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I don't know if it's toxic or not, but I wear a mask with organic vapor cartridges and dust filters. Half of the reason for that is because I was making fine dust, and the other reason was because it smells pretty bad when you cut it. I say it smells like dog mess, my dad thought someone was burning rubber, and someone else thought there was an electrical fire,hehe.

peace,

russ

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You know, I see conflicting info on Padauk between the two lists on here... which one should I believe? Considering I just scored a beautiful piece 1-1/2" x15"x48".....:D

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Please tell me y'all are using respirators when sawing or sanding wood. Or at least high quality dust masks, not those cheap, useless, super-cheap 'dust masks' most major DIY chains sell...

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I feel qualified to give a response, as I've cut up approx 1,000 BF of Mahogany, Limba, Purpleheart, Ash, Walnut, and Maple (mainly the first 3) in the past 6 months for my online wood-selling business

I don't have any allergies to begin with and with _constant_ exposure over the past 6 months (ie saw, plane, and sand a few times a week, store all cut blanks in my house in a spare bedroom, move them around to photograph, and ultimatly pack them for shipment, I've gotten nothing more than an occassional stuffy nose or sneeze. My roomate has had no problems from any of the dust in our house (and believe me, the lumber room smells like a kiln).

I do, however, wear a full respirator with canisters and prefilters that covers my mouth and nose, along with ear-protection, and full goggles when cutting/planing/sanding. I generally where pants and long sleeved shirts (or a jacket during the winter) when working with the lumber, I dust them off completely outdoors, and immediately change clothes and shower after I return from woodworking.

My friend, however, that occassionally volunteers to help, uses no protection and always ends up with a sinus headache and caughing the rest of the day.

For particular wood types, I haven't had any of the above mentioned woods give me rashes, itching, or watery eyes at all.

If anything, the worst I've encountered is when I had a cabinet shop do some fine finish sanding on some of my lumber, the dust was so fine that as soon as you walked into the building you'd start sneezing and caughing, it actually dried out my throat.

Anyway, to sum it up, for regular guitar building, just use a respirator, some ear-muffs, and goggles, along with long sleeves, pants, and boots (with sturdy toes to protect against falling lumber), remove all your gear outside, dust off, shower and change clothes when you get indoors, and you should be fine. Then the worst thing you'll have to worry about is splinters :-)

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Here's another site that might be easier to read:

http://www.gvwg.ca/docs/Articles/WoodToxicity.htm

What have you guys found is the safest of woods to use?

I worked at a factory 22years ago and all they used was maple and poplar.

Never a problem.

About 15 yeras ago I used Phillipine mahogany for a neck and I got a rash all over my body.

These past two weeks I was sanding a mohogany body and I am getting a reaction to something.

Might be the wood. I can't be sure.

I'm going for an allergy test this next week, that will test for mutiple things including woods.

If it is mahogany, I will need to rid myself of my 2x24x48 beautiful piece of mahogany and my 2x8x40 piece of zebrawood.

I have an unused mahogany guitar set that might have to go too.

We'll see what it is.

It sucks getting old. To be young and stupid again is just priceless. Stupid, my wife says, I never grew out of. I tell her that I wasn't that stupid when I married her 10 years ago, then she just smiles and tells me that I can have lapses in my stupidity.

What good is guitar making if it makes you sick?

Maple acoustics sound nicer anyways.

Thanks for this great topic.

Mike

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well any wood is toxic..wood alcohol.

heres one thing ur NOT supposed to do

1. take a piece of wood

2. heat it without burining it

3. lick the liquid/residue that remains :D

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Well, here's a little update on where my NEW allergies are at.

Since I first noticed a problem two months ago. Things are getting worse.

I had allergy testing done. So far, over the last three weeks, they have tested me for 96 items. 32 at a time with a 32-pronged 'thingamajig' that injects you with 32 drops of extract. The only foods that I reacted to were avocados and cherries. BUT, I reacted to EVERY grass and weed and most trees. So, I either live in the "bubble" or get the allergy shot treatment. I really have no choice. Several people who have had the treatment say 's been very helpful. They do not get as many colds and say that they feel better all around. I've had pneumonia twice in the last 1 1/2 years.

It started with a big mahogany sanding session. Ionly had on a respirator, but it still got all over my skin and body. Now the wood gets to me if I just handle it. Almost all woods. Mahogany and oak now. The list keeps getting longer and I keep getting more sensitive.

Right now I take Claritin, and Albuterol if my breathing gets a bit funny.

So, part of my plan is to get away from firefighting. 17 years is enough. I inhaled a buch of smoke at a big fire on March 2, 2006 and since then I had pnemoinia anthen this crap with the woods started.

For those of us who are getting sensitive to woods, what are you using to combat the reactions, i.e., like clothing type, and what woods are messing with you?

Meds anybody?

Well, keep safe and remember that no guitar is worth your health. if you can make treament work, do it, but if you're left with now choice, go buy a guitar like everyone else. Damn it....I'm just like everyone else.

Take care,

Mike Perez

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Sum'mor of the update.

Dr. tells me this morning that I have mild asthma.

It never ends, does it?

Mahogany is going bye-bye, because I know I don't react good to that.

It looks like Poplar, Cherry and Maple (regular type) are going to be the only woods I will use from now on.

They are just as beautiful, but shame to have to get rid of the other stuff I have.

If anything good comes from this, it'll make me a much better expert on those woods, sort of.

Lexan is looking pretty darn good right now.

Thanks, and be careful. Remember friends, they're only guitars.

Mike

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I'm sorry to hear that, Mike. That's troubling to imagine not being able to work with wood without becoming ill. I get covered in Mahogany and Limba sawdust several times a week, for the past 9 months. No problems yet, but I do wear a respirator, goggles, and ear protection, plus I'm not allergic. You may need to stick to buying premade guitars or Warmoth ones :-(

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LGM exellent add man!

A lot of new on the construction didn't know all that stuff, so that's a warning.

A friend of mine was on the luthier class and a guy started to act strange, he was alergic of a wood, his throat, and they have to call the ambulance, that guy almost die there! so people have to take some cares about alergics and dangers of the woods.

BTW LGM i saw Chris guitar, that 8 in nuclear green, exellent job man!

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Benedryle, Claritin will help if you have reactions to certain woods, but only slight reactions. Those you take before. If you need to take them, then the wood is a no-no.

Two big names if you find you are reacting to wood allergies:

1) Epinephrine. This will save your life.

2) Albuterol. This helps when your airway becomes constricted due to a reaction. Usually asthmatics carry that, like I do now. It's an emergency inhaler.

Look for the signs to reactions to other natural products. That itching and hives from wood working? That's telling you that it doesn't like you and you should be ready for it to get worse.

Hey, God made hundreds of woods so that you could have a choice. The world doesn't end because mahogany isn't doing you well.

Have fun, but don't kill yourself over it.

I have found a new appreciation and fondness for maple. Maple is my new friend!

It's all good.

Mike

Edited by MP63

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I think I may have found another to be alerted to. Cumaru, also known as Tonka and generally reffered to as brasilian teak, though teak-like it is not actually teak. It is very heavy and hard and quite beatiful. According to this site: http://www.rain-tree.com/cumaru.htm It has a lot of uses for medicinal purposes especially the beans of the tree. However Cumaru us the original sourse of the medication Cumadine, a blood thinner. I learned this of course after several hours in the garage when I start to feel a little queezy so I stopped working. Inside of a few hours I had aquired a low grade fever and Flu-like symptoms. My wife was concerned especially after reading up a little on the internet, though I felt I would be fine. As of this morning I have only a tingle of a sore-throat and a little sinus congestion. I use a dust mask as always, though they generally are the cheaper paper kind. Well I am feeling well enough to go right now and buy a respirator. I have one that I have always used while painting, it's time for another just for the wood side of my hobbys.

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When you're done, don't forget to blow yourself off, or dust yourself off really good.

I try to eliminate any traces from enetering my home and affecting my family.

You almost need to keep a set of clothes just for woodworking.

Again, this is for people like me who have become so sensitive to various woods.

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well any wood is toxic..wood alcohol.

heres one thing ur NOT supposed to do

1. take a piece of wood

2. heat it without burining it

3. lick the liquid/residue that remains :D

They do xylitol here in Finland out of birch trees just like you described. They just put it in a chewing gum. It only keeps your teeth in good healt but better not to eat it too much cause it´s laxative.

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Yeah, some of that stuff is really nasty.

I'm glad that I work almost exclusively with Lignum Vitae.

It is medicinal, in almost all forms.

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Yeah, some of that stuff is really nasty.

I'm glad that I work almost exclusively with Lignum Vitae.

It is medicinal, in almost all forms.

...which in no way whatsoever means that it's safe. Medicinal implies active ingredients, and anything that has pharmacological activity (or just biological activity) has some effects, and where you say effects, you say side-effects. Just because it's natural, and medicinal, doesn't guarantee safety in any way whatsoever. The only truly 'safe' medication (unless you're allergic to the solvents) is homeopathy (not herbal med, homeopathy), since it doesn't actually contain anything or do anything...

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Yeah, some of that stuff is really nasty.

I'm glad that I work almost exclusively with Lignum Vitae.

It is medicinal, in almost all forms.

...which in no way whatsoever means that it's safe...

Been working indoors with it steadily for 4 years with no problems.

http://surfpick.com

I also bought 3000 pounds of Cumaru and built a railing and some other stuff

without experiencing any problems from that.

That was all outdoor work.

I do, however, have extreme sensitivites to other things, mainly tobacco smoke.

The slightest whiff and I puke my guts out.

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All I'm saying is that all wood is potentially hazardous, and can be an irritant. Tropicals moreso than 'homegrown' varieties, but it does depend on the person. I've only ever reacted to one wood dust, in terms of itchy skin/mild rash, and that was Iroko. I haven't worked cocobolo or pau ferro yet, but I'll be taking my precautions, because both are to pretty to risk sensitizaiton and resulting not-being-able-to-work-with-it-ization.

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Been working indoors with it steadily for 4 years with no problems.

http://surfpick.com...

I do, however, have extreme sensitivites to other things, mainly tobacco smoke.

The slightest whiff and I puke my guts out.

I should add that even if LV should prove to be fairly human friendly,

if you try and buy Lignum Vitae, chances are high that you might receive

one of the various varieties of wood that people have slapped the name Lignim Vitae onto.

I have no idea of the irritant value of Vera, Gaiac, Argentinian LV or any of the other imposters.

Only the Guaiacum species are real LV

http://uberdense.com

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MP63 Posted Dec 15 2006, 11:32 PM

Benedryle, Claritin will help if you have reactions to certain woods, but only slight reactions. Those you take before. If you need to take them, then the wood is a no-no.

Two big names if you find you are reacting to wood allergies:

1) Epinephrine. This will save your life.

2) Albuterol. This helps when your airway becomes constricted due to a reaction. Usually asthmatics carry that, like I do now. It's an emergency inhaler.

Seriously some good pointers there! Benedryl can save your life and should be in everyones house. Recently I was real sick in the hospital and they had to give me some pain meds and to increase the effectiveness I guess they added some form of anti-anxiety med in the shot and the anxiety med immediately started having bad side effects. It got really bad because the pain med and allergic reaction combo made it so I couldn't speak or move, only just barely. After 30 minutes or more of laying watching people go in and out I was finally able to convey that I was having problems. Immediately they saw I was really red and hot and knew it was an allergic reaction, to my amazment they gave me a form of benedryl in my IV and it helped very quickly and I felt much better.

It will work the same for a wood reaction, even if it doesn't stop a bad reaction, it can at least slow it to the point where you can get help easily. As Mattia mentioned (I believe) it's best to do everything you can to protect yourself even if it doesn't bother you because you can become sensitive to a wood over time and have the same problems. As with the member here MP63 I was allergic to nearly every pollen, grass, mold and everything else they tested for. I reacted to a solid 95%+ of the tests, but I had shots for 5 years and multiple sinus surgeries and now things are a just tiny bit better :D , no worries as long as I can work on wood thoroughly protected. Again, just be careful especially when working with new woods or just starting out, better to buy some protection than a hospital bill.

Edited by jmrentis

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Let the newbie jump in here...

About 20 years ago - I worked in a millshop, as a 2nd job, but did it six nights and one day a week.. we ran from 6 to 11 at night, and then cranked up at 7 through noon on saturday. I did this for about 2 years, eventually becoming night shift honcho over a crew of about 10 guys.

We did rough cut, resaw, and final on a lot of woods, but especially cypress, which we could get as logs. Red oak, white oak, ash, redwood, mahogany, cedar, walnut, rosewood, a lot of teak.

Mostly the cypress got made into thin tongue and groove for wall panels. Ran a lot of red and white oak for flooring too.

By far, the worst was cypress, which would give me a bad headache and have my nose running like a faucet as soon as the saws started. Red oak was a bad irritant too, although the white oak didn't bother me a hoot. Teak could leave me drippin' too. No, we didn't use respirators, but did have an very good exhaust/vacuum system on anything that made a mess (planers, joiners, the resaw, bigger table saws, table routers). Things like radial arms and small belt sanders only had a shopvac on them. So.... it wasn't horrendous, but was dusty.

BTW, grinding knives... or really any sort of steel or aluminum... gives me the same bad headache. After the millshop gig, I worked nights and weekends at a local gun range/ammo factory. Any grinding I did - like putting a beavertail on a 45 auto... man it just ruined my day, respirator or not. EDM machines do the same thing to me - and I guess its the "burnt" steel as you'd have in grinding or EDM that is the culprit.

My step-brother-in-law lost most of a lung to cancer at a very early age. He was an avid woodworker, bought my dads stuff when we moved (I was a teen). He worked his way through college then ran his own millshop up in NY. Had to close it when he got sick. Never smoked more than a the occasional joint at a party. Took about 3 years after he graduated and had his own place that he got sick - so it was probably all the exposure over the years catching up with him.

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Thanks a lot for the list.

I rpinted it and it is up in our office's bulletin board. There is only 4 of us working here, but we have had some form of running nose these past 3 months. Exactly when we started working with American Walnut. It smells like Iodine so that should have told us something :D

Later.

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This is an interesting thread! I mainly focus on exotic hardwoods for building guitars and I can honestly say that I’ve never once put on a mask and my only dust collection system is a 30 Gallon shop vac.

This is what I’ve determined personally.

Zebra Wood just smells!

Lace wood gave a slight sore throat the first time I used it and hasn’t been an issue since

Padauk burns the heck out of my throat, makes my eyes feel like sand paper and makes my nose run like its negative 20 outside. Not only that, it stains blue jeans permanently. The ill affects have not gotten worse over time but they do not get better over time.

Walnut makes my nose run too but that’s because it’s such a fine dust (almost like sand)

Acrylic (I’ve made a ton of acrylic bodies over the years. It will make you high and can cause some upset stomachs do to its low melting range.)

Wenge, ossage orange, cocobolo, teak, maple, beech, snake wood, ebony, rosewood, yellow-heart, ash, alder and blood wood have never bothered me. I’m sure there is more but who can remember! I’ve also sprayed my fair share of nitro without a mask too!

By the way I just had my lungs tested due to an unrelated issue and they are perfect for my age group.

Anything can cause you cancer. Breathing some wood dust now and then won’t cause any more cancer than sitting in traffic sucking the exhaust fumes of the guy in front of you.

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