Blind woodworker and power tools — it’s no oxymoron.

Reading an article the other day about blind woodworker Armando Del Gabbo of Kingston, ON, made me realize the determination and passion people have for this industry and their willingness to overcome any obstacle – even the loss of sight — to pursue it.

According to the article in the Kingston EMC news, the 64-year-old Del Gabbo credits his long-lasting love of woodworking to a shop teacher he had as a teenager at a school for the blind. While he enjoyed woodworking as a hobby throughout his adult life, since retiring from his job with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Del Gabbo’s pursuit of woodworking has become a full-time affair. In the woodworking shop built near his home, Del Gabbo manufactures everything from children’s toys and cabinets, to clocks and cradles.

Del Gabbo uses portable power tools such as circular and scroll saws, drills and a table saw, in addition to hand tools, to manufacture the products. According to the article, Del Gabbo uses pushers to ensure that his fingers remain at least 3 inches from the blades, and relies on templates and jigs for repetitive tasks. When taking measuring, he relies on a Braille meter stick or a talking tape that announces the measurements in increments as small as one millimeter.

There are very few industries that can inspire the love and devotion that woodworking instills. My hat’s off to Del Gabbo, and to all woodworkers, for the inspiration they bring to me.

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