Lefties and power tools

Just a thought: A lot of tools, like scissors for instance are awkward to use left handed, so that might be a contributing factor.


MODERATOR NOTE: ksweetman, is this the column you’re referring to: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1099/do-left-handers-die-young
It’s helpful to other readers if you provide a link when you start a thread. Saves search time, cuts down on confusion, and helps keep us on the same page.
If that’s NOT the column you were thinking of, please email me and I’ll fix this note. Cheers – Dex

Lefties think all power tools should belong to the people!

Contributing factor of what?

Drills work in both hands rather easily. Chop saws are a little awkward. Circular saws are the worse.

Their death.

Hear, hear. James DeKay wrote that “a left-hander must cross his arms to operate it. Since he can’t see where he’s going, he’ll either saw a crokked line, or chop off a couiple oif fingers.”

Chain saws, too, I guess. And the power table planers I can find online seem to be asymmetric; those things are eee-vul!

A while back, when this or a similar column ran previously, I raised the question that if lefties were using tools made for right-handers, then the risk of injury should be higher than right-handers using tools made for right-handers. This would possibly affect life-expectancy due to the rates and/or severity of injuries incurred. Since some tools are now also being made in left-handed versions, it might be worth looking at the current disparity between left-handed and right-handed injury rates and life-excpectancies to see if they have changed due to the availability of proper tools.

Ever use a brace and bit? Try turning one counterclockwise!
Or even a screwdriver–unless you’ve found screws with lefthand thread!

Then there are automatic rifles, which, if you fire them left-handed, spit out the spent cartridges right into your face! And they’re nice and hot!

I don’t know about power tools, but I’m lethal with a pair of leftie scissors!!!

My father was right-handed, but left-eyed; he used to come back from the range with a bloody nose all the time.

My father, also, was right handed but left-eye dominant. And in all the shooting lessons his father gave him, the man never thought to cover which eye to close when looking down the sights, apparently. At around 50 my father figured out why he had always been hopelessly (dangerously!) off-target. (His father had evidently just given up teaching his eldest son to use a gun after a while.)

While in a hotel room I was watching a CSI marathon (I generally avoid the show, but … don’t judge me!), and they had a freak accident where a man using a chainsaw left-handed accidentally killed himself and a friend. At the end of the episode, the main character was teaching a class or a tour group or something, and quoted a statistic about how many left-handed people are killed each year using power tools “designed for right-handed people”.
I can’t remember it, and it might well not have been accurate, but …

Most scissors/shears are right-hand biased, but you can buy 'em with no finger holes at all. They’re more like pliers.

If you ask a bartender for a left-handed screwdriver, maybe he’ll find spirits from a communist nation.

Hah, very nice.:smiley:

And you can buy left-handed scissors without too much effort. It’s the left-handed power saws that are hard to find. (Hmmm… I wonder whether left-handed Hamlets can obtain right-handed left-handed daggers?)

My wife is left handed and she was unimpressed with the sign on the back of a Polish lorry that overtook us on the motorway recently. (we were stuck in traffic at the time).

The sign said:

** CAUTION
LEFT HANDED DRIVER.**

Watching her cutting slices from a loaf of bread is pretty frightening.

Hmmm… “Lorry”, “overtook”, “motorway”—obviously you’re British. I rather fancy the sign was trying to warn about the lorry’s steering arrangements, not the driver?

Does she play cards? Playing cards are right-handed…

It isn’t only the handles and it isn’t just scissors: it is wire cutters, pruning shears, and just about anything else with a scissors type blade. Us lefties can’t precisely see what we’re cutting. The blades are in the way.

But it doesn’t stop there: saws, serrated knives, and most other cutting instruments are right handed. Left handed versions of most of these tools are available, but they are usually expensive, hard to get, and of inferior quality.

The thing with scissors, shears, cutters, etc that use the two-blade shearing motion is that the action of the mechanism is handed.

When using right-handed (i.e. standard) scissors, you actually pull with the lower (finger) and push with the upper (thumb). This is easier to see with an older pair of scissors with a loose joint. This creates a torque around the joint pivot, which makes the blades push against each other as they slide together.

Now try to operate them left handed. The same pull at bottom/push at top operation has the opposite effect. It creates a torque on each blade about the pivot the pulls the blades away from each other.

This is why lefties struggle to use righty scissors, especially older scissors or cheap scissors like the kindergarten safety variety. The edges of the blades do not rub against each other to create a clean shear of the paper, they tend to separate and make the paper fold between the blades.