What Difference a Day Makes

It’s six weeks since my hand surgery so yesterday I returned to Pulvertaft Hand Clinic for a review. It’s a two-hour drive each way which in UK terms is the equivalent of driving halfway across my home state of Texas which in a straight line north to south is 800 miles but here a mere 110. It’s all relative; I’d rather drive a Texas mile than a UK one any day. Non-stop, dead straight, bright ‘n’ sunny . . .

But my day was filled with sunshine even though the fields either side of the motorways were filled with water after long periods of heavy and persistent rain, It took the hour the hospital warned me about to get a parking space. they use a one-out, one-in system that works. It’s naturally coordinated with patients visiting and leaving the hospital.

My appointment was dead on 11 am when the occupational therapist called me in for examination. After my initial procedure, she had measured the angles of each knuckle bend in relation to the straight back of my hand starting with the main knuckles and taking angles and measurements. I was surprised at the progress with my right hand now being flat instead of curved. My less dominant hand was slightly curved but the improvement was just remarkable there too. The improvements are due primarily to the work they did, of course, but then after that further improvement was due to diligent hand exercising throughout the day and then wearing splints at night as I slept. The original splints are formed to conform to the shape the hand is after the procedure. It is made from thermoplastic that’s mould roughly to the shape of the hand and fingers. Velcro straps hold it in place on your hands and this keeps the fingers from bending into a ball when you sleep. It doesn’t hurt, it’s not too uncomfortable and you soon get used to it.

As a result of the exercises my splints needed a straighter profile but quite markedly. I am back enjoying the use of all of my fingers and didn’t really miss a day’s working. I have had no pain whatsoever and the procedure itself was no more than mildly uncomfortable for a few minutes.

The hard cord in the palm of both hands is now gone and I can straighten my fingers as in years past

I am so happy that this procedure has been so successful. Thank you all for your support in so many ways and also with your birthday wishes and prayers.


  1. As Hannibal Smith of the A-Team said – I love it when a plan comes together! So glad to hear of your progress, and the quality of your care, and as always it’s great to see you sharing what you do with us.

    1. Happy Birthday belated, You and I are the same age btw. I have been a Working hobbyist for 30 years. I also have had that same hand surgery on the same hand 2 times-10 years apart.
      I enjoy your YouTube videos very much.

  2. I’m very happy to hear that your procedure was successful and your recovery is going well. May continued blessings shine upon you.

  3. I thought this last picture was still at the hospital, and wondered for a few moments if all of those things on the wall were some other kind of splint. Then I thought odd, they kind of look like moulding planes. Then realized oh. Not the hospital!

    I do have a question on the shelf in that last picture, if you don’t mind: which joint was used to join the top and bottom to the sides — housing dados with glue, housing dados with glue and screws, tapered sliding dovetails, or something else entirely? I like using the former (as in your recent chest of drawers), but want to get a better idea of how sturdy they are for uses like that.

    Greetings from the state of “Non-stop, dead straight, bright ‘n’ sunny” roads. Last summer we were driving through northern Texas, the straightest and flattest roads in the state, and I was reminded of just how much I love them. It’s like time goes away and you’re just there, doesn’t even feel like you’re moving until an 18-wheeler passes you going the other way and you give thanks for power steering!

  4. All good news. Thank you for sharing Paul. Here’s a curiosity question, for a long time, you’ve had to adjust how you held things due to the curl in the finger. Is there some retraining you’ve needed to do in terms of picking up, hold, working with your hand tools?

    A few years ago, I injured a knee and needed to use just one leg to go up and down steps. When my knee was healed, I was surprised that I needed to think a bit as to how to go up and down stairs as I had gotten used to the other way. It wasn’t a major thing to overcome but surprised me. Wonder if your holding and working with objects resulted in a similar experience.

    Sincerely, Joe.

  5. Halfway across Texas is 400 miles, then. To do that in 2 hours, you’d obviously have to be driving at 200 miles an hour. Something’s either wrong with your maths or mine. Either way, my conclusion is that you should never have moved to the south of England. Speed cameras everywhere. You can do hyperspace in Yorkshire and nobody cares.

    1. So glad your recovery has gone so well. What would we all do without you patiently shows us all the steps in any particular project, and with such care.

    2. Mark, on our Interstate 10 highway coming West out of Lousiana some few miles there is a sign that says: El Paso 910 miles. The amazing thing is that you can do that drive without stopping for traffic lights and (sometimes) without stopping for traffic. Averaging 70 miles per hour – a hard thing to do – it takes 13 hours to make that drive. My guess is that 15, or maybe a little more, would be more the norm. The North-South distance across Texas is about the same.

      I live in the East central part of Texas, geographically; but it is generally just called central Texas . . . about an hour North of Austin and 2 hours South of Dallas/Ft. Worth and less than an hour South of where Paul lived near Elm Mott, TX.

      Most of Texas is in the grip of a record-setting cold spell at the moment. Dallas/Ft. Worth is getting a decent snow (for us). I generally enjoy driving across Texas (preferring the lesser traveled backroads) but wouldn’t want to be doing so today. Our temperature at the moment is 18°F (-7.8°C) with a predicted low overnight of 10°F (-12.2°C). The good news is that we will be back to seasonal norms next week.

  6. I have enjoyed so many of your videos and learned so much.
    It’s good to know that you’re taking care of the most important tools of your trade.

  7. Glad to read you have recovered virtually full use of your hands again. Hope they stay that way. Wishing you a Happy New Year and all the best in the future.

    I was a Patreon Support but had to stop. Being on a Disability Pension it can only go so far. With prices sky-rocketing like they are, something had to go. I was enjoying the resources available. Will have to be content with YouTube videos.

  8. Great news Paul! There is always a risk with surgery, even minor ones.
    Knowing your personality and determination I was pretty sure you’d have a good outcome.

  9. Glad to hear your hands are doing so well. A tribute to great surgeons and therapists, and your diligent home exercises. The latter can be the hardest for me.

  10. dear paul/ others,
    i recently used 0000 steel wool to polish/ buff wax onto a hairbrush handle i made.
    tiny (microscopic) bits of steel wool have gotten in the end grain on the end of the brush, and the maple now has a grey steel wool stain in the end grain.
    does anyone know how to avoid this [other than not polishing end grain with steel wool]? does it happen with the liberon steel wool? use one of those 3m fancy pads?? thanks in advance for any advice. rgds

    1. It’s more likely to be the wood type and not the steel wool. I have used it for years and occassionally on some woods, fibres might get caught in open pores. This might have happened five times in my sixty years though.

  11. Congratulations Paul. All the way across the pond from Newfoundland I was waiting to see how the surgery went. I am glad to hear that it went so well, and I pray you keep going.. God Bless you.

  12. Hello Paul, I am pleased you are on the mend. Although nothing to do with your health can I ask you to make a video about wood storage. Nobody seems to write about it. For example if I buy construction pine from somebody such as B&Q or if I buy rough sawn oak from a timber merchant how should I keep it in my house until humidity and internal stresses are not a problem and when can I start working on it without fear of warping especially before or after re sawing and after I have dimensioned it. To add to everyone else’s positive comments I really like the way you bring a touch of old fashioned reality based on years of first hand experience – somehow having a father figure giving me good advice is very reassuring (even though I am a tad older than you!).

  13. Glad to hear all is going well Paul. I had mine done about 6 years ago. It was the pinky of my right hand – stuck out at 90 degrees. As a guitarist it wasn’t too much of an issue usually planted against the soundboard but as a rock climber…I couldn’t get my hand into a jamming crack which I know you’ll understand. Apparently Dupuytren’s means we’re from Viking stock or so some say.

  14. Well done, and congratulations to you for your recovery and your surgeon and rehab team for their work. You’re too treasured a resource and personage to lose!

  15. I am delighted to read of your progress and to know, for certain, your physician or surgeon, is every bit as skilled in her skills of healing kinds of surgery she does as you are in your woodworking. Call it what you will, but I think it’s your good karma coming home to benefit you! 😀

  16. Hello, Paul.
    Congratulations on the successful surgery and recovery. I’ve recently been fitted with one of those hand braces but for arthritis that is stealing sleep from me.

  17. Currently trying to build a house by myself so I haven’t kept up with the emails and post. Glad to hear this is working for you love your content!

  18. I’m very happy to know your hands are back in action – being a hunting, fishing, making, cooking type, I’d be lost without my dexterity.
    I drove from east of Houston to Raton, NM then back again in 2010.
    Then in 2019 I drove (via TX) from northern Alabama to New Orleans, then west through Texas to Albuquerque.
    Before Christmas, I drove from Atlanta to Rome, GA, then back again.
    Thankfully I’m up in Cumbria & much prefer driving here than anywhere except rural NM, where traffic is nonexistent.

  19. That’s great news Mr. Sellers. Thank you for the update. I will have to undergo this operation in the future. It’s good to know that it is effective. All the best to you and your years of Joy and Productivity to come.

  20. Aha! Now THAT is perfect timing for you to clap on your birthday 🥳 what better present than health can one wish for?!

    Very glad to see you (and your precious precision tools) are doing well.

    Noho ora mai (be well) 😊

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