Anti Fatigue Mat

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Richard Wilabee, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Dean, I believe that you might be extrapolating well beyond the scope of the cited study. This was an engineering study and not a medical study. Besides, one study does not imply conclusive results especially considering the very narrowly focused scope of that particular study which was to evaluate the mechanics of postural stability as they apply to one particular mat -- a parameter that would not be relevant to many of the reasons that a pad would be beneficial. The fact that the study only used seven young healthy men is an indicator that their focus was not aimed at evaluating that particular mat for things that would be more relevant to common medical conditions of "more mature" (meaning most of us) individuals who are experiencing various problems from working at the lathe.

    Orthopedic surgeons prescribe gel pad orthotic inserts for shoes to treat various conditions such as plantar fasciitis. They also recommend the use of mats to help relieve discomfort for patients with various conditions.

    Or as John more succinctly put it, "to hell with the research".
     
  2. odie

    odie

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    Hi Stu......

    Actually, the hard rubber mat I have at work is what I got when I did ask for a mat at my work station! At the moment, all I care about is getting to my 66th BD next May......and retire. I'm now ready to pursue something that means something to me.....If I can manage to live for a couple or three more decades! :p

    ooc
     
  3. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    I have done 44 years of research as a Pharmacist. I would never sit and we do not get breaks. Yes the mats do help . For me it was always my knees. Wore leather sole shoes for 1st 10 years and then started using foam soled shoes. Then in addition they started building the pharmacy itself on concrete and no raised wooden platform. The mats do have a limited lifetime as the cellular structure on the foam will collapse. When I work w/o the mat I am much more worn out at the end of a 10-12 hour shift. Cannot stress how much us older folks (and youngun's too) need sturdy footwear.
    Bill try Neurogen for the neuropathy . As you know no cure only some relief.
    I cannot speak to gel mats, but I do like the thicker ones some stores use.
     
  4. john lucas

    john lucas

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    For too many years I had to photograph 900 to 1200 graduates. I stood on a hardwood basketball court and usually by the end I was dancing going from foot to foot to ease the pain. Finally I had the common sense to bring a Matt. It made a huge difference. It is the same Matt that I use at my workbench. That's why I'm a firm believer in them
     
  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Since there appears to be a lack of hard data on the subject, each of us needs to draw our own conclusion about anti-fatigue mats. My post was not intended to discourage anyone, just to suggest that increased cost might not translate to increased satisfaction. And to give Bill something obscure to chew on for a moment.

    Viewing the comments from several of the members that they would not have had problems at a younger age, seeing that my own feet no longer have the amount of padding on the sole that they did when new, and knowing that the sole of the foot is an amazingly sophisticated hydraulic cushioning system, I have a theory. Sometimes people develop a heel pain that is not related to a spur and which feels like a bruise. It responds very nicely to new shoes or insoles, and I believe that it's not strictly related to better cushioning, but from the cradling effect typical of contemporary insole design. More simply, the fat pad is splaying out and the cradle forces the natural cushion back underneath the heel bone. Back in the days when Gerald, like the rest of us, was wearing oxfords with leather soles, there was no cradle in the shoe, as there is in modern running shoes.

    So my theory is this: the mats help us older guys while standing on our poorly padded feet by re-establishing the cushion that was originally intended to be there.

    There may also be some positive effects from applying our weight to the floor at a variety of angles rather than strictly straight down. This would apply compressive forces to the joints and tensional forces to the ligaments, tendons and muscles in a multitude of directions, spreading wear and aches rather than concentrating them in a small part of us.

    More than anyone wants to think about. Bottom line: If it feels good, do it. (get a mat)
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks, Dean. All my years as an engineering manager, I had more than enough to chew on -- most not very tasty. I'm not convinced that the data you referenced is obscure -- just not relevant.

    The condition that you are describing could be a number of things, but it sounds very much like the typical symptoms of plantar fasciitis. If the pain is at its worst the first thing in the morning when your feet hit the floor it's almost a guarantee to be plantar fasciitis. I'll vouch for the fact that it can hurt like hell. The treatment is physical therapy that mainly involves stretching the calf muscle and fascia that wraps across the bottom of the heel from the back towards the front of the foot. There can also be pain in the arch. Comfortable padded wider shoes may help, but they alone won't completely fix the problem. It sounds like you have dealt with this problem too. If you search online there are simple stretching exercises that can relieve the pain, but the best solution is probably to have a doctor prescribe physical therapy.

    vs.

    OK, you've convinced me that using a mat would be a good idea. :) Money can soothe a lot of pains, so no reason to doubt that it might help here as well. :rolleyes:

    A lot of the problems of we "more mature" guys are back related and a pad will also reduce some of the shock loads that aggravate bulging discs.
     
  7. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    [/QUOTE]A lot of the problems of we "more mature" guys are back related and a pad will also reduce some of the shock loads that aggravate bulging discs.[/QUOTE]

    If you're my age, as I suspect you are, you are more likely to have dessicated discs, which shouldn't have enough content to bulge. Also less cushioning between vertebrae, and a good collection of hypertrophic calcifications and tight ligaments. Just more of the gifts that the decades bring.:(
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I have numerous spinal stenoses ranging from mild (whatever the heck a "mild" back pain could possibly mean) to severe. Too much using my back to lift heavy things when I younger and dumber.
     
  9. Richard Wilabee

    Richard Wilabee

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    Got my Gel Mat today it is really a nice quality mat, not to mention a 5 year warranty. All I could do is stand there for about 30 minutes simulating turning. My legs and back felt great but I won't be able to give it a really good test turning something until next week. A week ago I had my yearly Dermatology visit with the doc. He froze a bunch of bad areas on my forehead and I still can't wear my Air Shield yet. Darn sun here in the Palm Springs area.

    Rich
     
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Hmmmm . . . . I didn't even think about that. I went to the dermatologist today and had about two dozen actinic keratoses frozen on top of my chrome dome. I suppose that my noggin will be tender in a day or two. Well, I can't allow a little thing like that interfere with my turning. Only a week until the next club meeting and I need to have a snowman, Christmas tree, and several Empty Bowls before then, not to mention a few show and tell items to complete. At least it isn't a busy month. :rolleyes:
     
  11. Richard Wilabee

    Richard Wilabee

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    I know what you mean it does get sore. Since he did a bunch on my forehead I can't have the head band tearing at the areas he froze.
     
  12. Gretch Flo

    Gretch Flo

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    Me too, but still dumb about lifting heavy things, PT didn't help (as suspected), tingling, burning of left legVery low back pain worsens in the afternoon after carrying some things, or turning. May have to consult a neuro surgeon. 2 friends recently had spinal surg (spinal stenosis) with mini approach and doing very well.:p Gretch
     
  13. Craft Supplies USA?

    Rich - GelPro Anti-Fatigue Mat, item no. 104-820, from Craft Supplies USA? - John
     
  14. pat miller

    pat miller

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    I have a few of the Woodcraft mats spread around the shop- one at the lathe and agree that they are more comfortable (and warmer) than standing on concrete. They also have saved several pieces from certain destruction as they slipped out of my hands and hit the floor. That alone has paid for then several times over.
     
  15. Have a look at these Anti-Fatigue mats - the best I have found to date....

    After going through several different kinds of floor mats to serve the anti-fatigue function, from "cheap" to "not-so-cheap", the best mats I have found (they are in the 'not-so-cheap' category) are "Therapeutic Floor Mats" made (in Canada) of a urethane foam material (5/8" thick) with a special hardened (but resilient) urethane membrane coating on their upper surface. It stands up well to dropped tools (it laughs at dropped sharp tools like gouges and skews, and was not damaged), provides great foot traction/non-slip surface, and is industrial grade (literally) from top to bottom and side to side.

    They are called "Therapeutic Floor Mats" and sold by a company near Minneapolis, "Ground Floor Packaging". We put-in a club order for these mats right after the St Paul AAW Symposium, and had two pallets of them delivered for our members - not a single problem with any of them, and every member that has one, loves them. It is very easy easy to sweep-up chips & dust from them, and they do not provide a trip hazard. The company had a booth at the AAW Symposium in St. Paul, and sold-out of all of the product they had available at the time. Kurt Hertzog did a write up on them shortly after this symposium in Woodturning Design, if I am not mistaken.

    Have a look at: http://www.groundflr.com/products.html - specifically the "Runner Series". If interested, give Tim Tompkins a call for more information, quotes and shipping estimates. There is a link to the product and price list, but it appears to be from 2012 and may not have current prices in the downloadable pdf. I have a 4 ft x 6 ft mat under my Robust American Beauty (standard/short bed), and it works, well..... ...beautifully!!

    I hope this adds another high quality option for those considering the purchase of anti-fatigue mats - BTW - don't waste your money on the thin, non-foam ones (especially the snap together "tiles") because over time these degrade and roll-up at the edges and develop tripping hazards and are a PITA to clean up chips and dust from. Been there, done that, and never again.

    Good luck!

    Rob
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  16. Richard Wilabee

    Richard Wilabee

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    I didn't realize that Craft Supply carried them. I got the same thing on Amazon.

    Rich
     
  17. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't suppose that this means that the lathe itself is sitting on the pad ... or ... is it? It sounds like the pad is oriented so that you can work all around the lathe without needing to move it. Have you ever noticed any problem with dust from sanding making the surface slick?

    I'm wondering about the shipping on a quantity of one and if it could be rolled up.
     
  18. Hi Bill!

    All 4 legs of the AB are sitting firmly on the concrete floor. I cut a 4.5" square out of the 4' x 6' mat for the right front leg, and a similar notch along the left front leg at the left edge of the mat - these keep it in place, although it would just as easily sit there without these cut-outs. The entire mat sits under the lathe with "extensions" to the front and to the tailstock/tilt-away side of the lathe (for front and end position turning, respectively). If I can get a photo later today, I'll try to post it here.

    No problems with dust making the mat surface slick (with over 2 years of experience working on it). I think they could ship a unit of one via UPS - the mats are not that heavy, just awkward to handle given their size. All of our mats were shipped in boxes, rolled up - but ONLY with the hardened urethane membrane top surface OUT - they are explicit about this - rolling them up backwards WILL damage the foam 'bottoms' of the mats. Let me know if you have any additional questions. (BTW - I e-mailed Tim last night to see if there are any updates on prices or availability of their mats - no response yet.)

    The real question: ......2:28 am ? ? ? .... Night owl, eh?

    Rob
     
  19. Which One

    Rich - There are dozens listed on Amazon. Please provide more specific information - stock number, detailed item description, size, color, etc. Thanks! - John
     
  20. Images of Therapeutic Floor Mat Installation

    Bill, et al.

    I was home at lunchtime and took a few phone pics of the floor mat in use with my American Beauty. The images below give you an idea of how I made the cutouts mentioned above. I was mistaken in my comment above; my floor mat is actually 3 ft x 6 ft. - I could not use a 4 ft. depth due to other constraints on shop use.

    (Note: The shop is rarely this clean; on this past Saturday (Oct 18th) I hosted an open house/shop tour for our local woodworking club, and I spent some time cleaning. Please don't get the false impression that I am an overly tidy woodturner - safe, yes; but tidy, no....)

    I did get a reply from Tim Tompkins this morning, and the prices listed in the file downloadable from his web site are still current; he is still taking orders for the Therapeutic Floor Mats, and will also be able to answer questions about shipping, etc.

    I hope this helps!

    Rob

    Floor Mat 1.jpg
    Floor Mat 2.jpg
    Floor Mat 3.jpg
    Floor Mat 4.jpg
     

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