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Finger pain from pieces?

I have been wondering (and searching) about the pain caused from handling LEGO. I just disassembled a big set and my fingers suffered quite a bit. I have quite a large build soon, so I want to avoid experiencing the same thing again. For those who experience this, do you have any tips to try and limit it? Specifically, do you wear gloves or have certain tools that help you build or disassemble sets? I do use the brick separator, but I found it not as useful for large sets like the Bucket Wheel Excavator (42055).

Apologies if this has been asked before, I have searched this forum and others but found nothing.

Comments

  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,148
    edited December 2020
    It’s like playing guitar, you gotta develop callouses :)

    Disassembly is the worst, because you’re doing it much faster than when building. I just try to use a brick separator as much as possible when separating anything that’s hard to take apart. 
    Bumblepants560HeliportFizyxmadforLEGOdrdavewatfordSumoLegodatsunrobbie
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,105
    CCC said:
    Technic is notoriously bad on the fingers both in assembly and especially disassembly. 

    I will back this 100%.  Technic disassembly is horrible on the fingers, and the more complex the set gets, the worse it is. 

    The only thing I've found to help is to keep an axle handy (a 5 or 7 length one is usually the easiest) and use that to push pins out of their holes from the back whenever possible instead of pulling them out with your fingers.  You can't get to every pin this way, and it will definitely slow down the disassembly, but I think it does help in the long run.  But honestly, that's a minor help, and other than using a brick separator whenever possible, I don't know of anything you can do to save your fingers from the pain :(
    madforLEGOSwitchfoot55drdavewatfordKungFuKenny
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 2,377
    Add Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for even more disassembly fun!
    flowerpotgirl
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    Fizyx said:
    CCC said:
    Technic is notoriously bad on the fingers both in assembly and especially disassembly. 

    I will back this 100%.  Technic disassembly is horrible on the fingers, and the more complex the set gets, the worse it is. 

    It can also be horrible on the brain. I often find that I have to think how to take technic apart but rarely have to worry too much about order of disassembly with system sets.
    560HeliportAstrobricksFizyxwindjammer
  • truck730truck730 Member Posts: 313
    A friend of mine has arthritis from feeling out minifig bags, looking for multiples of one kind, 
    KungFuKenny
  • Speedman29Speedman29 UKMember Posts: 1,938
    A Technic set I had as a child had instructions in the back to make a T shaped pin remover from a couple of axles and a axle/pin connector. Always had one to hand to save my fingertips
    Switchfoot55560HeliportGothamConstructionCoAstrobricksKungFuKennyWesterBrickswindjammer
  • mh3490mh3490 NW Indiana Member Posts: 329
    That coliseum was a nightmare on the finger tips 
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,401
    I'd be really interested to understand what, if any, thought is given to deconstructing a set when it's designed.  When I take a small set apart, I just... take it apart.  However, if I'm doing a large, multi-bag set, like the big Technic Lamborghini that I deconstructed before Christmas, then I like to work backwards through the manual, reversing the steps and putting the relevant pieces back into numbered ziplock bags.

    For the most part it's do-able, but occasionally you'll come across a step that can be constructed but is impossible to deconstruct.  It's usually where an axle has been pushed though multiple pieces, but there's no way of getting any purchase on the axle, or getting to an end to push it through.  This means then just attacking the assembly in a random fashion, removing whatever you can until the offending part can be accessed.  Then you (well, I), have to work through a number of steps in the manual to check off the removed parts to ensure nothing's gone missing.

    The matter of sore fingers is a fair point.  I often have to resort to a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove pins or axles as my poor hands simply can't get purchase / hurt too much.  It's usually at that point that I wonder why Lego can put a notch in the ends of the small red axle which makes it much easier to get hold of it, either with fingers or a brick separator, but they can't (certainly don't) do it with all the other axles.

    Maybe one for the suggstion box, next time a new mould is required.
    Fizyx560HeliportAstrobricksiwybssnowhitie
  • canon03canon03 USAMember Posts: 337
    I have used a (thin) rubber jar opener before for those stubborn axle removals which has worked relatively well as long as there is enough axle exposed to grab.  Something similar to: https://www.amazon.com/Prepworks-Progressive-Grips-Multi-Purpose-Openers/dp/B00F67TLFC/
    560HeliportFizyxAstrobrickspxchris
  • GrannyLEGOGrannyLEGO FloridaMember Posts: 236
    canon03 said:
    I have used a (thin) rubber jar opener before for those stubborn axle removals which has worked relatively well as long as there is enough axle exposed to grab.  Something similar to: https://www.amazon.com/Prepworks-Progressive-Grips-Multi-Purpose-Openers/dp/B00F67TLFC/
    Good idea, I shall have to snatch one from the kitchen and use it for disassembly, something I do frequently due to limited display space.

    I don't see anything mentioned about torn up fingernails especially from removing tiles. Yes, I know the brick separator works for that but the fingernail approach is so chronic that I have the tile off before I think to get the brick separator!

    560HeliportpxchrisFizyx
  • TkattTkatt MNMember Posts: 456
    I don't see anything mentioned about torn up fingernails especially from removing tiles. Yes, I know the brick separator works for that but the fingernail approach is so chronic that I have the tile off before I think to get the brick separator!

     I've had lots of chipped, ripped and bent over fingernails from trying to pick apart pieces. But I'd say the most pain I've had is from stabbing myself under my nail with a 1x1 tooth plate while prying it up by the pointy part. 
    560HeliportFizyx
  • GrannyLEGOGrannyLEGO FloridaMember Posts: 236
    Tkatt said:
    I don't see anything mentioned about torn up fingernails especially from removing tiles. Yes, I know the brick separator works for that but the fingernail approach is so chronic that I have the tile off before I think to get the brick separator!

     I've had lots of chipped, ripped and bent over fingernails from trying to pick apart pieces. But I'd say the most pain I've had is from stabbing myself under my nail with a 1x1 tooth plate while prying it up by the pointy part. 

    OUCH ... making a mental note to be extra careful of those dangerous pointy tooth plates!
    Cymbeline
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,105
    canon03 said:
    I have used a (thin) rubber jar opener before for those stubborn axle removals which has worked relatively well as long as there is enough axle exposed to grab.  Something similar to: https://www.amazon.com/Prepworks-Progressive-Grips-Multi-Purpose-Openers/dp/B00F67TLFC/
    Good idea, I shall have to snatch one from the kitchen and use it for disassembly, something I do frequently due to limited display space.

    I don't see anything mentioned about torn up fingernails especially from removing tiles. Yes, I know the brick separator works for that but the fingernail approach is so chronic that I have the tile off before I think to get the brick separator!


    Amen for this on the tiles/tile-like pieces, especially if you're working with old pieces before they put the little ridge in that made it possible to get off some of the pieces off at all... some of those old pieces hurt to take off even when you DO use a brick separator.
    Bumblepants
  • GrannyLEGOGrannyLEGO FloridaMember Posts: 236
    I got a cheap set of dental tools from Amazon to use on the stubborn stuff ... just have to be really careful not to scratch the pieces, definitely a last resort. Sometimes I can use one just enough to then be able to use a brick separator.
    FizyxCymbeline
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    I have both a screwdriver style and a guitar pick style spudger that are meant to be used for removing mobile phone screens. They are excellent for removing tiles, much better than LEGO's separator.
    Fizyxpanchox1
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,148
    CCC said:
    I have both a screwdriver style and a guitar pick style spudger that are meant to be used for removing mobile phone screens. They are excellent for removing tiles, much better than LEGO's separator.
    Second new word for me today! First is was plectrum/prectrum, now spudger :)
    CCCpxchris560Heliport
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,645
    CCC said:
    I have both a screwdriver style and a guitar pick style spudger that are meant to be used for removing mobile phone screens. They are excellent for removing tiles, much better than LEGO's separator.
    Second new word for me today! First is was plectrum/prectrum, now spudger :)

    They are essentially a toothpick at one end and a screwdriver at the other but made in soft plastic so they don't do damage. I also have a couple of what are essentially crowbars but 10cm long, again soft plastic. However, the ends of these are much thinner than the brick separator. However the plectrum / guitar pick style piece is even faster still for removing tiles (with grooves), especially if aligned, as you can run it along a row and they all pop up enough to be easily removed.
    Astrobricks
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,105
    CCC said:
    I have both a screwdriver style and a guitar pick style spudger that are meant to be used for removing mobile phone screens. They are excellent for removing tiles, much better than LEGO's separator.

    That's actually a super good idea.  They are designed to get things apart that are much more tightly bound and close together than LEGO.  Not sure why I never thought of using them for LEGO disassembly before!

    If you're looking for some really good spudgers/plectrums at excellent prices/for good value, I highly recommend looking at iFixit.  They make amazing tools in general, and their electronics disassembly kits are no exception, including the prying tools they make.
    Astrobricksflowerpotgirlsnowhitie
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,148
    Sure beats the “Lego knife” we used as kids 40+ years ago :)
    Fizyx
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 530
    This time of year is terrible for me.  The winter weather has a major effect my skin, which very sensitive to begin with.  Combined with taking apart or putting together a large number of sets leave my fingers a mess.  It starts with the skin looking white and callused, but soon it is ripping and flaking off followed by pain caused pressing in those areas.  Cracks may or may not appear, but if they do bleeding occurs shortly after.  I find there's not a lot I can do about beyond pacing myself and using lotion.

    The first time it happened was 2000.  I rushing to finish all of my new sets as we were going to visit my grandmother in her new home.  I was in the middle of building #5975 T Rex Transport when the pain got so bad I had to stop.  Even picking up a brick hurt.  Several days off help.  My fingers were back to normal once I return. 

    As I said earlier what I find helps the most is pacing myself and using lotion.  For disassembles go a little at a time and build up the time over the course of a few days.  I always use brick separator and rubber jar opener.  For assembles I also a little at a time and build up over time.  I don't try to go all day any more.  For lotion I use a moisturizer and a shielding one.  I'll use the shielding lotion about 30 minutes before I start a major assemble or disassemble, it takes a little to absorb in.  And the moisturizer immediate after I stop.  I don't know that either are truly effective, but it seems to help so I continue to use them.
  • Speedman29Speedman29 UKMember Posts: 1,938
    Sure beats the “Lego knife” we used as kids 40+ years ago :)
    Is that the blunt butter knife in the kitchen draw of your parents house that doesn't match any other knives. Nobody is ever seen using it, but its always in the washing up bowl. Its got a crack in the handle as well!

    BooTheMightyHamsterAddicted2OxygenCymbelineAstrobricks
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,401
    Every home has one!
    Astrobricks
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 605
    A Technic set I had as a child had instructions in the back to make a T shaped pin remover from a couple of axles and a axle/pin connector. Always had one to hand to save my fingertips

  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 605
    edited January 5
    Haha, I remember that from my childhood now but had completely forgotten about it! Came up with a similar tool using an axle and one of these Technic ball parts though, fits nice in the hand but maybe the T-bar is better.

    https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=32474#T=C



    Edit: not sure how that became two separate posts...
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,148
    Sure beats the “Lego knife” we used as kids 40+ years ago :)
    Is that the blunt butter knife in the kitchen draw of your parents house that doesn't match any other knives. Nobody is ever seen using it, but its always in the washing up bowl. Its got a crack in the handle as well!
    I only remember it being with the Lego, but it was a mismatched table knife with all the serrations worn away (luckily). I still have it somewhere.
  • MaffyDMaffyD West YorkshireMember Posts: 2,929
    Sure beats the “Lego knife” we used as kids 40+ years ago :)
    Is that the blunt butter knife in the kitchen draw of your parents house that doesn't match any other knives. Nobody is ever seen using it, but its always in the washing up bowl. Its got a crack in the handle as well!
    I only remember it being with the Lego, but it was a mismatched table knife with all the serrations worn away (luckily). I still have it somewhere.
    As long as you don't mix it up with the Poop Knife.
    panchox1
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,148
    MaffyD said:
    Sure beats the “Lego knife” we used as kids 40+ years ago :)
    Is that the blunt butter knife in the kitchen draw of your parents house that doesn't match any other knives. Nobody is ever seen using it, but its always in the washing up bowl. Its got a crack in the handle as well!
    I only remember it being with the Lego, but it was a mismatched table knife with all the serrations worn away (luckily). I still have it somewhere.
    As long as you don't mix it up with the Poop Knife.
    My family didn’t have that issue thankfully 😆
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 4,860
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 4,148
    Why, yes, I do have fiber internet. It’s awesome!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,047
    Sure beats the “Lego knife” we used as kids 40+ years ago :)
    We called them 'teeth'.
    Cymbelinescottdd2bandit778
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