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Thread: cocobolo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    268

    cocobolo

    I turned a pen the other night , very beautiful wood after wards I came down with a sore throat and a cough.It really worried me for a couple days before it cleared up . Has any one ever had this happen to them before,it seems I have heard some thing like this
    Wally

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    El Dorado Hills, CA, USA
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    Oh yes, definitely. A fair number of the more exotic woods will cause sinus and other issues. You should wear a mask when you work with them.
    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Wenzel View Post
    I turned a pen the other night , very beautiful wood after wards I came down with a sore throat and a cough.It really worried me for a couple days before it cleared up . Has any one ever had this happen to them before,it seems I have heard some thing like this
    Wally
    Cocobolo is one of those woods that affects a lot of people. I have a big stash of it and I have to be careful to wear protection. It's the dust that gets you - I don't power sand and often smooth with hand scrapers and hand sanding with the lathe off. Even then I use an industrial respirator, long sleeves, gloves, and shower afterwards. That is along with dust collection with a powerful cyclone.

    Some people get severe respiratory problems with cocobolo. Many get skin rashes. If I'm wearing a watch and get a little dust underneath and don't wash it I will get a rash under my watch. Some other woods are bad too: some are sensitive to eastern red cedar. I will never turn another piece of borneo rosewood. Some people are sensitive to a variety of the rosewoods. (Cocobolo is a rosewood, as is african blackwood, and tulipwood - all are among my favorite woods.) If you are sensitive to cocobolo you might be careful around some of the others: https://www.wood-database.com/hardwo...eae/dalbergia/

    There is a test you can do to see if you are sensitive ahead of time. Put a small amount of sawdust from the candidate wood underneath bandaids stuck to the sensitive skin on the inside of the forearm. Woods you are sensitive too will cause itching before too long.

    One caution, with wood every exposure is said to increase the likelihood of future sensitivity. I know of two people who had to give up woodturning completely because of wood sensitivity. One gentleman had to sell his house because he couldn't walk into the shop building even after it was stripped bare and professionally cleaned several times.

    If you don't have a good respirator, you might hold off turning more cocobolo until you get one. Unfortunately they are hard to find right now due to the demand. But I was surprised to see a big display of respirators in the local farm store this morning - they had N95 and P100 and at reasonable prices.

    Edit: this is the type of respirator I use:
    respirator.jpg
    I have mostly switched to the 3M 7000 series which is more comfortable than the 6000 series pictured. All are very reasonably priced (in normal times )

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 04-01-2020 at 11:19 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Rosewoods have a relation to poison ivy, so if you are sensitive to that, I would bet you are sensitive to Rosewoods.

    John, does that mask cause any fogging of glasses? Think I'm in the market for a respirator after the headband on my Airshield broke for the 2nd time.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Tymchak View Post
    John, does that mask cause any fogging of glasses? Think I'm in the market for a respirator after the headband on my Airshield broke for the 2nd time.

    No fogging for me. However, I do not work in a cold shop which may make a difference.

    Another big difference could be the specific type of 3M mask. The 7502 respirator I prefer is not only more comfortable but the vent valve is on the bottom which directs exhaled air down instead of outwards. Yikes, from my Amazon order page it looks like I've purchased 6 of these and a number of older models. I use them when shearing llamas, in the shop, and to prevent asthma when handling hay. I've given some away.

    JKJ

  6. #6
    Generally, the stronger the scent of the wood is, the more likely you are to react to it. Some woods take longer to react to than others. Redwood and cedar are two. I don't work walnut any more because I was starting to itch and sneeze. I don't work Mimosa/Silk trees any more, but it doesn't have much of a scent. With the rosewood family, it isn't if, but when you will react to it.

    robo hippy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
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    I've never had a chance to try cocobolo but picked up a piece of padauk while at Rockler to make some buttons. It's the first time I used it. The second any tool touched it orange dust started flying around. Being a bright orange color it's real easy to see. I'm not sure if it's an exotic wood thing or what. I know some of these woods are used in decking because the silica content is so high they don't rot (in some cases they don't even burn). As others said, wear a mask (if you can find one) or set up a good dust collection system.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    The old saying about cocobolo; There are two kinds of people around cocobolo. Those that are allergic to it, and those that will become allergic to it. If it doesn't get you right away, it is a sensitizer and the more you work with it the less resistant you become to it.

  9. #9
    The second time I used cocobolo I was told "You're orange!" And I was, not just dusty but my exposed skin was orange. No other effects, but that was enough warning for me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    The second time I used cocobolo I was told "You're orange!" And I was, not just dusty but my exposed skin was orange. No other effects, but that was enough warning for me.
    That evokes a variation of a scene from Willie Wonka--"Kevin, you're turning orange!!" "Quick, get him down to the de-cocobolo room"

    earl

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