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Safety of Cocobolo, Rosewood and Ironwood in smoking pipes?

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Forum topic by drobertson posted 12-22-2015 03:23 AM 1293 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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drobertson

57 posts in 2581 days


12-22-2015 03:23 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cocobolo rosewood ironwood pipe safety

I have been in a rather heated argument with a person about the sale of Cocobolo, Rosewood and Ironwood pot pipes that he makes. I was hoping to get some outside points of view.

First, I really don’t care about the ethics of selling drug paraphernalia. I don’t use drugs, I don’t endorse drugs, but I also don’t feel like I need to judge whether other people choose to use them. That is their choice as far as I am concerned.

My major issue is the fact that Cocobolo, Rosewood and Ironwood all have health issues associated with them. They are very significant allergens and are sensitizers that create an ever increasing reaction when people are exposed. Cocobolo gives me blisters and a inflamed rash when I am not careful. I can’t imagine what it would do in someones lungs.

My argument is that smoking out of these pipes exposes people to the dangerous resins in the wood directly in their lungs. Many people wont be affected but some people could have a serious reaction to this. I feel that he should at the minimum put up a warning about the possible effects. I personally wouldn’t use those woods in this way at all.

Am I over reacting to this issue? Does anyone have an opinion or further information on the topic?


17 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4031 posts in 1815 days


#1 posted 12-22-2015 04:01 AM

smoking out of these pipes exposes people to the dangerous resins in the wood directly in their lungs

If the people that use these pipes cared about exposing themselves to dangerous substances they wouldn’t be smoking dope in the first place.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14588 posts in 2147 days


#2 posted 12-22-2015 04:10 AM

A PROPERLY SEASONED pipe, regardless of the wood should be fine. But, one has to properly “char” and build a cake in the bowl.

Had to quit cold turkey 4.5 years ago. Always used “regular” Vanila/Captain Black in the pipes. It would be more of a health concern just the smoking effects. Weed or regular…...doesn’t matter, still a health issue.

BTW: I smoked a pipe for over 40 years. Never added any weed to my pipes…..ruined the “taste” of the bowl.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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MadMark

978 posts in 917 days


#3 posted 12-22-2015 04:53 AM

Look in the USDA’s “Wood Handbook” – google it & download a copy. Most woods are non toxic with a few notable exceptions. Most woods are considered sensitizer’s meaning that some, but not all, will not be effected immediately but may develop a reaction over time. Fruitwood pipes will get an appropriate overtone. Maple pipes will be sweet, walnut will be nutty etc. If an exotic wood makes you hack up a chunk of lung, STOP using it. If it doesn’t, enjoy.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View drobertson's profile

drobertson

57 posts in 2581 days


#4 posted 12-22-2015 05:17 AM

Mad Mark – that looks like a great reference, but what we are dealing with is not wood as an engineering material. We are dealing with one of the worst tropical hardwoods for toxic effects. Cocobolo is considered one of the most dangerous Rosewoods af far as sensitizer and allergic reactions.

The fruitwoods are great woods to use for pipe smoking. I wouldn’t have any issue if those were being used.

When one of these pipes are first used you are baking off the toxic resin directly into your lungs. This is the same stuff that causes blistering and sever swelling when you are exposed to the dust.

Yes, anyone who is smoking anything is putting bad stuff in their body, but they know the risks they are taking with that. The problem with the cocobolo pipe is that there is a good chance to stick someone in the hospital and they would have no idea why. The doctor probably would be clueless also. This can be dangerous stuff.

View drobertson's profile

drobertson

57 posts in 2581 days


#5 posted 12-22-2015 05:26 AM

BTW, here is a great reference for wood toxicity. Thinking of wood as a safe material can be very dangerous.

http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-allergies-and-toxicity/

Please don’t get me wrong. I love the stuff and enjoy working with it all the time, but it can be very dangerous if you are not careful. We have oleander all around where I live. Just about any part of that can kill you if you are exposed in the wrong way. Be careful what you choose for your marshmallow roasting stick.

View Ted Ewen's profile

Ted Ewen

187 posts in 531 days


#6 posted 12-22-2015 05:41 AM


If the people that use these pipes cared about exposing themselves to dangerous substances they wouldn t be smoking dope in the first place.
- bondogaposis

Sorry, this is utter nonsense. Just had to say so.

-- Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass.

View drobertson's profile

drobertson

57 posts in 2581 days


#7 posted 12-22-2015 05:49 AM

Not sure what you are saying is nonsense? That the resin in the pipes is dangerous or Bondogaposis comment about smoking dope?

I don’t care what people choose to do to themselves. I personally choose to not do drugs, but I don’t mind if other people make different decisions.

I am just trying to sort out the health risks of the cocobolo and other rosewoods used in a pipe.

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2634 posts in 2573 days


#8 posted 12-22-2015 05:53 AM

Hmmm…people die from smoke inhalation all the time. Both of my parents and one of my younger brothers are poster people for that. If someone makes a smoking implement out of, say, a gym sock (thank you, Frank Zappa!), they are going to suffer the consequences. Maybe they get ripped, maybe they become a burden on their family, maybe they die. 0.o I love Cocobolo and Rosewood and have used them in projects. One has to weigh the risks Vs. benefits with every thing in life. I got one helluva rash when I used bloodwood for a project. I don’t use it anymore, for that reason. And I wouldn’t use it to smoke anything.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Ted Ewen's profile

Ted Ewen

187 posts in 531 days


#9 posted 12-22-2015 05:57 AM

Oh no, using these woods for pipes seems the height of stupidity to me. I just wanted to address the philosophy reflected in bondogaposis’ response. Fixed the quote to make that clearer. Thanks!

-- Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass.

View drobertson's profile

drobertson

57 posts in 2581 days


#10 posted 12-22-2015 06:02 AM

I am with you Dark_Lightning.

My argument is with a person who is making a large number of Cocobolo pot pipes and selling them on a public web site (Etsy). My point is that he should at least post something about the potential health risks.

Most people are clueless about wood toxicity. You would probably know if you had a peanut allergy, but unless you were a wood worker who did work with exotics you would never have a clue that you are sensitive to Rosewoods. Is it fair or ethical to sell people pipes that have a chance of putting them in the hospital without warning them?

This is the part that really bothers me. First, I would never use those woods to make pipes, just because of the risk of someone getting badly hurt. Second, he clearly knows what the risks are but refuses to let any of his customers know of the potential issue. BTW, he specifically said this exact thing to me in an email.

View Ted Ewen's profile

Ted Ewen

187 posts in 531 days


#11 posted 12-22-2015 06:10 AM

Report him to ETSY and to the appropriate state trading standards.

-- Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4226 posts in 1663 days


#12 posted 12-22-2015 06:53 AM

There sure appears to be plenty of people selling cocobolo pipes, such as the Pipe Store , Mendocino Peace Pipes , HedgeWitch Pipes and others, as well as lots on Etsy. While I can appreciate your concern for others, I think you are fighting a losing battle trying to get them to stop doing so.

As for Ironwood, several species can be called Ironwood, so it depends. While growing up in the Florida Keys, we made plenty of pipes out of ‘black ironwood’ as well as Lignum Viate – and they seemed to work well for the purpose :)

(Although it’s a bitch to work that stuff due to it’s extreme hardness)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View drobertson's profile

drobertson

57 posts in 2581 days


#13 posted 12-22-2015 07:10 AM

I guess this is a bit of a personal fight. The stuff really kills me so I feel a bit personal about it.

The other part is that when I tried talking to him about the issue and suggested he add a small warning to his etsy page he got extremely nasty. When I am pushed I tend to fight back hard.

I respect people who make wood products for a living and and had no intention of threatening his business. The problem is that he has a responsibility to the public to not sell dangerous items. My only suggestion was it made sense to warn people about the risks.

The guy is a real #######. I was completely floored by his callous attitude. He openly stated in his emails to me that he knows about the risks, but would rather make a profit than warn anyone. I suppose I can’t expect much better from someone who makes his living selling drug paraphernalia.

I actually live in Port St Lucie. We were just down in the Keys for Thanksgiving. There is a sawmill for local Keys lumber that I have always wanted to check out in Tavernier. Are you familiar with the place?

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4226 posts in 1663 days


#14 posted 12-22-2015 07:28 AM

It’s been quite a while since I was down in the Keys… at least 15 years or so. Lived in Key Largo, Tavernier and Plantation Key for many years – but I don’t remember any mill, and can’t imagine any real good wood that might be harvested there. Lignum Viate has been illegal to cut down for decades. Had much better luck finding exotic hardwoods by scouring the mangrove shoreline further north, near the Dearing estate area (south of Coconut Grove) for stuff washed overboard from freighters :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View drobertson's profile

drobertson

57 posts in 2581 days


#15 posted 12-22-2015 07:54 AM

Hey Brad

The guy has a deal with most of the towns and arborists in the keys. Whenever a tree falls down he comes and hauls it away to his mill. They get the tree removed and he gets access to wood that otherwise would be inaccessible.

He gets some pretty impressive stuff. Some Lignum Vitea, but also the other strange exotics you can find down in the keys. Even some of the more mundane wood has interesting appeal because it had to grow up in the harsh conditions of the islands.

It isn’t a huge operation and what he has is limited, but he sometimes has some pretty amazing stuff. Here is the link if you wanted to look;

http://urbanforestrecycling.com/

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