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Thread: wood dust allergy

  1. #26
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    I noticed that several woods caused me increased sensitivity and irritation over time. And yes, western red cedar is the worst, followed by redwood and cocobolo but pretty much any oily wood dust is a nasty irritant. And abalone shell put me down for 3 days when I was young and stupid.
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  2. #27
    Registered User fentonjames's Avatar
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    since it is a rather old harmony patrician guitar, could it not be wood dust, but mold?


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  3. #28
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    Good question about the mold, don't know. Here's a before/after of the offending guitar.
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  4. #29
    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    I can't handle cedar even trimming my hedges. I worked in a wood mill for a bit in Salmo and I had to wear swim goggles or my eyes shut

    But the padauk ukulele I can't play unless I wear a long sleeve shirt. something about the edge of that that does a number on my arm.
    Kala tenor ukulele, Mandobird, Godin A8, Dobro Mandolin, Gold Tone mandola, Gold Tone OM, S'oarsey mandocello, Gold Tone Irish tenor banjo, Gold Tone M bass, Taylor 214 CE Koa, La Patrie Concert CW, Fender Strat powered by Roland, Yamaha TRBX174 bass, Epiphone ES-339 with GK1

  5. #30
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    African Blackwood is my kryptonite. I had a nice supply of it from back in the day and miss being able to build instruments with it, but it got so bad I had to sell off everything. Recently the local Sycamore did a number on me- of course after I went in with someone and got a big enough log to make about a half dozen upright basses. As a guitar builder, I'm so thankful that my preference is for D18s over D28s!

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  6. #31

    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    Interesting that this thread comes up now! A couple months back, I had a very severe reaction to cocobolo and bocote. I'm a duck call maker. 2017 makes it 30 years doing that and roughly 20 years of doing so with cocobolo. Unfortunately, too many years without enough protection from the dust and chips finally resulted in a severe sensitization and a visit to the minor med clinic, along with the accompanying medical bills and meds. No breathing reaction, but really severe skin reactions which resulted in huge amounts of itching, then peeling of skin, etc.

    Cocobolo seems to be the worst sensitizer in the rosewood family (all Dalbergia), but there are definitely others. Once you become sensitized to one, your likelihood of becoming allergic or reactive to another is much higher. In my case, I seem to be reactive so far to Bocote, Paduak and African Blackwood, with the latter two being much less severe than cocobolo.

    I'm now in a bit of a pinch as the woods I'm most allergic to are the most in-demand woods for what I make and sell. I've been using the database below to look for sensitivity levels of different woods. Based on it, I'm beginning to change the woods I make calls from, and I'm avoiding the severe benedryl doses I was having to use back in early November.

    http://www.wood-database.com/wood-ar...-and-toxicity/

    I've also now installed a more robust dust and chip collection system in my shop, along with wearing significantly more personal breathing and skin protection when working any wood.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #32
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    Quote Originally Posted by CHASAX View Post
    A New Mexico luthier had a custom cocobolo guitar for resale. His buyer had a reaction to the completed guitar.
    Is that common?
    I don't think that handling finished cocobolo often causes allergies. There are some pretty allergic people out there though, so I suppose it happens. I wonder how that reaction manifested itself-- rash where it touched the arm?
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  8. #33

    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    All dust, whatever it's source is harmful to human health as well as allergic reactions to certain people, coal dust and stone dust being 2 prime examples, pneumoconiosis and silicosis respectively.

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  9. #34
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Busman View Post
    I don't think that handling finished cocobolo often causes allergies.
    What about microscopic particles from the unfinished inside of the body, inhaled?
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  10. #35
    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    Quote Originally Posted by CHASAX View Post
    A New Mexico luthier had a custom cocobolo guitar for resale. His buyer had a reaction to the completed guitar.
    Is that common?
    I endorse everything said here about cocobolo. I'm not normally sensitive to anything but I have to be very careful with cocobolo. This is not an unusual sensitivity on my part, it's just very poisonous stuff. I have made guitars and mandolins with it and no customer has ever complained.

    However, I do remember reading that finished items made from cocobolo may affect the user. Difficult to understand why that should apply when the item concerned is a guitar which is presumably covered with lacquer. Unless of course the fingerboard was cocobolo too.

  11. #36
    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: wood dust allergy

    glad to know all this. I was going to have a cocobolo fretboard but ended up with ebony instead
    Kala tenor ukulele, Mandobird, Godin A8, Dobro Mandolin, Gold Tone mandola, Gold Tone OM, S'oarsey mandocello, Gold Tone Irish tenor banjo, Gold Tone M bass, Taylor 214 CE Koa, La Patrie Concert CW, Fender Strat powered by Roland, Yamaha TRBX174 bass, Epiphone ES-339 with GK1

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