Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chronic Injuries? A hobby can help.


Hobbies for an injury time-out.  I began to feel some stiffness and some sensitivity to squeezing pressure in my right achilles near the end of 2011, so I began to back off from running. Backing off wasn't enough, and three months later I committed to not running for as long as it took to heal. Chronic achilles tendinitis/tendinosis can take a very long time ot heal from, since it's difficult to fully rest the achilles for long enough. Even cycling was causing problems for me, and slowing my healing process, so I pretty much went cold turkey.

During the last couple of months, I've been playing a ukulele I was given on my birthday in May, and ultimately decided I could build one. Having such a pursuit was nice for someone like me, because I tend to get very focussed on hobbies, geek out, and forget about other things. Since I've found with chronic injuries, this can lead me to "test" things out too much, too soon, and thus healing is prolonged. So, having something else grab my interest so completely was a nice way to "forget" about running for awhile.

Not only have I given myself better healing opportunities, but I've also kept myself preoccupied with other things, so I'm not down about having to rest so long.

Besides, now I have a really nice hand-built custom ukulele. Well, I did rough out some of the parts with power tools, but the shaping and assembly was all done by hand, with hand tools.  I even resawed some of the wood used from larger stock. Here are some pictures of my new uke, which looks and sounds great.

Sitka spruce soundboard, rosewood fretboard and bridge (with ebony pins)
Bookmatched African mahogany back, rosewood heel cap
Bookmatched African mahogany sides
Custom designed, headstock, veneered for good looks
Gotoh Mini-Tuners, African mahogany neck
Cool label I had fun with

So, not bad at all for a first build. The good news is that it turns out I'm pretty good at building ukulele's, so if you read this and decide you want me to build you a custom instrument, don't hesitate to inquire.

The bad news is that my achilles still has a ways to go. It just doesn't seem quite as bad since I have other hobbies to fill the void while I continue to recover.

Cheers all.

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