By Cynthia Clearwater
No one can deny that working with metal is hard on the hands. Gripping small pieces, filing, sawing, chasing, bending, forming, etc., all take a toll on the digits and palms of your hands. I found a cushioning material that is easy to apply to tool handles to relieve some of the pain of metal work.
Closed-cell foam tubes in various diameters can be found on Amazon or at your local medical supply outlet. Occupational and physical therapists use these tubes to make it easier for their patients to grip the handles of toothbrushes, cutlery, pens and pencils, etc. The tubes are easy to cut with scissors to the proper length, machine washable if they get dirty, provide a firm grip, and are inexpensive. If the tube is not quite the right diameter, you can cut up the center of the tube with a scissor to spread it around the handle of your tool (a little duct tape wrapped around and you have your cushioned handle. Wetting the handle with water first makes it easier to slip the tube over the handle.
The company name I found on Amazon is “Ableware” but there are other manufactures as well. Google “closed-cell foam tube” and see what comes up.
Happy hands take the work out of metalwork!
Cynthia Clearwater started her second career as a metal artist in 2005 after retiring from her professional career as an administrator at UC Berkeley. She works with gold, sterling silver, and gemstones, and loves the challenges of fabricating pieces from scratch. Her goal is eye-catching and soul stirring minimalist design.