Insecticide treated lumber

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Forum topic by PASs posted 02-21-2010 04:10 PM 2757 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3268 days

02-21-2010 04:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: teak question poison insecticide luaan lyptus

My Daugher-in-law works at a shipping company.
They routinely get cargo from India that is braced with TEAK and luan lumber.
The bracing is about 2 by 2 1/5 inches, and averages 24 inches long.
It looks to be scrap from furniture companies and is usually heartwood.
Some of it has a beautiful grain and color.
The problem is that it is all treated with insecticide.
The shipping containers have skull and crossbones lables on the outside, and the company must ventilate the containers before they unload them.
But they have PALLETS of this teak just sitting around…I’m talking a couple thousand board feet.
I’m thinking that if I work it with proper ventillation and only use is for stuff like tables for the patio (or a KILLER workbench if you pardon the pun) that I could do something with it.
I will try to find out what the insecticide is.
Anyone else ever use wood not fit for human consumption?

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

11 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16277 posts in 4388 days

#1 posted 02-21-2010 04:15 PM

It would probably be okay, but I’d feel a lot better if I could find out what they were treating it with and do a little research.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18378 posts in 3845 days

#2 posted 02-21-2010 10:34 PM

What kinds of products are they shipping? They would be contaminated too.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Mark's profile


1807 posts in 3443 days

#3 posted 02-21-2010 11:55 PM

how bad can it be if you put a finish on it?

-- M.K.

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3268 days

#4 posted 02-22-2010 12:07 AM

Charlie…gonna ask the daugher tomorrow.
Topa….they pack 4 ton rolls of sheet steel, so that doesn’t bother them…
Mark, I’ve been thinking that very thing…
Figure stuff like in the kitchen would be a DEFINATE crimp on my retirement plans…but I think this would make an awesome looking dining room table…since we don’t eat directly off the table…
Will finish out a couple of pieces and post pics….sometime in about 10 years when all my other projects are done.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View jayjay's profile


639 posts in 3215 days

#5 posted 02-24-2010 03:13 AM

Just don’t make any cutting boards out of it.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3650 days

#6 posted 02-26-2010 04:49 AM

Wonder if you could call your local Extension Agency. Maybe they could tell you about it or refer you to someone thats up on the chemicals used and what the danger would be. Even maybe poison control. Since its coming into this country, I would think someone must know whats in it. I would think once its sealed it should be OK as long as its not used for food, but I would be more concerned about handling it and the dust when cutting it.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3268 days

#7 posted 03-16-2010 05:15 PM

I’ve done a little more research, and made a visit to the local Woodcraft store, sample in hand.
The guy at Woodcraft wasn’t sure, and kinda followed my lead that it might be teak.
Turns out it could also be Acacia, or Sheesham (Indian Rosewood).
Anyone ever work with either of these?
I’m beginning to think that it is Acacia due to the smell as it cuts. And my research (thank you Wikipedia) indicates possible health issues working with Acacia, weather it’s been fumigated or not. Turns out the vapor from cutting can have an effect (alkaloids in the sap), so even a dust mask/collector isn’t enough.
So, I’ve got the doors open and a fan blowing out the door to pull everything away, still trying to figure out what to make with it all.
Will post a few photos of the raw wood and a couple of cuts to show the grain.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View hawke777's profile


12 posts in 3178 days

#8 posted 03-16-2010 09:44 PM

I can’t imagine it doing much to you in a ventilated area for a limited mount of time… but I agree that it should be finished very well.

-- "This is the buffer... you don't want to be puttin' your face in it!" - My 9th grade shop teacher

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3268 days

#9 posted 03-29-2010 04:37 AM

Well dust-breathers, I’ve got some answers.
Looks like the wood is Lyptus, a hybrid of two different eucalyptus species.
Got the lead on it at Woodcraft this afternoon.
I mentioned that it was dunnage and one of the workers said he’d traded for some from a granite shipper.
Turns out the wood is used often, but can have hazardous sawdust.
That’s for sure with what I’ve got.
Some of it (the heartwood) has no odor I can detect.
But if I work the sapwood I have to have the dust collector going, a fan blowing across the work table, and all three doors of the shop open. It smells like insecticide…hmmm a eucalyptus hybrid…that stuff stinks anyway.
I also surfed up the answer to the pesticide treatement I was concerned about.
The pieces are all stamped with IPPC, IN-055 MB.
MB is the key…Methyl Bromide gas…colorless, odorless, TOXIC.
Nice thing is it vaporizes out quickly, so no residue to worry about…just the sapwood dust.

Side note…got an old DELTA dust collector last weekend for $50 from the widow of a woodworker.
Almost new, runs great, just perfect for the Lyptus dust.

Making some military challenge coin holders, business card holders, and desk sets out of the lyptus.
Will post pics when I find that ‘round ‘tuit’ I’ve missplaced.

Time for bed.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View Sheesham's profile


5 posts in 2805 days

#10 posted 03-09-2011 10:17 AM

That sounds dangerous..
But I believe well finished is sufficient..

-- Sheesham Wood Furniture -

View Dan Katz's profile

Dan Katz

52 posts in 2809 days

#11 posted 04-03-2011 05:14 AM

Hi PaSs,
Free wood is always tempting. If you are just nailing it together and using it outside it probably won’t matter, but if you intend on sawing it and creating dust I personaly would not chance it. I’ve had customers want me to turn spindles out of treated wood and I always kindly refuse. Your health is your most valuble resource, don’t waste it.

” I say some of my best prayers in the bathroom and at the table saw”

-- VillageCarver,Chattanooga

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