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Armless Carpenter Turns to his Feet

comments (5) May 4th, 2012 in blogs, videos

Tom Tom McKenna, Managing Editor
thumbs up 119 users recommend



Feet are made for walking, and hands are made for holding. The addition of an opposable thumb on our hands offers human beings the ability to handle just about any object with ease. But that dexterity doesn't exist in the foot. That is, unless you're Sentayehu Tishale.


More Fancy Footwork

Moroccan Foot-Made Chess Pieces


The 43-year-old woodworker who hales from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia lost his arms to polio during childhood. The limitations imposed upon him by debilitating illness propelled him into a life of begging on the streets of the Ethiopian capitol, until the love of a woman turned him around. According to the Huffington Post, Tishale's spouse urged him to develop his mind and his artisanal skills. He taught himself to read and set out to develop his skills as a woodworker.

Today Tishale can be found building a variety of small projects for clients, including stools and even chests of drawers.

The next time you throw down a chisel in frustration after botching a dovetail or over-trimming a mortise wall, just remember: dedication and practice go a long, long way. Surely, Sintayehu Tishale is a testament to that fact.



posted in: blogs, videos, stool, handless wood turner, ethiopia, handless woodworker


Comments (5)

drsprky drsprky writes: That's wonderful and amazing. But can he play the spoons?

Posted: 5:03 pm on May 5th

Mwascom Mwascom writes: That is amazing!
Just shows that one can overcome their handicaps if they quit feeling sorry for themselves. You can feel sorry or like this guy find a way to compensate.
I admire this man a LOT.

I have multiple back issues and am 80% disabled, but nosw my back dioesn't seem to hurt as much anymore.
Posted: 1:36 pm on May 5th

ButcherBob ButcherBob writes: I just watched this video and I was totally blown away. So many of us complain about what we do and how we do things; and we have all of our extremities to work with. Talk about getting slapped in the face with a dose of reality. Hats off to this man for doing what he does, he is a true inspiration to the woodworking community. As I watched this video I called my wife over to view it with me. Needless to say she too was in awe of this mans ability. My wife is a 6th grade elementary school teacher who plans on showing this to her students.
Posted: 1:23 pm on May 5th

noqtr noqtr writes: I build artificial arms and legs everyday and see inspirational people everyday, but this woodworker is truly amazing that he can generate enough grip /power to hammer nails, be productive , and have a good self-esteem . Pretty amazing ! I would love to buy one of his stools.
Posted: 7:11 am on May 5th

finishcarp finishcarp writes:
Puts our lives in a real perspective, and thanks for posting. Kinda makes our discussion about Norm seem pointless...there are many levels of ability and all are special in their own way on this journey..
Posted: 6:24 am on May 5th

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