I had been working on my Gun Cleaning Box for about a month leading up to Christmas. My wife kept asking me why I was scratching my arms, face and neck during that time but I couldn’t put a finger on the cause. The scratching started out very slowly and was never bad enough for me to even think about it too much.
I finished the box before Christmas and haven’t been in the shop for over a week. Then the other day I went out there for about half an hour to work on a small project for my house after work. After using my bandsaw I flipped on my Jet air cleaner like I usually do.
That night I started scratching the back of my neck and couldn’t stop. I kept thinking ‘I should stop scratching’ but I was half-asleep and couldn’t control my self.
This is how I looked when I woke up the next morning. What you can’t see is the back of my neck, which looked like hamburger meat after all the scratching. You can see my swollen face, puffy eyes and red-speckled neck:
Well it turns out that the same friend that I made the box for gave me a book for Christmas called Wood Identification and Use. It covers 400 species of wood, characteristics, use, and HAZARDS.
Under “Bloodwood” it lists possible hazards: ”Causes Dermatitis” (Irritation of the skin)
This is a GREAT book. I highly recommend reading it BEFORE your next project:
The thing about skin allergies is that they often do not cause a major reaction until the secondary exposure. The first time you are exposed your body doesn’t know what it is. During a later exposure your body will recognize it and fight back (hence the reaction).
I think what did it was turning on the Jet air filter, which would have been filled with microscopic Bloodwood particles. It didn’t take much landing on my skin and face and I blew up like a puffer fish.
Well, now I know. I won’t be using Bloodwood any time soon and I wouldn’t recommend it either. I’m slowly getting over it but I am still itchy and a little puffy, almost a week after I took the above photo.
The thing that sucks the most is that now my shop is pretty much under QUARANTINE. I don’t even want to go in there. But is is a mess from the last project, with red sawdust everywhere. I don’t know what I am going to do about it. I have to get every single spec of Bloodwood out of there before it will be safe to work.
-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com