Padouk Dust Toxicity?

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Forum topic by willie posted 03-04-2012 04:23 AM 1950 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View willie's profile


533 posts in 1877 days

03-04-2012 04:23 AM

Was talking to a friend today and he was telling me of someone that lost his voice for 3 weeks after working with padouk. He said the dust is pretty nasty. I have worked with very little padouk and having just acquired a large amount I think it would be a good idea to find out some of the hazards of this wood. I do not have any dust collection (the downside of old tools) other than a shop vac. What do I need to know before I start any projects with this wood? What precautions do I need to take, and keep in mind I have a full beard so dust masks are not very effective. (Shaving is NOT an option!)

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

16 replies so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2731 days

#1 posted 03-04-2012 04:35 AM

I have worked with Padauk quite a bit and have not had any problems. Some people have reactions to different woods and some have none whatsoever. It just depends on the insividual.. I guess you just need to work with it and see how it affects you..if at all.
Padauk will get reddish orange dust everywhere but any wood will also do the same..its just more noticable because of the color.

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 2462 days

#2 posted 03-04-2012 04:46 AM

Google the Shopsmith web sight. They have a good vedio on the dangers of wood dust. Someone posted it here on LJ’s a while back and you might find it in the archives. Get the facts, be safe.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2764 days

#3 posted 03-04-2012 04:51 AM

maybe you need to get
one of those full head covers
with a window and a carbon
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-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 2473 days

#4 posted 03-04-2012 07:02 AM

Paduak is not particularly nasty, but as pointed out above, anyy wood can cause problems if you’re susceptable to it. That said, at least a good quality paper mask would be a good idea even if the wood doesn’t bother you. Last I checked, we are issued only ONE pair of lungs, and if we pack them full of dust, things tend to get uncomfortable.

The one thing you want to avoid with paduak (other than breathing the dust-or any dust) is sanding when used with much lighter woods. The dust will stain everything around it. Scrape it or seal the lighter wood with shellac—really hard to do. Enjoy the paduak. It’s about $10/bd ft plus shipping and HEAVY.


PS: If the beard keeps a mask from working, try the Trend Airshield. A little spendy, but go back to the one pair of lungs idea for a cost-benefit analysis.

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View derosa's profile


1568 posts in 2258 days

#5 posted 03-04-2012 07:23 AM

Even with a goatee that gets in the way of a proper seal a good dust mask still keeps most of the dust out, there is a very noticeable difference if I blow my nose afterwards and I was wearing a mask.
Padauk has no effect on me that I have noticed, my wife will have breathing troubles just from coming near the shop after cutting it, hopefully the dust collector will solve that. Even if your tools are old I would start devising a way to get dust collection. Build catch boxes with connections, anything helps.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View kody's profile


180 posts in 1701 days

#6 posted 03-04-2012 08:07 AM

I have worked with Padauk a bit and have had no reaction to it so far. Australian Lacewood on the other hand, I am very allergic to, it’s not pleasant. Anything exotic I wear a respirator. Play it safe.

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 1871 days

#7 posted 03-04-2012 09:01 AM

I don’t have issues with Padauk, but bloodwood makes me itch like crazy! Just getting the chips or dust on my skin makes me very itchy.
Ebony has bothered my respiratory system at times, making me feel congested in my chest, nose and throat, and my sinuses on occasion too.

Now I keep a fan over my head while turning, which blows dust away from my face, and keeps a noticable amount of dust out of my face. Before I got a DC, I put a 20” x 20” furnace filter on the back of a box fan, and I would place it on a stool behind my lathe to blow away from me, and it collected 80%+ of the dust created by sanding. Chips while turning, not so much.
I also used the filter fan while sanding at my bench, worked pretty well for what it was. I would keep a small fan blowing across where I was sanding towards the box fan, and it picked up a lot of dust. As with anything, it depends somewhat on the quality of the filter. BUT, you don’t want to go nuts with a filter on a box-fan, as it doesn’t have enough static pressure to overcome a massive filter. But with a mid-grade 1” thick pleated filter, they work awesome. Really awesome considering they can be set-up for under $30, including the fan and filter.

As for a dust mask, there are PLENTY that will work with a beard.

First, look at these HERE. They are called the “Dust-Bee-Gone”, and they are the best “standard” type dust mask you can buy. Super comfortable, easy breathing, and they last forever (or nearly so). If it gets dirty, just run water through it from the inside and it’s good as new. I wash mine at the end of every night and let it hang until the next day, that way I never have any issues. However, you can wash it and put it right back on wet, and it works as good or better! It also keeps you cool in the summer like this too.
I wear glasses, and this is the only non-powered mask I’ve found that doesn’t fog them and is truly comfortable to wear for long periods.
I’ll admit, they are pricey for a dust mask, BUT, it will last a long, long time and is truly worth every penny. I’m cheap and have very little money to spend (I’m what you call “financially embarrassed”), so if I say it’s worth the cost of buying, you can trust that I’m being truthful.

The other really good option that is still reasonable in price (for what you’re getting), is the “Power Mask- Positive Pressure Dust Mask”.
At $70, it’s probably the lowest cost powered dust mask you will find that actually works well (I love mine!). The filters are dirt cheap, and last a good while as long as you change the pre-filter regularly.
It uses 4 AA batteries in a pack that you wear on your belt, and I run the wire up my shirt to keep it out of the way. I run really good rechargeable batteries in this when I do use it, and they last 4-5 hours.

Good luck and stay safe. And remember one thing, you may react in a very different way to a wood than someone else. This could be good or bad, so be careful with anything you’ve never used.

-- Kenny

View willie's profile


533 posts in 1877 days

#8 posted 03-04-2012 03:14 PM

Thanks for all the info. I have worked with enough exotic woods to know that some can be a problem. Walnut is one of my favorite woods but I usually end up with a sinus infection after working with it. I have only run into a couple exotics that have caused me problems but nothing serious. The only time I have used any padouk was in a bowl that I turned. It was just an accent and not the main wood. I didn’t have any problems. I used to work for the guy that told me about the possible problems. I learned a lot from him over the years and respect his advice but I figured it was a good idea to bounce this off you guys. The more info I can get now means less problems later! I’ll be sure to post pictures of any projects from the padouk. Thanks again, Willie

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View grumpy749's profile


228 posts in 1800 days

#9 posted 03-04-2012 03:34 PM

There is a lot of first class comments on the importance of good dust control. You just have to commit to the idea befor any projects are started. It all falls under the heading of safty first.

-- Denis in Grande Prairie. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mistery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.....Pink !

View BTimmons's profile


2298 posts in 1908 days

#10 posted 03-04-2012 10:02 PM

I used paduak as the main wood for the jewelry box I made for my wife (the only thing on my projects page) and I didn’t have any problems with it. Sure, it made my garage look like the surface of Mars, but I wore eye protection and a paper dust mask whenever I took it to the table saw.

So yeah, I don’t think it’s just universally nasty stuff. It’s just down to your immune system. Some people will go into shock if they eat anything with peanuts. Who knows. Just use common sense and standard safety equipment.

-- Brian Timmons -

View ShaneA's profile


6424 posts in 2021 days

#11 posted 03-04-2012 10:09 PM

I havent had problems with it, but I have heard of others who have. Smells nice when being cut, to me at least. But the dust is a mess. At minimum, try a simple dust mask.

View Grandpa's profile


3256 posts in 2098 days

#12 posted 03-04-2012 11:05 PM

I didn’t have any problems with it. Maybe some people have an allergic reaction to it…
Some woods bother me more than others. Ash makes me sneeze nonstop. We can’t burn sycamore in our fireplace or my wife is in trouble. just guessing

View Danpaddles's profile


550 posts in 1735 days

#13 posted 03-04-2012 11:21 PM

Ya never know what makes for a bad reaction. I too react to ash, make some dust and two days later I am hacking and coughing. Every time. I have some unknown exotic (heavy, a bit oily, reddish, a little stringy) makes my nose run, I sneeze, although I can not say I dislike the smell of it. I have a bunch of it though!

Had some spalted/ half rotted stuff burning in the outside fire pit last year, I thought I was gonna die, couldn’t breathe, sinuses plugged up, terrible reaction.

Give me good old oak every day. White or red- smells nice, never get a reaction. Cherry too. But all reactions seem to get worse as I get older. One of these days I’ll clean out the old air filter, and maybe one day I’ll get a good dust collector, and start tripping over big hunks of hose all over the shop.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View Grandpa's profile


3256 posts in 2098 days

#14 posted 03-04-2012 11:28 PM

My Clear Vue is collector supposed to deliver Tuesday. I plan to make air filters for cleaning the shop air. I was given 2 furnace blowers by an heat and air friend.

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3071 days

#15 posted 03-04-2012 11:54 PM

You can also cut it with a band saw or by hand to cause less
airborne dust. The table saw with carbide blade removes
and makes about 3 times more dust airborne by my guess.

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