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General Tools Access Line Offers Tool Access for Aging and Disabled Woodworkers
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General Tools access line General Tools' Access tool line, which includes this jointer, is part of a growing number of power tools made with the safety of aging woodworkers in mind.

The Access by General line of woodworking machinery customized specifically for woodworkers in wheelchairs was conceived just two years ago. “After a year or so of hearing these kinds of questions come up at trade shows and other venues, we asked ourselves why no one is making machinery for people in wheelchairs,” Norman Frampton, General’s director of marketing and communications, recalls. “It occurred to us that maybe we should be one of the first companies to do it.”

The company launched the Access by General line with five machines: a 10" tilting arbor cabinet saw, a 16" x 42" lathe, 15" drill press, 8" jointer and a 15" woodcutting band saw. “Our goal was to cover the basic machines for furniture making. The only machine we don’t offer at this time is a stationary planer, but planers are already at an acceptable height for most wheelchair users,” Norman says.

The Access line consists of pre-existing models: four are made in the company’s Drummondville, Montreal, manufacturing plant, and one is built overseas within its subsidiary General International line. In addition to modifying the tools to change conventional work surface and tabletop heights, two other big issues to resolve were safety and improved legroom. Power switches are relocated to make them operable from a seated position, and bases or columns were redesigned to accommodate a 22" to 24" seat height.

Currently, the Access line is priced the same as their conventional model counterparts. Your local General dealership may even be able to help you get your new lathe or band saw unloaded and into the shop. “That’s part of the reason why we choose to work with dealers,” Norman said. “They are able to provide that bit of extra service that might make all the difference in this situation.”

posted on February 1, 2011 by Woodworker's Journal
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2 thoughts on “General Tools Access Line Offers Tool Access for Aging and Disabled Woodworkers”

  • ken bird

    I have a friend who is paralyzed below the waist, but has upper body normality and strength. He is keen on making large dining room tables and such with previously planed all round lumber. Obviously he will need a full range of tools from table saws, mitre saws etc. Could you send me a list of those types, plus additional ones you supply that he would need in his work shop.

  • Chris Daniels

    I am currently active duty military still stationed in japan, I will be discharged soon because i'm newly confined to a wheelchair. my biggest dream is to have my own woodshop where I can teach others woodworking but with handicap accessible equipment at a minimum out there for a huge pricetag it's going to prove very difficult. I'm glad rockler stepped up to the plate with this line and I hope they keep developing more. I appreciate what you guys are doing.

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