by chrisb691; 17th Oct 2011 at 10:35 AM. Reason: typo

    Life isn't always fair

    ....................but it's better than the alternative.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    near Mackay


    Hi NeroBass, I hope your treatment goes well.

    I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer in 2006, while I was recovering and getting treatment, I managed to complete a few small woodworking projects. As CrisB said fatigue is a major factor in how much you can do.
    Some days I would just go down to my shed and look at some timber and sit down, and couldnt do much at all. Some days I would just get out a handplane and take a few shavings off a nice board, and would get much pleasure just doing small things like that. Other days I could manage some jobs on one of the projects I had going.

    Just do things at your own pace, if you push yourself too hard, it would be easy to have an accident in the workshop.
    Hope it goes well for you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    kallangur qld


    HI Mate,

    I think That as long as you are able to use your hands and feel up to doing something, you should do what you can.

    Follow your doctors directions with leukemia , you will have lowered resistance to infections , keep away from timbers , that are irritant to lungs , skin etc, and wear a dust mask .

    you could mount a mini lathe on a bench at which you could sit , and turn, especially good for pens and spindle work, .

    best wishes ,


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Toowoomba aka Paradise


    Does anybody have experience with brain cancer and trying to turn pens? The large tumour that's on my left frontal lobe can't be removed. I also now have cortical dysfunction of the right parietal lobe in my brain. I have a Mini Jet Lathe that is awesome for turning pens however I haven't been able to use it since before August 2014. I live on my own and now I am afraid to try to turn pens as I discovered just today that I can't even do simple running stitch for an applique project that I am working on.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016


    My wife has a type 2 oligoastrocytoma on the back of the front left lobe. It affects many things. Tiredness and seizures are a constant problem. Due to the dangers of these, I've tried to get her interested in marquetry, fretwork or some other low-impact style of woodwork.

    Coordination and a lack of confidence seem to biggest hurdle. She lacks confidence.

    It was my thought that partnership style woodwork would be better than a complete end-to-end effort. I've often thought about this when I see bowl turners work with pyrographers or box makers with leather workers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    San Antonio, Texas, USA


    Take it easy and avoid inhaling wood and metal dusts, solvents, epoxy vapors etc. Avoid skin exposure to solvents, especially acetone, lacquer thinner and mineral spirits. Chlorinated solvents should be avoided completely (paint stripper, brake cleaner, carb cleaner, auto parts cleaner). Avoid Tylenol/acetaminophen containing products of any kind.
    Innovations are those useful things that, by dint of chance, manage to survive the stupidity and destructive tendencies inherent in human nature.

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