Important information on potentially toxic woods that all woodworkers should know
Ted Mcgrath here and I really want to share this article with you as it’s important.
The following information is reprinted with permission from data provided by Roy Banner, a wood turner from Torrance, California who almost lost his life in 1989 to anaphylactic shock after turning pieces of exotic wood.
You can bet Roy wears his RACAL respirator every time he turns on his lathe now! Roy has assembled this data over the years from various sources and when an entry appears in red, this indicates that the information has come from only one source and has not been verified elsewhere.
Some of the information here has come as a surprise to me and its a wonder I’ve never had a toxic reaction to wood that I’ve been aware of.
As a craftsman, I’ve worked with a lot of exotics, but as a wood collector I’ve worked with lots more strange stuff from all over the world with no ill effects. Each of us is different and you can call me old “iron gut”.
Sorry that this is such a patchwork effort and may be difficult to follow, and that Latin names of woods are not included. I can’t judge with any authority the validity of the information presented here and it’s up to the user’s discretion to further research any wood themselves, though Roy has told me the information here has appeared in several woodworking magazines (for what that’s worth).
Note that this data does not take into consideration Man’s penchant for trying to poison himself by using formaldehyde in plywood, treated woods, sodium compounds in white pine to prevent blue stain, etc.
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