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Anyone else react to ebony dust?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by RyanHelms, Oct 21, 2003.


  1. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    I've experience a noticeable "heady" feeling sanding ebony once without a mask. I passed it off as my normal allergies and didn't consider the ebony, specifically. Last night I scroll sawed through some headstock veneer and was affected again.

    I now know ebony is sensitizing, and don't know if that's what's happened, and if I'll be OK using a good mask. I have something in progess and don't know what to do.

    Can anyone share any info about their own wood allergies or ebony reaction in particular?

    Regards,
    -RH
     
  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I used to do some cabinetry work years ago. It's pretty common for most people to have allergies to Western Red Cedar, Blackwood, and Acacia - those are the big offenders.

    Good ventilation, use of masks, and avoiding skin contact with the dust of these woods is the best way I've seen to reduce both short-term and long-term problems.
     
  3. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Ventilation is my main concern, being in a makeshift basement "shop". My mask is looking like my best friend right now.

    I did find the "What are least favorite woods to work with?" thread searching about this. Seems like all the favorite exotics are toxic to some degree.

    This list at theMIMF looks like a good place to start, though most folks here have probably seen it already.

    -RH
     
  4. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    You should buy or make a sanding table as well. Usually, they are a 2' x 2' plastic mesh (like the kind used for drop ceiling flourescent lights and vents) top that sits on a box, which has a dust collector or shop vac hooked up to it. This will greatly help reduce the amount of dust in the air.

    Some woodworking shops sell the small, portable versions like I've described above for around $20 or so. I've seen one in the hard copy of the grizzly catalog, but just checked their online store and didn't find it... I'll check the catalog again tonight and see what the product number is.

    :^)~
     
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Wouldn't hurt to buy a shop-duty air filter. I have a JDS and it clears the air pretty quick. Jet, Delta, and Grizzly all make a similar model. If you have a filter like this that can move some air you'll be much happier. Always wear a mask when you are creating dust from exotics, even with a filter, but the filter will clear the air so you can take the mask off when you're not actively making dust.
     
  6. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks fellahs.
    I don't burn PVC in the garage anymore :rolleyes: but sanding wasn't an issue till now.

    My only vac at the moment is a floor Hoover whose nozzle hooks into the bottom of my bandsaw or can be strapped near enough to the drum sander to get 90% of the dust. The sanding table is a good idea. I should be able to rig up something.

    Gear like a shop-duty air filter and dust collection was later on down the list if I get "serious". But if I'm already getting messed up from working ebony, I s'pose that's serious.


    There once was a time when I may have thought getting off from sanding was cool...

    -RH
     
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Well, if you don't mind leaving the mask on while you're in the shop, then you can probably get by without the filter.

    But when you realize that you've gotten "serious", and it will happen, then you'll need a dust collector and an air filter if you want to live long and keep boogers off your instruments.

    Cocobolo and most of the rosewoods are nasty, much worse than ebony for me. Padauk really wreaks havoc and so does pau ferro. Imbuia will knock you out. When I have to do a prolonged stretch of working cocobolo, I crank the filter on full blast and go get a bowl of hot and sour when I'm done while the air clears.
     
  8. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Okay, I found the sanding box in the Grizzly paper catalog. The item # is G5935. Boy, was I way off on the price, they want $69.95 for it!

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/ite...63A2-C01B-48F1-94DD-BE60F8950594&site=grizzly

    Anyway, it looks like a handy thing to have, or even to make your own that you could hook up to a shop vac....

    On that note, isn't Wenge another wood that the dust can be really toxic?...

    :^)`
     
  9. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks for the Grizzly sanding box link. Very cool, and easy to make. That, and an air filter are definately getting bumped up the list of "gotta-haves".

    The MIMF toxic wood list shows wenge as

    Wenge: sensitizer/respiratory, eye & skin/great/dust/common

    (type of toxin/reaction catagory/potency/wood or dust hazard/incidence of reactions)

    Last time I looked in my mask after drum sanding ebony there were fine black specks in there!?!? Must not have been a tight fit, $6 sanding mask in the can.


    A bowl of hot and sour?:confused:
     
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Mmmm... hot & sour soup. There's a good chinese restaurant down the street from my shop. All that dust in the air is a good excuse to go get some soup.
     
  11. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Aaahhh...just steppin' out to get some fresh air.
     
  12. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Ebony bothers me but what REALLY gets me is Paduak dust; not only does that stuff get everywhere and make the shop look like i spilled a 5lb bag of paprika but it will not come out of my clothes; My UConn t shirt is now grey/red.

    I usually use a variation of the hot/sour; i use thai coconut chili pepper soup and a couple of Glenlivet straight up...
     
  13. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Cheers![​IMG]
     
  14. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    FINALLY!!!


    (taking off dunce cap) Didin't mean to shout, but remembering how to get an image in the post from a TB hosted attachment was entirely too ridiculous. Now, back to wood dust and boogers.
     
  15. schuyler

    schuyler

    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    ebony, cocobolo, and wenge don't bother me any more than other woods. padauk will set me sneezing right quick, as will teak. iroko is a killer for me... got 2 weeks of upper body rash from it once.

    my general rule of thumb is that if i can tell which woods i was working by the color of my boogers at the end of the day, then i wasn't wearing my mask enough. and by mask, i mean respirator with particulate and chemical filters (finishing fumes aren't exactly granola, either).

    i find my lungs and sinuses are much happier if i wear the mask anytime i'm creating dust, even if i'm only working woods which don't bother me. on the positive side, the dust issues encourage me to use more hand tools, scrapers, planes, etc. so i can leave the mask off more.

    and of course zebrawood requires the use of a mask for entirely different reasons. :)
     
  16. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    How about just a clothespin for the nose?

    I can't believe cocobolo doesn't get you. My neighbor calls it "croak-obolo".
     
  17. I do a bit of Chip-Carving with all kinds of woods..and have had nasty reactions to Walnut, Rosewood, and Padauk.
    Outside of masking yourself there's not much else that can be done.
    The headaches and subsequent sinus reactions are quite nasty.

    LenG
     
  18. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Stanky?

    I seem to have developed a sensitivity to just about anything airborne. You name it, I have a reaction to it. Maybe I should become bubble boy.....

    So far though, it feels like I'm either building a tolerence to the ebony dust, or my so-so mask and McGuyver downdraft sanding box (props to Bass Kahuna for the tip) are doing the trick.

    -RH