An Article doing a disservice

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Blog entry by jockmike2 posted 05-10-2009 11:25 PM 2290 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently commented on an article written in Finewoodworking On-line concerning “Spalted Wood” written by Sara Robinson. “(copywrite; finewoodworking magazine on-line may, 2009). She basically said that spalted wood was not harmful to humans. If you were turning it or if it was just laying around in your shop or house. I agree that it isn’t harmful if lying around. The dust however, I’ve had personal experience with a couple years ago with an allergic reaction to, after turning some the night before. Now I had taken all usual precautions like dust mask, paper, regular plastic shield, glasses, long sleeves. I woke with my eyes glued shut and a rash on my face and arms and hands. I went to my eye Dr. and she was at a loss until she said it looked like some kind of fungus. Then Bam, it hit me, I knew spalted wood was caused by a fungus. I told her about it, she prescribed creams, eye drops and I was like new in a few days. I still dress like a mummy when I turn spalted wood and wear a resperator. Anyway she came back at me quit rudely. The last thing I said was just ask a Doctor. She basically said I didn’t know what I was talking about and her last statement was” just ask any Mycologist.”Never hearing that term before I looked it up, it said in the dictionary, “Mycologist- is a botonist who specializes in the study of fungi.” Well, I guess she told me off. So the next time I or any of you have an allergic reaction to spalted wood go see a mycologist. Just kidding. See a Dr. Well I feel vindicated by this months article in Wood Magazine. (copywrite; Wood Magazine July 2009) Quote “Because sawdust from spalted wood has been known to cause severe respiratory or skin reactions, many woodworkers known to take extra precautions, such as supplementing a dust-collection system with a properly fitted dust mask, when working with it. Well Sara, you can go see your Mycologist when you get sick, can’t breath, can’t see a thing, they can tell you what kind of fungus you have and maybe you’ll feel better, probably not. Me, I’ll go to the Doctor.

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

21 comments so far

View Sean's profile


156 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 05-10-2009 11:39 PM

Egad! sounds nasty, Mike. Buddy of mine was putting together a deck frame using treated lumber, managed to wipe the stuff in his eyes…same deal, had to rub something the consistency of vaseline in his eyes for a week.
Thanks! I don’t turn, but I was thinking of picking some of this up from Franks lumber in Union City…at least I know what to watch for.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3723 days

#2 posted 05-10-2009 11:39 PM

I haven’t read the article yet, but I’ll believe you before her any day.

I seem to remember something, that if the spalted wood is kiln dried, it kills the spores.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#3 posted 05-10-2009 11:42 PM

I with you there D &B I’ll take Mikes advise. sounds like big trouble if you don’t

-- Custom furniture

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6819 posts in 3403 days

#4 posted 05-10-2009 11:54 PM

Bravo Mike!

Very well written!

Maybe she meant to leave a space between my and cologist. Like this:

My Cologist said it aint so!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View johnpoolesc's profile


246 posts in 2783 days

#5 posted 05-10-2009 11:56 PM

i have a problem with that mag. seems like they know everything and readers are just a pain they must endure to have a place to show off there great work.. your point is well taken. thankfully spalted wood does not bother me. i love turning the stuff.. you just never know what you’ll get untill you start spinning.

-- It's not a sickness, i can stop buying tools anytime.

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3178 days

#6 posted 05-11-2009 12:09 AM

Well, Mike- you know the definition of an expert- “someone from out of town with a video tape”.

I am glad John mentioned his opinion of the magazine. I, long ago, allowed my subscription lapse because I felt that much of the magazine was targeted to something I never could attain.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View scopemonkey's profile


187 posts in 3587 days

#7 posted 05-11-2009 01:01 AM

I’m with the rest of you. As a physician and a woodworker, I always take extra precautions with spalted woods.

Here’s a quote from the USDA’s Forest Products Laboratory from March 2004:

Although the white rot fungi responsible for the decorative appearance are not pathogenic (a health problem), there might be some molds associated with the spalting process that could cause allergies in people. It is also possible that some pathogenic molds, such as Aspergillus fumigatus (responsible for “farmers lung”), might be present, so it is always a good idea to work in well-ventilated areas.”

That author should do some research before publishing. So should the editors…

-- GSY from N. Idaho

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3723 days

#8 posted 05-11-2009 01:58 AM

Well said ,scopemonkey.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3551 days

#9 posted 05-11-2009 02:06 AM

I’m with you scopemonkey.
I’m a former clinical chemist and medical lab director.

Aspergillosis is a fungal disease that I don’t want in my lungs.

-- 温故知新

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3824 days

#10 posted 05-11-2009 02:07 AM

Mike Don’t think that you are preaching to the Choir. We appreciate your first hand experience. Hang in there, and God bless you/

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3670 days

#11 posted 05-11-2009 02:08 AM

All I know is what happened to me. Like I said, my eyes were glued shut and I had a rash over most of my body. I wrote about it on this blog about 2 years ago. I like the magazine but that women thought her sh*t didn’t stink. I don’t know who she thought she was, but the crap she is laying out for people is wrong, I don’t care how many mycologists she knows. Thanks for the support. m

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

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2981 days

#12 posted 05-11-2009 02:10 AM

Thanks Mike and everyone else for this helpful reminder. I love turning spalted wood too, but have never had a reaction to it.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3670 days

#13 posted 05-11-2009 03:08 AM

Skarp, you must have been a MSW or are a practicing one now. I worked in rehab with Social Workers and that kind of talk is only common to MSWs as they hold 2 fingers up on both hands and wiggle those fingers as they make their point. And they start every sentence with I feel….............. Hope you have a sense of humor I am just kidding you. lol.

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

View jack1's profile


2055 posts in 3450 days

#14 posted 05-11-2009 05:08 AM

THank you for the information. I didn’t know.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View JuniorJoiner's profile


463 posts in 2863 days

#15 posted 05-11-2009 05:57 AM

Seems(skarps advice) like anyone can write articles for woodworking magazines these days, without having “done their time” or have experience to back it up.
Seems(skarps advice) like any journalist can take a shop class and become an editor.
I swear some articles i read are written by people I saw buying their first tools six months ago.
My peeve with these magazines was that they only publish one worthwhile article per issue, and(with fine woodworking), they keep trying to sell you that one good article in different formats.

Now that they are expanding into criticizing devoted readers who bring things to their attention, makes me wonder if we still need those mags now that we have lumberjocks.

stepping down off soapbox
thanks for your time

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

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