Splinters from Red Cedar

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Forum topic by Beeguy posted 02-19-2011 04:42 PM 17330 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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179 posts in 3875 days

02-19-2011 04:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar

This may sound like a really strange post among woodworkers. Splinters and wood go hand in hand or should I say splinter in hand. I have been around wood my whole life and had countless splinters. Nothing new here. But recently I have been making some bird houses out of western red cedar. Every board I touch greets me with one or more. The problem I am having is if I don’t get to it right away it turns red and really hurts. Sometimes they are so small I can’t even see them but I can sure feel them.

I keep bees and whenever I tell someone that, the first thing they ask is do you get stung. My standard answer, does a carpenter get splinters? I have to say I will take 10 beestings over one of these cedar splinters.

Has anyone else ever notice this?

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

14 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3089 days

#1 posted 02-19-2011 05:00 PM

Cedar and redwood splinters fester. Maybe all do and these fester faster, which can fluster. From this point of view, I think what you are experiencing is normal.

Some folks are very sensitive to cedar dust, as in allergic. Is it possible that you have a mild allergy to cedar and your body is reacting? Perhaps it is a combination of both.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4127 days

#2 posted 02-19-2011 05:15 PM

Cedar is one of the woods that can cause allergic reactions in humans whether it is a splinter or ingested in the form of dust into our lungs. Some woods seem are more prone to cause irration and serious infections. Best to get the splinters out asap and to remember to put that dust mask on before making saw dust.


View Verna's profile


202 posts in 3012 days

#3 posted 02-19-2011 05:31 PM

Ron, sometimes applying CA glue to the splinter, letting it dry, and then peeling off the CA will lift the splinter out.

Sometimes applying tape (packing tape, blue painter’s tape, masking tape) to the splinter will bring it out.

And, then, a method that will also bring out the infection and the splinter: cut a raw potato and put the raw part to your wound. You may have to leave it there for up to 30 minutes if it’s a larger splinter. I’m serious, this will draw out the infection and the splinter. This saved me a visit to the ER many years ago on a Thanksgiving day after I got a splinter from my sister’s “attack” cactus….did I mention that I hate that cactus because it always seems to attack me????

Good luck. Walnut is the wood splinter that I seem to be very sensitive to.

-- Verna -- Indianapolis, IN

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3766 days

#4 posted 02-19-2011 05:48 PM

Yes, that’s why I hate to work any cedar. Can be beautiful, but not worth it. I’m afraid of the dust too.

I don’t even like the cedar shavings they put in gardens. Don’t let your children get in there. And work with gloves with it.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3397 days

#5 posted 02-19-2011 06:04 PM

What was that, Lee? The flusteringly fine, faster-festering finger splinter?


-- jay,

View Beeguy's profile


179 posts in 3875 days

#6 posted 02-19-2011 06:43 PM

Thanks for the replies and the solutions. My favorite treatment for a deep or stubborn splinter is “Black Salve”. As a kid growing up everyone had some of this in their medicine chests. It is sold under the name of ichthammol although I did not know that until I was an adult. It is an antiseptic, but all the sages of my youth would say that “it draws”.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4366 days

#7 posted 02-19-2011 07:11 PM

I use a lot of cedar in my craft business.
I mainly work outdoors, wear a dust mask and use gloves.

-- 温故知新

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3399 days

#8 posted 02-19-2011 07:41 PM

Darn, Lee. I thought you were about to go into a Dr. Suess routine there. Feel free to if you’d like. We’d quite enjoy it. :)

Yes, RW seems to irritate more, or as Lee put it “fester faster”.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Pop's profile


429 posts in 4185 days

#9 posted 02-19-2011 08:10 PM

Leave old Lee alone. Maybe he’s the Dr. Suess of woodworking. We could use one of those. “Would you like to build a box? No I don’t want to build a box not even with a fox.”

I love cedar. I sniff it with great pleasure. I’m not allergic to it. Some people are. Remember eastern red cedar is used as an insect repellent. If the cedar oil can do that it has to be toxic to some level. My advise is if you ARE allergic to it, stay away from it as much as possible. Most allergic reactions are cumulative. The more you’re around the stuff the worse the reaction gets.

As for splinters, “You ante’ seen nothing yet kid” try 1/4 inch lauan ply. You run it through your TS and it comes out looking like a porcupine.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 3079 days

#10 posted 02-20-2011 06:08 AM

My wife has asthma and goes into coughing fits.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View John's profile


1374 posts in 1509 days

#11 posted 12-05-2014 06:47 PM

I’m finding red cedar dust is bothering me more over the years. I have to wear a good dust mask. I haven’t noticed slivers yet, and I’m sure I’ve had some.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View bobro's profile


320 posts in 1549 days

#12 posted 12-05-2014 07:08 PM

Thanks for the replies and the solutions. My favorite treatment for a deep or stubborn splinter is “Black Salve”. As a kid growing up everyone had some of this in their medicine chests. It is sold under the name of ichthammol although I did not know that until I was an adult. It is an antiseptic, but all the sages of my youth would say that “it draws”.

- Beeguy

“Drawing Salve”, what great stuff! It kills microbes and such and is good for all kinds of skin problems as well as splinters.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View John's profile


245 posts in 1820 days

#13 posted 12-05-2014 09:53 PM

I’m a carpenter. I can tell you that I do get splinters, although not nearly as often as my pre-carpenter days. Drawing Salve works great to remove splinters. Another neat trick, taught to me by a old timer, is to place a small piece of raw bacon on the offending splinter, bandage it, and go to sleep. When you get up in the morning, more times than not, the splinter is either out, or a breeze to remove.

Good luck. Hope you figure it out.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3824 days

#14 posted 12-05-2014 10:16 PM

The way the old boys used to make short work of the dreaded red cedar splinter was to heat up a wire thread in the fire till it is cherry red, after a short time it becomes very red, then then ready red, and eventually ready cherry very red ,this wire thread.Simply apply it to your ceder red spinter till it bled and take yourself of to bedie bed.Actually some people don’t believe in this red re-med y, so it’s been said it’s always worked for Ted and my pal Fred.
Alistair slightly ashamed to add my name to this crap LOL .

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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