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Eli Gautreaux
02-06-2010, 06:30 PM
Hey Ray,

I messed around with this little utility knife yesterday, from that band saw blade material I told you about.

I woke up this morning with crazy swollen eyes and a very red itchy neck... I found out later that some people are allergic to some woods, cocobolo being one of the worst. Guess I should have read about it first :rolleyes:

They're small scales, but I had to sand a lot of material, so the whole garage was full of dust.

I thought knifemaking was a safe sport --- you've got me into something dangerous for my health! :eek: Between anti-freeze fumes, micarta dust, high rpm 60 grit belts, angle grinder cut-off wheels, and now poison woods, the shop seems like a pretty dangerous place.

Here's what I made, for grins:


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i138/xamaneli/100_4701.jpg


http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i138/xamaneli/100_4709.jpg


Next time we get together, you'll have to show me how to do guards and stick-tangs.

Denny Eller
02-06-2010, 06:43 PM
Eli, I don't mean to butt in but the first time I sanded Cocobolo I got a bad headache, a bad cough and had a rash on my forearms that lasted overnight. From now on I'll avoid it like the plague. Denny

Raymond Richard
02-06-2010, 07:03 PM
Eli, Remember what I told you back in November?

Cocobola is probably one of the worst for reactions. I've head of some people working with it for years with no problem and then all of sudden it hits like a ton of bricks. It was my main handle material for years and never had a problem with it plus it had a nice sweet flavor and smell. Ironwood is another one that causes problems. The only wood that has bothered me is monkey pod. It would bother my eyes and make me sneeze. You got to be tough to be a knife maker....... Pretty sure I mention wearing some sort of mask also.

Your dark red hair should be some sort of a warning. Your going to need to get rid of the dust from the cocobola. Please were a mask and cover up when you do. I can't watch over you all the time.

Nice looking knife, sorry the wood got to you.....

Eli Gautreaux
02-06-2010, 07:56 PM
Thanks Denton!

Ray, I'm finally toughening up my hands, even have a callous or two, lol. But the red hair and fair skin is an inherited weakness :D

What's funny is that I bought more than enough cocobolo to do 5-6 knives, lol. In spite of the rash and busted knuckles, I'm having a blast. Thanks for introducing me to the knifemaking disease!

Raymond Richard
02-06-2010, 08:20 PM
Thanks Denton!

Ray, I'm finally toughening up my hands, even have a callous or two, lol. But the red hair and fair skin is an inherited weakness :D

What's funny is that I bought more than enough cocobolo to do 5-6 knives, lol. In spite of the rash and busted knuckles, I'm having a blast. Thanks for introducing me to the knifemaking disease!

Eli, I'd rather see you around for another 50 years and not making knives than becoming another statistic. I was happy with you just being a good customer. Just be careful and use your head. I think I need to tell Mary to keep an eye on you a little more often. :D

Peter Killgore
02-06-2010, 09:51 PM
Sorry you had to find out about your allergy the hard way Eli. I love Cocobolo for a handle material but I don't know where Ray is getting this idea about it having a sweet smell and taste. I can't stand the taste the dust leaves in you mouth. Got me wearing a mask after about the first 10 seconds.

That's a nice looking knife you got there! Keep it up, in spite of the danger. :D

Raymond Richard
02-06-2010, 10:04 PM
Sorry you had to find out about your allergy the hard way Eli. I love Cocobolo for a handle material but I don't know where Ray is getting this idea about it having a sweet smell and taste. I can't stand the taste the dust leaves in you mouth. Got me wearing a mask after about the first 10 seconds.

That's a nice looking knife you got there! Keep it up, in spite of the danger. :D

Peter, You got to chew tobacce to appreciate the flavor of cocobola. :D

Eli Gautreaux
02-07-2010, 04:33 PM
Peter, You got to chew tobacce to appreciate the flavor of cocobola. :D


Okay, you just made my stomach turn :running dog:

Lorien
02-08-2010, 06:35 PM
that's a good lookin knife Eli.
I've been working with some lignum vitae, and only using files it still gives me a sore throat of throws my mood off a bit. Definitely going to wear a mask next time, although it's hard with glasses.

One
02-12-2010, 08:15 AM
I like the smell of cocobolo too. :)

Desert ironwood is really one of the worst. I've heard that the local Indians worked it under water somehow.

Here's a helpful chart with a number of different woods and their toxicity levels:
http://www.hobbywoods.com/wood_toxicity.htm

Raymond Richard
02-12-2010, 09:02 AM
Tai, After looking at the list my thoughts are that they need to make a list of woods that are safe to work and just consider everything else as toxic. I think back to construction jobs I worked in the past that had a number of treated woods that were handled exactly the same as non treated.

One
02-12-2010, 09:59 AM
Ironwood is the only one I've ever had a reaction to, but I bet none of it is good for your lungs... bladesmithing in general probably isn't good for the old pipes. I work open air, because I never could get used to wearing a respirator. When it's hot here, my face gets all sweaty and it's very uncomfortable.

I'll probably eventually croak from bladesmithing,... a very slow painful death, (but manly)! What a way to go, huh?

Eli Gautreaux
02-12-2010, 10:23 PM
Thanks Tai, that is quite helpful.

Martin Brandt
02-21-2010, 02:20 AM
Everything we work with has its own set of hazards. Part of becoming skilled at any work should include learning these and how to minimize the risks. Even commom beach sand has a MSDS sheet as a carcinogen. As I sit here writing, sipping some nice Laphroaig Scotch I'm aware that there is a dosage limit I've set for myself. I quit cocobolo after the first exposure. Hands reacted like I was cutting up chilies without gloves. I'm pretty sensitive to just about all things dusty, so wear a good quality North respirator when sanding. grinding, or whenever moving much around in the shop stiring up dust. It is a pain I've come to appreciate as it keeps me able to work with my hands without several days of congestion headaches, sensitive eyes and other grief. This one is light, and exausts under my chin so it doesn't fog my glasses like the disposables do. Unless you can work outside where the breeze is always carrying the dust away like Tai, you're nuts not to wear a respirator when sawing, sanding and grinding. Besides wood dusts, epoxies are toxic, as well as many steels contain things like nickel, chromium, and other elements that are toxins. Even iron is damaging to men in particular if we ingest/breath too much of it. Hot weather and sweat makes for more dust sticking to your skin and can increase the problems around cuffs and under watchbands. I get a poison oak like rash from local black walnut dust in summer if I don't wash my arms off frequently when working it. Lost a knifemaker friend to lung cancer not long ago, and he seemed to not care much for dust control while doing stock removal work in his shop. All abrasives contain silica which builds up in your aveoli in your lungs cutting and scarring it until you lose lung capacity. There is nothing macho about rolling a little oxygen tank around everywhere you go, if you have enough wind to even go there. We're all gonna die some day, but let's not give the reaper so much help. Vacuum and blow down the shop regular, and wear a respirator when you do as the vac passes the finest particles back into the air for you to breath again. I work on swim pools and gas heaters and one customer got zinc fume/dust poisoning from vacuuming out his pool heater and vent, The vac filled the garage area air with the fine dust from the galvanized coating of the flue. It corrodes a bit over time and falls back down the stack as fine white dust. Be careful out there!:bud: