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Thread: Blackwood Hurts!

  1. #1
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Blackwood Hurts!

    I was shaping a ferrule out of blackwood this afternoon, and I realized after about 5 minutes, my lungs felt like they were being lit on fire, from the inside! It was pretty bad. I guess I should have been wearing a mask, like when I grind steel, but it's wood! My "shop" is well ventilated, with two big windows and a good sized door next to my press and sander, so I've never noticed too much, in terms of smell, etc.
    Has anyone else noticed that Africa Blackwood lights up their lungs? Are there any other woods/materials I should be concerned about?
    On a pleasant note, the coral spacer piece smelled like candy when I was shaping it!
    Do you guys have any favorite materials to work with, because of anything other than workability, such as smell, or feel?
    I personally love the smell of cherry wood and pine (when sawing).
    09/06

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  2. #2
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Not good! There are a number of woods that I like the smell of, including some rosewoods or thuya. But after doing this for a while and reading up on some of the woods - whenever I smell the wood that means my respirator is not sitting tightly enough. Some of the fine wood dusts are highly toxic, like cocobolo which is in the same family as blackwood. Personally, I react the strongest to black ebony. So, wearing a good mask is really a smart thing when working with wood. I even went with a respirator that supposedly blocks fumes also - I have a beard and they never fit right, but this one seemed to be the best. I value my eyes and lungs too much to not protect them.

    Stefan

  3. #3
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Good advice! I'll have to throw it on for wood too, I guess. That sucks!
    Funny, I never pictured you with a beard!
    09/06

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  4. #4

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    Blackwood is a member of the rosewood family. I have never had a problem with it, rosewood or cocobolo, but a number of people do and the effect is apparently cumulative like with mango sap or poison ivy/oak/sumac. It might get worse over time. Have you ever had problems with any other wood? I know of one guy who worked in the marine industry installing teak on high end fishing boats for like 15 years and one morning he woke up and was allergic to the stuff. As for smell, Amboyna reminds me of cookies baking. Micarta reminds of someone laying up a cheap bass boat using polyester resin. Some people say that sambar stag, like other bone, stinks to high heaven, but it doesn't bother me. Now if you get the pith wet, is is some funky, goopy stuff.

  5. #5
    I have never used Blackwood. But I have heard that some people have allergic reactions to some woods.. Particularly to rosewoods, like cocobolo.. I personally love the smell of cocobolo and Honduran rosewood etc. And enjoy using it. Truth is, I love the smell of most woods and cherry is awesome.. But I think my favorite smelling wood is Afzilia it sorta smells like spice cake for lack of a better way to describe it. similar to amboyna but a little sweeter smelling. Followed closely by the smell of yellow cedar. And I could go on and on..lol Im a BURL JUNKY!!!

    There are a few materials I really dont like the smell of. I would say the worst is Horn.. Buffalo horn smells so bad and stinks up the whole shop for days! I mean the only way to describe it is RANK! like somehow the smell from every dump the buffalo ever left behind found its way into the horn. lol I mean its BAD! Then the smell of mammoth tooth is probably the next worst IMO. like the worst trip you could ever imagine to the dentist.. the smell of tooth is BAD and also something that takes a little gettig use to. if you ever can get use to it..

    How was the coral to work, aside from smelling nice? Soft? hard? full of holes? etc..

    Inspired by God, Forged by Fire, Tempered by Water, Grounded by Earth, Guided by the spirit.. Randy Haas

    Availible Knives

  6. #6
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    I've never had any issues with any other woods, but I'm thinking I should exercise some caution now. I have heard of developing allergies, but let's hope that isn't the case!
    Randy, your whole post made me laugh! I love the dump comment. Haha
    The coral is actually faux coral (sorry). It, however was an absolute dream to shape, other than it bunging up my belts a bit. It got pretty hot to the touch, in no time, but I'm guessing that is partly because of how thin it is.
    09/06

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  7. #7
    I wear a respriator, twin cartridge from 3M, that is rated high for dust and nuisance vapors. For me I find cocobolo makes me hack, I love the small of rosewoods, amboyna and some others. Horn, antler, and tooth stink! Horn is like burning hair, which makes sense, because that is what it is, and mammoth tooth is probably the worst for me. Ivory is right up there.


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  8. #8
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Pierre, I'll apologize now for making you hand rub S35VN, file titanium and shape mammoth tooth all for one knife. At least it was worth it!
    09/06

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  9. #9
    Yes, it was worth it. I'm glad you like it!


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  10. #10

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    I guess this brings up a lot of good questions...I have been thinking about getting a full face respirator for awhile, how many of you guys use a full face mask when sanding? Also, is dust measured in microns, pm, grit???what is the best respirator cartridge for woodworking? I assume there are different ratings...it has been a long while since I have purchased one. Have any of you had a reaction from dust getting in your eyes?

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