I think I'm allergic to sawdust...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by reverendrally, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Seems like I'm allergic to sawdust. It started earlier this year when I built a speaker box. Itchy first below the belt, then my arms, and then my neck, face and eyes. No rash, but itchy as heck. Now I'm suffering again after working on the 2 string the other day.

    Does anyone else have this issue? Is there some trick to preventing it when you're working with wood?
  2. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Safety gloves and definitely a breathing mask of some sort, doesn't have to be a filtered respirator, just a regular filtering mask.

    Also - you could be allergic to only certain types of wood. If you have spare wood around that's not the same as the one you're using for the two-string, try fashioning something out of it and see if it causes a similar or exact reaction. If that doesn't prove conclusive, check with a doctor for a complete allergenic test battery.
  3. I was using hoop pine ply a month back for the speaker box and it made me itchy. Now I'm using silky oak and vic ash (local woods) and they seem to be having the same effect. So it's kinda hard to know whether it's the wood or the glue or what.
  4. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses barcusbasses.com
    You could always draw a grid on your arm and start poking yourself with different types of wood. Ok, maybe that isn't such a good idea. :)

    I've only had reactions to woods with a high oil content like cocobolo, although I think that happens to just about everybody.
    I use a home-made air filter consisting of a fan, furnace filter, and 1/4" pressboard. That helps a lot with dust issues.
  5. VitalSigns


    May 8, 2011
    Central NY
    So, your balls? :D
  6. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but silk oak is so well known for causing allergic reactions that we don't allow students to work with it at the college where I teach woodworking. If you continue to work with it, chances are the the symptoms will worsen as wood sensitivities tend to be cumulative.

    Google toxic wood species and you'll find a long list of wood species to which people are known to have sensitivities.
  7. Lizooki


    Feb 24, 2008
    Yep .... 5 min of sanding on the belt sander or drum (lotsa dust)
    without a mask and I have a migraine the next day.

    The more exotic the wood the worse it usually is.

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