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Turners beware of Spalted Wood

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Blog entry by jockmike2 posted 02-12-2007 03:20 AM 8562 reads 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been having trouble with my eyes for two weeks now, actually it felt like I had something in them. I’ve been wearing goggles when appropriate, but mostly safety glasses. At first I thought I had a piece of steel in them from sharpening my chisels which I did more than usual because I’d been working on spalted maple, and spalted hickory for the past month. I’ve read about the perils of working with this material, but have never had problems with allergies or even rashes. So that was the last thing on my mind until I went to the eye Doctor on Friday. After looking rather acutely into both eyes for foreign objects she made some notes, stated I’d lost vision in my left eye in the past six months, then asked me the question that floored me. “Have you been around mold or is your house moldy, or are you exposed to fungus on a regular basis. So I explained to her that I turned wood and a lot of it was spalted, she knew nothing about it, so I had to explain that to her and she explained I had an eye infection. So she told me use every precaution I could around the wood, or stop using it. So for 10 bucks for the eye drops she prescribed, another 10 for the office visit, I learned the lesson that I’d read about and ignored. Please don’t do the same, it was bothersome as heck and not worth it. It still has’nt gone away completely, I hope it does. jockmike2

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -



19 comments so far

View Don's profile

Don

2603 posts in 2930 days


#1 posted 02-12-2007 04:08 AM

Mike, I’m so sorry to learn of your eye problem caused by spalted wood. This is not a good thing.

Can you imagine the damage this stuff does to your lungs? Read this.

Get one of these, they work and will keep that nasty stuff away from your face and lungs.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 3000 days


#2 posted 02-12-2007 04:12 AM

Hi Don, ‘Whats the price of one of those? Thanks for that tutorial but I remember reading it and I do have a 2 exhaust systems in my shop and use them. I guess I got to come up with something better. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Don's profile

Don

2603 posts in 2930 days


#3 posted 02-12-2007 04:25 AM

$269.00 here.
$199.00 here.
Reviewed here.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2990 days


#4 posted 02-12-2007 05:55 AM

Insanity is doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results.

Hey and if you buy stuff from Rockler or Amazon, go to their website by way of a Lumberjocks site and the Lumberjock get’s 8-10%.

It’s gonna cost you the same but at least you’re getting somebody you know a bonus.

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2959 days


#5 posted 02-12-2007 01:59 PM

Hi Mike;
—-yes the spalted woods can be bad news if your not protecting youself….

There’s a saying that goes like this: ’spalted fungi’s love the wet, when in your lungs they’re feeding to hearts content’....

I try to do all my sanding with the spalted woods in the spring or late summer-early fall ‘outside’ of my shop as I never thought much of wanting all that dust inside. Now being a yankee its hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to working with spalted wood and protecting myself I’m all ears and have learned alot, since its those small things that can save your life. I even remember when no one was talking about or telling woodworkers to beware and yes there was a time I took no percaution. I give thanks that God protects the foolish and ignorant such as I was, but now I try to help him out some and take some percautions myself.

Spalted wood for woodworkers on the sellers market is a very hot item to sell and once you have sealed the wood fibers, the wood is quite safe for non-food ‘wood art’. I do not believe that I would ever use a spalted wood for a piece of wood related item where the use was going to be for containg food!

Its in the sanding, cutting and turning process that we as workers of wood need to protect ourselves. Like I said above I do all my cutting and sanding outside, not sure how a wood turner is going to move their lathe in and out so I would think that if your going to turn wood, then Don has shown us a very good answer to the need of protection. I myself am looking into getting one of these ”Triton Powered Respirator’s” and also exploring other avenues.

Getting back to working with the spalted wood outside, well every day I am in this process; I use ‘extreme measures’ to protect myself from breathing and or getting the dust on myself—body. I start by suiting up every day in a pair of clean overalls that zip up completly to my neck and then will wrap a cotten tee shirt again completly around my head area covering my forehead and back of neck. I then tie around my sleeve area and proceed to put on my dust mask respirator, face goggles and ear protectors which also I might add contain my music sound system—-’I mean when your sanding, you gotta rock’. Last of all is the putting on of gloves and I’m ready to go, some who have seen me in this attire have commented that I look like something out of a star wars movie.

I will say that when I am in this part of the wood process, my days are long 10-12 hour days in this body dress and I don’t come out till the end of the day. I then reverse the process for removal of gear and ‘make sure’ that the mask is the last item off, just before stepping into the shower to clean up. As I work in and sell rustic furiture, the spalted woods are too hot of an item for me to give up and so I do my best to protect myself. It is in the area of my beard that I sometimes wonder about, of what if any dust is seeping in under the mask and again this is why I am looking into other areas as how to protect myself.

I’m not saying this technique I use is the answer to others need of protection in working with spalted woods, but I am trying to show how I have seriously tried to protect myself. The best way for a woodworker to protect themselves from spalted wood fungi would be to give up using it! And then also remember,those wood fibers are only safe as long as you have ‘sealed the wood fibers’, and will remain that way only as long as the ‘wood fibers’ remain sealed. Spalted wood fungi once dry and then allowed to come into contact with wetness (eyes, ears, mouth, nose and lungs) will come back to life and start working again, when its in the wood its beautiful—-when its in your lungs its bad!!!

GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2914 days


#6 posted 02-12-2007 02:29 PM

that gadget is what i’d like to use. Thought maybe I’d see one at a woodshow but nothing yet.
Good idea Obi re: LumberJock funding!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 3000 days


#7 posted 02-12-2007 03:49 PM

Indeed Obi to go back at it with out more protection would be insane, Thanks to all of you for your concern and suggestions. Believe me they did’nt fall on deaf ears. Don you were a big help and so were you Frank. I don’t know about looking like a star wars character, I live in the middle of town. People will really know for sure I’m insane. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3053 days


#8 posted 02-12-2007 06:25 PM

I checked some sites on the net. There’s a lot of info out there. One site mentioned you can kill the spores by heating in an oven at 130 degrees for 8 hours.
Here is an interesting site to learn about wood.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 3000 days


#9 posted 02-12-2007 06:38 PM

thanks Dick, I just talked with my family Dr. she prescribed zythromax for a week and to stay out of the shop for at least that long if not longer, and to get a respirator before I go back in and give it a good cleaning. Anyone doing anything in a couple weeks? lol, thanks Dick your a pal. mike I got that web site in my e-mail

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2892 days


#10 posted 02-12-2007 07:12 PM

Mike – sorry to hear about you eye problems. It is good this is being discussed and many thanks to Don for the link, reference & review of the Triton Respirator. Respiratory health is vital for all woodworkers.

I do not mean to mettle, and not to second guess you family physician, especially since I am not familiar with your case, but azithromycin may not be best selection if she is treating a fungal infection. You should probably be on an ophthalmic antifungal and have close follow up wih an opthalmologist. We need to protect our vision.

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3064 days


#11 posted 02-12-2007 09:05 PM

Thanks for writing up this warning, Mike. I hope your eyes will heal soon. I’ve turned spalted wood in the past and I guess I was lucky. I usually use a full face sheild and sometimes a charcoal filtered respirator if it is real dusty, but neither would protect me from this. Obi, thanks for the info on the 8-10% off for LumberJocks. I wasn’t aware of that.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 3000 days


#12 posted 02-12-2007 10:44 PM

Hi David, funny you should mention vision because I had seen my eye Dr. before going to my MD. The eye Dr. said I had lost vision in my left eye in the past six months. And she did give me eye drops for fungal or molds infections . Thanks for carrying the word Os. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3064 days


#13 posted 02-12-2007 10:52 PM

The Airshield is a lightweight (1.7 lbs), self contained unit that circulates filtered air over the face of the user. It has a soft liner that seals the face off from the outside, keeping the filtered air in and the dust out. The Airshield has a pre-filter to trap larger particles and main filter for smaller ones. The convenient flip-up polycarbonate visor is a feature many have asked for in an air visor. The headband is padded and adjustable to afford a comfortable fit for the user. It is powered by a 4-hour rechargeable Nicad battery. Conforms to UK COSHH standards. Overlays are available as an option to protect the visor from scratches and splattering finish. The Airshield Accessory Pack includes: one Main Filter, package of three Pre-Filters, package of 10 Overlays, and 1 replacement Face Seal.

Included with the Airshield are: Pre-Filter, Main Filter, Face Seal, Visor Overlay, 4 Hour Battery, Charger, Airflow Indicator and Carrying Bag.

Trend Airshield Respirator
Code Name Price
197290 Trend Airshield Respirator $299.95
197291 Airshield Pkg 10 Overlays $26.95
197292 Airshield Pkg 3 Pre-Filters $18.95
197293 Airshield Main Filter $32.95
197294 Airshield 4 Hour Battery $40.95
197295 Airshield Face Seal $15.95
197296 Airshield Replacement Visor $36.95
197297 Airshield Accessory Pack $76.95
http://www.packardwoodworks.com

Mike, I thought you may want to check this one out, too. It doesn’t have the hearing protection with it, but here is another review:
Fine Woodworking magazine

Breathe-easy Respirators

Two new powered respirators battle sawdust at a price

by Matt Berger

Every time I find myself coughing amid a cloud of sawdust I vow never to work wood again without some form of protection. However, I don’t especially like disposable masks, and whenever I have looked at more sophisticated forms of protection, the high prices convince me to go without.

The Airshield, made by Trend Machinery.

The Powered Respirator, made by Triton.

Two new powered respirators from U.K. toolmaker Trend Machinery and Australia-based Triton Workshop Systems make the offer a little harder to refuse. Both companies now sell battery-powered, forced-air respirators priced at less than $275. Both respirators advertise protection from general dust-inducing tasks; they aren’t designed to defend against harmful fumes or vapors. I put them to the test in two dusty situations in the shop: sanding a turning on the lathe and cutting on the tablesaw. Both respirators work in a similar manner. They use a pre-filter to stop coarser dust and a second finer filter to deliver dust-free air into an enclosed helmet. A fan blows the filtered air across the face shield and out through vents below the chin. I found both provided adequate protection for my eyes and lungs, and they offered unobstructed views out of the high-impact shields. Also, after a few hours with each one, I still didn’t have to plug them in for a recharge.

As fashion goes, though, Triton’s Powered Respirator has room for improvement. When I put the helmet and waist pack I got several odd looks from my shop mates, who might have mistaken me for an escapee from the local HAZMAT crew. It was also quite bulky, and its hard hat and integrated ear muffs were overkill for anything I’d do in the woodshop.

Trend’s Airshield was much less of a hassle to put on, and its overhead filter design was less of an intrusion than Triton’s waist-worn unit. It fit on my head with minor adjusting, and the power switch was also located in a convenient overhead location. The face shield didn’t raise and lower as easily as the shield on the Triton, but the entire unit could be removed easily for a quick escape.

All in all, it was nice to work in a dust-free environment, and reducing the dust I inhale might be enough to justify the price for these respirators. On the other hand, you have to be willing to be the butt of a few jokes around the shop.

For more information contact Trend Machinery in the U.S. at 859-485-2080 or www.trend-usa.com, and Triton Workshop Systems in the U.S. at 888-874-8661, www.tritonwoodworking.com.

Matt Berger is a Fine Woodworking assistant editor.

Photos: Mark Schofield

-- Jesus is Lord!

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3064 days


#14 posted 02-12-2007 11:12 PM

LumberJocks here’s one more you may want to check into:

Respiratory Protection

Woodworkers in all disciplines are becoming increasingly aware of the risks implicit in breathing dust-laden air. Some may say that this is because we aren’t as tough as our predecessors, but this is a simplistic and wilfully dangerous avoidance of the facts. Modern woodworking methods – especially using power tools – create far more dust, of a smaller particle size, than the techniques used by previous generations. Routing, sanding, planing and sawing equipment all produce large volumes of airborne particles. Turning dry timber and any lathe sanding does the same.

Having a chip extractor is an excellent idea, but most of those machines are designed to remove only the larger particles from the atmosphere, as their name implies. We all tend to call such devices ‘dust-extractors’ but that is not their true function. Indeed, if the chip extractor is sited in the workshop and vents its air back into the workshop atmosphere it is probably a major source of the sub-micron size particles which are the main causes of respiratory irritations, infections – and cancers.

One of the very best of the solutions available to combat this significant hazard is a personal dust mask or, preferably, a powered respirator. Having used such devices for many years, we have selected proven and effective products from major manufacturers which are designed to protect your health.

The JSP ‘PowerCap IP’ and The ‘Trend Airshield’

Once upon a time workshop personal rspiratory protection was dominated by the Racal/3M Airlite Powered Respirator, but this was summarily withdrawn by the manufacturers several years ago and we are not even able to obtain spares any longer – nothing at all!. Happily, other companies produce excellent personal protection equipment too and we are pleased to bring to you, the JSP PowerCap IP and, because we always like to offer you choice, the Trend Airshield.

JSP ‘PowerCap IP’

This new JSP ‘PowerCap IP’ respirator offers many advantages over its competitors Its unrivalled low weight of 300g, superior balance, its high impact protection (‘IP’) visor (to EN166) – not to mention an economical price. Being constructed around a bump cap, it really does make the whole assembly more comfortable for longer periods of wear. The two externally mounted filters are also very easy to remove and replace with a simple twist of the wrist. As with the Airlite, there is a belt mounted battery, reducing the weight in the head assembly, connected to the headset by a manageable self-retracting “curly lead”. As standard, the ‘Cap’ comes with a rechargeable 8 hour battery pack, but we can also supply a supplementary battery case which will take 4 size C dry cells (available from any hardware store) should recharging be a problem. Because the PowerCap IP does not have a battery built into the head unit, it not only has a low weight but the whole balance of the device on the head is much improved over other types of personal respirator. The narrow visor gives excellent visibility whilst the absence of a bottom “frame” eliminates the annoying habit, found with other designs of respirator, of being knocked up off the head as you drop your chin to see the work! The soft face surround fits comfortably over prescription glasses in normal frames and, because the visor area is slightly pressurised, facial hair does not impair the operation of the unit (refer to photo!).

The PowerCap IP provides respiratory protection to EN12491:1988 TH1P; the bump cap gives head protection to EN812 and the visor gives the all-important impact protection to EN.166.B.1. It is supplied with the complete respirator assembly, an eight-hour battery plus charger (appropriate to the location voltage and electrical outlet style), two filters, a flow-rate meter, instructions and is packed in a rigid plastic storage box.

(NB: Do not confuse this unit with an apparently lower-cost “look-alike” we have seen advertised, which does not include the eight-hour battery nor the charger (uses dry batteries only – an expensive option!) and does not have the impact-resistant visor – a must for woodturning, routing and other machine-based workshop operation, nor does it have the bump cap inner support shell. So …. not quite the same thing at all!!)

As you well know, we recognise the need for quality respiration equipment and we would not supply this item to you if we would not be happy using it ourselves: in fact we do use it ourselves!

Product Sizing: T he Powercap, unlike other respirators, is available to suit different head/hat sizes. For most adults the standard PowerCap is quite satisfactory, but children and smaller adults may find the “small” PowerCap more comfortable. Sizes are as follows:

Standard: Head circumference 580-620mm, Hat size 71/4” to 73/4 ”
Small: Head circumference 580-620mm, Hat size 63/8 ” to 71/4”

JSP PowerCap IP Respirator
Description Price*
Click to buy
JSP PowerCap IP Respirator UK Version – (Inc. Rechargeable 8-hour battery, UK Charger, TH1P filters (2), Airlow tester, Instructions, Rigid storage box) To fit head circumference 580mm – 620mm (7.25 – 7.75 in) £157.00
JSP PowerCap IP Respirator European Version – (Inc. Rechargeable 8-hour battery, European Charger, TH1P filters (2), Airlow tester, Instructions, Rigid storage box) To fit head circumference 580mm – 620mm (7.25 – 7.75 in) £157.00
JSP PowerCap IP Respirator US Version – (Inc. Rechargeable 8-hour battery, US Charger, TH1P filters (2), Airlow tester, Instructions, Rigid storage box) To fit head circumference 580mm – 620mm (7.25 – 7.75 in) £157.00
JSP PowerCap IP Respirator UK Version, small – (Inc. Rechargeable 8-hour battery, UK Charger, TH1P filters (2), Airlow tester, Instructions, Rigid storage box) To fit head circumference 520mm – 580mm (6.375 – 7.25 in) £157.00
JSP PowerCap IP Respirator European Version, small – (Inc. Rechargeable 8-hour battery, European Charger, TH1P filters (2), Airlow tester, Instructions, Rigid storage box) To fit head circumference 520mm – 580mm (6.375 – 7.25 in) £157.00
JSP PowerCap IP Respirator US Version, small – (Inc. Rechargeable 8-hour battery, US Charger, TH1P filters (2), Airlow tester, Instructions, Rigid storage box) To fit head circumference 520mm – 580mm (6.375 – 7.25 in) £157.00
JSP Replacment TH1P filters (pack of two) £11.94
JSP Battery pack to accommodate 4 standard size C cells £24.92

Trend Airshield

From the makers of fine routing equipment comes a fine respirator, The Trend Airshield. For those of you who have fallen in love with your 3M Airlite, then this is the closest you will come to finding something to take its place! The visor is very similar in its substantial headpiece assembly with a contrasting browpiece and deep visor with full bottom frame . The headband assembly features a screw adjustment system on the back of the head band and a crown strap to support the 735 gramme weight of the unit. A novel feature is the flip-up visor (see photo. to the right), enabling the wearer to get a direct ‘eye to work’ view. With the Airshield, the batteries and filters are contained within the head piece, eliminating the need for connecting wires. The soft face surround fits comfortably over prescription glasses in normal frames and, because the visor area is slightly pressurised, facial hair does not impair the operation of the unit

The Airshield provides respiratory protection to EN12491:1988 THP2 and the visor is impact rated rated to EN.166.F.1. The unit is delivered with a set of filters (1 pre-filter; 1 fine filter), 4-hour battery and charger (can be upgraded for 8-hour use by purchasing an additional battery and charger, as listed, below), an airflow indicator, clear visor overlay, instructions and a carry bag.

Don, maybe you are someone across the pond could help us exchange the money on this one to dollars, please.

What is nice about this one is that it uses 4 “C” batteries.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View David's profile

David

1970 posts in 2892 days


#15 posted 02-12-2007 11:12 PM

Great information! Thanks

-- http://foldingrule.blogspot.com

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