Instructables

Handicap Friendly Nightstand

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If you have someone in your life that needs an extra hand someday's this is a handicapped grab bar disguised as a night stand with some easy to reach switches that control outlets on the backside so you can plug in a table lamp or other electrical device. The switches are mounted so they can be easily reached and since they stay in the same place they are easy to find in the dark.

http://senseless.livejournal.com/236289.html
 
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Step 1: In the Beginning

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This started cause my wife had knee surgery and needed a grab bar on the side of the bed to hang on to.

Being OCD enough to seldom throw things away, I had a piece of Mahogany left over from when I turned a old side board into a Vanity for the Master Bathroom. It was about 24 inches by 60 and had a piece of trim to match on one long side and the two short ones. This being a very old piece of furniture so the moldings were screwed on not nailed or glued so the first step was to remove it and then stare at the pieces until I came up with an idea.

I realized I had more than enough to make a good sized top for a nightstand with enough left over for a drawer front or I had enough for two sides. I also knew I had several sheets of Oak 3/4 furniture grade plywood leftover from when I trimmed the detail work I did to the ceiling of the great room and dining room from 2x4's.

The choice was obvious so I then focused on how to maximize the piece of Mahogany and how to also possible reuse the moldings that match it.

Since this isn't really an instructable on cabinetry and this isn't a one sized fits all project I'll let the pictures do the talking on how I cut it.

I then glued clamped and screwed the top together and set it aside to dry bottom facing up.

To determine the height the rail I measured the height of the walker my wife uses. Since that will vary in range for whoever you build one of these for, most likely the patient used the walker for some time it has been adjusted to fit them to a height they prefer. I got a measurement then placed the grabrail I had chosen on a flat surface and measure how high it was, subtracted that amount and the thickness of the top from the walker height measurement and was left with how high the night stand needs to be to end up at the same height as the walker. I also measured the inside the molding dimensions to get the correct size to build a box for the base. I added 2 more inches of overhang to the front to be sure there was an unobstructed area of floor and no danger of stubbing her toe.

adamvan20004 years ago
My wife is definitely getting one of these, although I'll probably use MDF instead. She needs something to replace our well-worn, plastic storage drawers on wheels that have served as our dressers for too long now. I think I'm going to try and add some sort of tray on a swing arm, so she has something to write on or what-not while she's in bed. I'm going to work on a mock-up in SketchUp today. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration, Senseless. ~adamvan2000
Senseless (author)  adamvan20004 years ago
I wish your wife the best.
Thank you.
lizhenry5 years ago
I love this. Seems like it wouldn't be too hard to use an existing night table, bolt it to the wall, and just mount a rail on top! I think this would come out uglier but it would be easy to do.
Senseless (author)  lizhenry5 years ago
Yes exactly anything could work that fit the spot. I just made it from scratch because I didn't have the right sized nightstand but I had the materials left over from building the house. I always save scraps if it's good wood. If your furniture is lower with the handrail attached than the persons walker you could just space it up to fit, and I used the walker as a guide because my wife had used it at that height for a long time so it reasoned the hand rail would be comfortable for her at the same height. cheers, mike
cliff0426 years ago
cliff042 ...That is freaking cool! I will try to make one for my gramma who has a walker.Your ideas are inspirational, and very detailed .Please keep posting. Peace
I too, am handicapped and have to use a tripod walker now to get around. It wasn't that long ago that I was in a wheelchair and then had to use a walker for many years. This idea would be great for anyone with even balance problems when they first get up, and this is coming from a nurse! redlady54
this is a very good instructable. it made me sad a bit because my uncle was handicapped a few months after he was born. so he had to use the electric cart driving things/ crutches. he just passed away recently.. and this just makes me wish i could have done this for him. great instructable. +1 rating.
Senseless (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Make one and donate it to a nursing home GorillazMiko.
i dont know if i can, it looks hard. and im only 13.
That's the best time to start learning this stuff. Back in the middle ages, kids were often working as apprentices in trades by the age of 12, so it's not as if its impossible for someone your age to do this kind of stuff. Senseless's idea is a really good one -- a lot of people in nursing homes would treasure something like that, especially knowing that you worked so hard on it. It doesn't have to turn out perfectly or anything; if it's sturdy and functional, someone will appreciate it very much.
Senseless (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
I was allowed to use my dad's table saw when I was 12 if I first called him at work to ask permission. This would be an expensive project to learn on but it's never to early to start learning. Get some popsickle sticks and glue and build some bridges, then add weights to them a bit at a time and see how much weight it takes to break them and you'll begin to understand how to design buildings.
Nice table. That would've come in handy when my back was busted. My dad let me use the powertools and drive when I was 12. I crashed the car and almost cut my thumb off. The moral is : if you're not used to dangerous stuff, get someone experinced to help or supervise until you get the hang of it.
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