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It's up to you, of course, but I advise everyone to wear a mask, regardless. Wood dust is bad enough, but nitro...that's bad, bad news if you breathe it.

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I'm with Rick on this one, ALWAYS wear a mask, it ain't worth finding out in 15 years that you were wrong, ya know and the difference now between your life and death was a thin filter/mask. This is one of those problems that doesn't occur in any type of time frame.

As stated there are a ton of things that can cause cancer, might as well not add to that list, :D

Just how I see it. Wood is one thing too, when you start talking about finishes and nitro without a mask, I don't even really know what to say. The reactions speak often for themselves acrylic gets you high and upset your stomache? Thats your body telling you that you are being poisoned at levels low enough to keep you conscious. Just like people who surfed all their lives getting skin cancer spots, your body is being poisoned in the same way and in time it will run into the same problems. I know somethings can be debatable as to being cancer causing because they seem so far fetched, but items that are proven to very problematic to many different individuals should be cautioned against, especially against finishing agents. These cautions surrounding these specific items are most definately not voodoo.

Anyhow, everyone is entitled to their own opinions on everything, but for this particular subject I would advise and urge everyone to wear their protective gear. As I mentioned it's just not worth being wrong in this case and just because you don't have cancer now doesn't mean that it won't occur in others or later in life. Spend some time in an oncologists office and see how many people agree. J

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Man thanks for this but having thoughts about if that can be true.

The link says Beech is cancerous,well im a furniturer for years now along with my retired father one of the woods that is used mostly on woodworking(europe) its Beech and i've seen none of my collagues to have anything like that,its worth to take a good look but i would not take that seriously.

The most irritant wood that i ever used is african walnut,my nose after some time of sanding bleeds pretty common,and the aniegre(not sure if the spelling is correct)that tends to choke me while sanding.

Anyways thanks ill sure take a closer look to that.

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..then wear protection.

Woodworkers are 3 to 4 times as likely to develop cancers of the ear, nose and throat than non-woodworkers. Fact. Just because something's carcinogenic doesn't mean it causes problems for everyone exposed to it, but it does increase the risk significantly, and protection (dust mask) is easy enough. If you're getting nose bleeds from dust, that's a Bad Thing, and you shouldn't EVER expose your lungs while sanding to such a degree that it makes you choke.

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..then wear protection.

Woodworkers are 3 to 4 times as likely to develop cancers of the ear, nose and throat than non-woodworkers. Fact. Just because something's carcinogenic doesn't mean it causes problems for everyone exposed to it, but it does increase the risk significantly, and protection (dust mask) is easy enough. If you're getting nose bleeds from dust, that's a Bad Thing, and you shouldn't EVER expose your lungs while sanding to such a degree that it makes you choke.

You are 100% right Mattia,but i just can't work 8 or 10 straigt hours with a mask, as about me it drives me crazy and i dont work with those woods so often..

Also the real danger(i think)is mother of pearl i cut MOP with my dremel and those thin speed disks,1 time 1 mistake and i was barely breathing for 2 days i think that can be a real problem breath protection is a must here.

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Shell is a whole lot worse than wood when it comes to killing you, or so i hear.

I find myself getting allergic to certain woods after i have worked with it for ages, especially rosewood dusts and i cant breath after using jarrah as i found out when i was in yr12 woodwork.

I always wear a respirator, but its when i take it off those dusts play with my lungs.

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Shell might be, but there's no actual published data on the danger/toxicity of shell dust. It's silicate, so logic tells me it could lead to silicosis or the like, but at least it's more or less inert. Wood has a lot of biologically (and immunologically) active components in addition to the merely mechanical damage caused by fine wood dust (which can eventually lead to malignancy).

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I did some searching after the recent thread with Cocobolo wood, and found this chart, some interesting stuff I didn't know, there's a couple woods I'm going to be a hell of a lot more careful with now, that's for sure!!!!

http://www.cs.rochester.edu/u/roche/rec.wood.misc/wood.toxic

Thanks for the info and link. I've never used Cocobolo, but maybee I've been lucky with some of the others over the last 30 years, though I do always wear a resperator especialy when using machines.

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BTW, grinding knives... or really any sort of steel or aluminum... gives me the same bad headache.

I wore a face shield but not a mask for the first knife I ever ground. Didn't get a headache ( I actually like the smell of steel) but I did get a mustache from the dust.

That's why I (usually) remember to wear a dust mask. I haven't worked with any real toxic woods yet but I find a mouth full of mahogany or maple dust is quite unpleasant. Though after reading this, if I do use more toxic woods, I'll buy a respirator.

BTW, I've been on Allegra D and Flonase for my allergies for about 4 years now and it works great.

Edited by foil1more

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I haven't read all the posts, so this might have been covered.

Ebony can be pretty vicious on your lungs. I work with it a lot and, if I don't wear a mask, I'l be hacking stuff up for a couple days afterwards.

Black and white ebony is the worst I've come across so far. It'll make your nostrils feel like they're on fire. There's been times I've worked with it and didn't wear a mask the whole time. I'l be useless when I come home. It'll make your chest feel strange (from your windpipe) and your breathing a little wheezy.

I've heard of guys in Africa who cut it up for a living getting lung disease and constant chest pain. Seems like it's more dangerous than smoking.

I've learned to just wear a mask no matter what kind of wood I'm using, especially if I'm sanding.

Edited by NotYou

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Sorry I didn't have ime to read thru the 5 PAGES of posts so this may have been answered.

Is this just for exposure to the actual wood unfinished or what? I mean this includes fingerboards? Or could you get a reaction with even a mild finish on the wood? And that stems another question: what about toxicity in finishes? I mean if your hypersensative to dust because of a preexsisting allergy, then whats to say your not going to break out in a rash everytime you play a guitar with an exotic wood fingerboard?

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Sorry I didn't have ime to read thru the 5 PAGES of posts so this may have been answered.

Is this just for exposure to the actual wood unfinished or what? I mean this includes fingerboards? Or could you get a reaction with even a mild finish on the wood? And that stems another question: what about toxicity in finishes? I mean if your hypersensative to dust because of a preexsisting allergy, then whats to say your not going to break out in a rash everytime you play a guitar with an exotic wood fingerboard?

Unfinished wood isn't a danger unless you're allergic or hypersensitive, which is very unlikely. If you were, you'd know right away, I'm sure. Most fingerboards are unfinished and pose no danger at all. The dust is what causes problems. Cocobolo dust can cause rashes and all kinds of problems, but just touching the wood won't do any harm. Ebony, which is used a lot for fingerboards, won't do much damage unless you breath in the dust. I usually come home with black fingers from ebony dust and I've never had a problem from it. Breathing it in can be dangerous and sometimes a little painful, though.

Edited by NotYou

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I just wanted to add a bit to the discussion of using respirators. To put my credentials up, I have worked for the last 20 years in the hazardous waste cleanup field and am a certified hazardous waste site worker and supervisor and have led several OSHA complaince classes.

I agree strongly that a respirator should be worn when generating wood dust but with a few points. You should always check with your doctor first (OSHA requires a pulmanary test annualy if you use them at work). Respirators make it harder to breathe and have triggered heart attacks in people with athsma and emphasima (sp?).

If the mask does not fit, it does not do any good. A propper fit test is hard for the hobbiest to do but a quick and almost as good check is the following: With the cartridges off, hold your hands over the intake and breath in. The mask should get pushed in. If you feel air comming in, adjust it till it does not. Then with the cartridges on, cover the outlet valve and breathe out. The mask should inflate a bit like a baloon. No air should escape. If you feel cool air coming in while you are working, you have a leek. If it gets harder to breathe while you are working, or if you smell an oder (other than the rubber from the mask) your filters are loaded and should be replaced right away.

It does not do you a lot of good to use a mask and take it off when you are done and breathe in all the dust that is in the air. Walk out of your shop, close the door and let things settle for at least 15 minutes. If you have to, you can speed up the settling of dust by spraying the air with a plant mister filled with water. You don't want to get things wet, just let the water cary some of the dust out.

Just one more point, most hobbiest use what is called a half face respirator which covers you mouth and nose. A full face respirator also covers your eyes protecting them from fumes and dust. Most, but not all so check, full face resoirators use safety rated lenses so you have that protection too.

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Be careful.....Wood can kill or cause cancer. It is usually ok for most of you take the time to wear personal protection....dust mask, gloves, etc... I am allergic to African mahogany, it made my lungs almost close shut......Ebony is another bad one too.

Many people say that maple can cause cancer if sanding without dust masks a lot. be safe. Don't learn the hardway.....

I use a respirator to work with sanding my guitars.....I would rather change a filter than my lungs...

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I did some searching after the recent thread with Cocobolo wood, and found this chart, some interesting stuff I didn't know, there's a couple woods I'm going to be a hell of a lot more careful with now, that's for sure!!!!

<a href='http://www.cs.rochester.edu/u/roche/rec.wood.misc/wood.toxic' target='_blank'>http://www.cs.rochester.edu/u/roche/rec.wood.misc/wood.toxic</a>

Thanks for that. My wife is an oncology nurse, and she's been warning me about the dangers of working with wood for quite some time......dust, pulp, fibers, etc. That chart really spells it out. Me, I've learned to use filtration on my machines, and a dust mask at all times.

Mike

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maybe this is not the right place for this but I bought a hand plane and found an old board in the house (this house is 101 years old) so used it for some practice, and the wood (or some coating on it) smells like iodine. The wood after being planed down a bit is kind of honey colored on the edges and darker on the faces (flat sawn) somewhere between the color of some bourbons and a lighter spanish cedar (but with more grain) any idea what the wood could be and if the iodine smell is dangerous at all and if it's an old tymey stain smell or indicative of some wood? (I don't know a lot about wood)

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No,bubinga is not toxic.I use it AAAALLLL the time with no ill effects,but I shower after every foray into wood dust manufacturing and get all of the wood out of my nose.

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I would do that, but I think it better to use a respirator/mask to stop any from entering your body.

Especially sanding. Chisel work and large shavings? Not as critical as dust.

Hope it all turns our great!

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Just thought I'd share my experience with lacewood or silky oak(not actually related to oak) as it can have a real nasty reaction. I've used it twice, the first time using a veneer with no problem. I still have some left overs around, I think it's been treated to remove the oils or something. However, the second time I used it I wasn't so lucky. I was able to work a body together, shaping and sanding, and I was fine. Until it came time to route the neck pocket/cavities. I wore a respirator and goggles, but the next day I had a rash that itched like really bad poison oak, and after benadryl and itch cream, I had to go to the doctors who gave me steroids, which provided partial relief. Although I wasn't 100% sure(more like 99.5%) I left the body alone for awhile, highly suspicious it was the culprit. I finally decided I would just sand through the little work I had left and seal the wood asap. I got pretty close, most of the body had CA sealing it. But it was semi-hollow with no way of sealing the entire inside, and that just wasn't going to work out. It got scraped after I got back from the doctors, again.

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I became that way with mahogany and oak. It's all maple and poplar for me now. It's okay.

Life is good, and maple and poplar are great woods.

We live and we learn.

Getting old sucks at times.

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There are plenty of other great woods out there, it just sucks because I love the look of lacewood and I haven't really gotten my fill of it yet. At least the veneer should be safe enough. Although, I suppose if you were allergic to a wood but wanted the figure, a thin veneer might still be a pretty safe way to go. Not very much saw dust involved and I believe most veneer is treated, which could remove some/most of the oils if that's what your allergic to.

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I developed an allergy to wood dust recently, Cocobolo being the worst. I get a burning rash in all of the skin areas that fold, eyelids, armpits, crotch behind my ears, and around my neck. The same spots every time. I curb the sawdust with a shop vac attached to the saws, a fan box with a furnace filter that runs all the time I am working, latex gloves all of the time, and a decent dust mask and long sleeve shirts. That is the only way I can do wood work short of taking shots.

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