Hand exercises for spoon carvers

Spoon carving places a lot of stress on your hands. Below are some of the exercises that I use on a regular basis to stretch and strengthen my hands and avoid injury, they’re great for whatever craft you do, not just spoon carving; it’s surprising how little we look after our hands.
I’ve learned these over the years from various teachers and my own research; the sources below were simply selected for the clarity of their photos.

Most of the exercises are very simple and can be performed anywhere. As always, listen to your body and keep within your own limits.

finger lifts
finger lifts hand exercise

fist & open
open fist exercise

Forearm Extensor Stretch: Place your hand in front of your body with the elbow straight and the palm down. Let gravity bend the wrist forward. With your other hand, gently push the wrist further until you feel a good stretch. Hold for 30-40 seconds. Close your fingers gently to increase the stretching sensation.

Spacer

Forearm Extensor Stretch with Full Pronation: Same as above but rotate the palm outwards as if you are swinging the small finger up towards the ceiling. Hold for another 30-40 seconds. Close your fingers gently to increase the stretching sensation.

Forearm Flexor Stretch with Pronation: Place your hand in front of your body with the elbow straight as if you are saying “stop”. Support the hand being stretched with the other hand. Relax the muscles of the arm being stretched so they are not activated. Gently push the wrist further with the other hand until you feel a good stretch. Hold for 30-40 seconds.

Forearm Flexor Stretch with Supination: Begin from the “stop” position with the fingers pointing up towards the ceiling. Swing your fingers out and rotate your arm until the fingers are now pointing to the floor. Make sure the muscles are relaxed and not pulling the wrist back actively. Gently push the wrist further with the other hand until you feel a good stretch. Hold for 30-40 seconds. This forearm stretch is often the most uncomfortable for people to perform. If necessary, bend the elbow to make this stretch more comfortable.

ulnar nerve exercise

Ulnar nerve exercise

Your ulnar nerve travels from your neck down into your hand, can be constricted in several places along the way and gives feeling to the little finger and half of the ring finger.

Use this superhero pose to exercise it.

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/oa-treatment-options-12/slideshow-hand-finger-exercises
http://www.handhealthresources.com/Solutions%20Pages/Exercises.htm
http://www.cultv.com/music/rssi.htm

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About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
This entry was posted in spoon carving, SteveTomlinCrafts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hand exercises for spoon carvers

  1. Eric Goodson says:

    Great post! Thanks for this. I am new to carving and have been surprised at the numbness and loss of feeling I get after a lot of carving.

  2. Ash says:

    This is a great post & will help a beginner (me) overcome the stresses & strains of carving.

  3. graemeu says:

    Very thoughtful of you to put this up. It would be useful to people doing barefoot horse hoof trimming too.

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