Bloodwood reactions

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Forum topic by fredj posted 06-28-2013 03:50 PM 1736 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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186 posts in 1810 days

06-28-2013 03:50 PM

Has anyone on here ever had a reaction to bloodwood ? I’ve worked with it many time with no problems.

Just made a table and inlaid a bloodwood disk that I turned on my lathe. Next day my eyes were red, face puffy, and had welts on my neck and chest, and a rash on my forearms. If this has happened to you how long did it take get over it ? Yes, I was wearing a dust mask. This was from skin contact.

-- Fredj

15 replies so far

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 2978 days

#1 posted 06-28-2013 04:07 PM

Never had a reaction like that to bloodwood. Hope you get feeling better soon.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Shane's profile


294 posts in 1804 days

#2 posted 06-28-2013 04:32 PM

I saw in the projects section recently that one of the female lumber jocks (JoesBetterHalf) had an issue with it making a cutting board.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29212 posts in 2331 days

#3 posted 06-28-2013 05:04 PM

Literally just cut a bunch up. No problem.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View johnstoneb's profile


2908 posts in 2165 days

#4 posted 06-28-2013 05:25 PM

This is from the wood database

Allergies/Toxicity: The wood’s dust has been reported as occasionally causing effects such as thirst and salivation, as well as nausea. Can also cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3033 days

#5 posted 06-28-2013 05:28 PM

There’s lots of woods out there.. There is always going to be someone more sensitive to certain woods than others.. Also Allergies can develop at any time in your life..

It usually takes a week or so for all the symptoms to go away.. I AM NOT A DR. just a Woodworker allergic to a lot of different things,(dust,pollen,trees,grasses,mold,mildew,pet dander,feathers,smoke,etc…..)

When I was little I used to have a chore of feeding & watering the Rabbits we raised(20 or so), then as a few years went by I got sicker & sicker when I went to go feed them. A few allergy tests later & found out I was highly allergic to their fur(dander). I always started to get sick approx. 30 yards from their pen(the distance of their scent line)...

Alas we got rid of them all.

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1928 days

#6 posted 06-28-2013 05:41 PM

Yeah, I think it is just a crapshoot on what woods individual woodworkers react to. Maybe bloodwood is just your kryptonite. Could be your body had enough and is telling you to find a different wood. Be careful out there. I don’t think a dovetail saw would work very well if you had to do an emergency tracheotomy!

I’d lay off for a while and then rub a little test spot on your leg or something and see what happens. I bet that’ll answer your questions.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 2978 days

#7 posted 06-28-2013 05:55 PM

He said he worked with it many times without incident, I wonder if this is a different species but under the same name. Possibly someone gave you something similar but a slightly different species?

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3721 days

#8 posted 06-28-2013 06:20 PM

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 1810 days

#9 posted 06-28-2013 06:50 PM

The bloodwood I worked with before came from the same 2 boards.
Not as bad as the reaction I had to cocobolo a few years ago. That one had me going to my Dr., and I paid someone to clean my shop.

Thanks for all the input. I did look it up and there’s long list of what it can do but nothing I could find on how long it took to get over the reaction.

I think it’s my “inter voice” telling me to stick with domestic woods.

-- Fredj

View runswithscissors's profile


2750 posts in 2018 days

#10 posted 06-29-2013 05:37 AM

Sounds like a blood type incompatibility with the bloodwood. Are you O positive? That may be the problem.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3237 days

#11 posted 06-29-2013 06:44 AM

Bloodwood? Not another wood that I have to worry about! Cocobolo sent me the hospital about ten years ago. I bought a hazmat suit and cleaned my shop afterwards. I still work with rosewoods, although never when it is warm and never again on the lathe. It breaks my heart that cocobolo doesn’t care for me, because I sure did love that wood! I’ve worked with bloodwood without any problems, but not extensively.
One thing I learned from my cocobolo experience is that some woods are sensitizers which will heighten your sensitivity to other woods. You might want to examine what other species you have been using before the bloodwood disaster.
Sorry that you had that problem…...

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View robscastle's profile


4960 posts in 2197 days

#12 posted 06-29-2013 09:26 AM

All wood dust and particles are harmful to your health, the lungs not really designed to be subject to a concentrated volume of inhaled air borne foreign objects.

Check out the websites showing those that are at a highest risk to health.
In reality the stuff you don’t see is doing the most damage, always wear a dust mask with a micron and organic filter when working with wood, especially indoors where there is no natural air flow.

Do a search on The Wood Whisperers article on dust masks for further education.

We all need to live longer,and enjoy our woodwork not have it provide an early departure from the work we love.

-- Regards Robert

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 1810 days

#13 posted 06-29-2013 11:10 AM

Runwithscissors, I’m having a reaction to your comment, laughing. Yes, I am O positive.

Cathyb, my after the cocobolo reaction I had my Dr. told me the same thing about some woods being sensitizers, and suggested that I pay someone to clean my shop.

Both my reactions were from skin contact. I hate to think what would have happened if I had not been wearing a good dust mask.

-- Fredj

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 1932 days

#14 posted 06-29-2013 12:25 PM

I’ll give some info from my nursing background and having allergies to a lot of stuff.

You are not allergic to anything on first exposure, but that is when the body starts to make antibodies ( for simplicity sake). The next exposure the antibodys react with the histamine cells, swelling and itching.

With further exposure the reaction increases and time between exposure dose not really matter. The body defense system is ready to go.

Ask your DR for an antihistamine to reduce symptoms. and avoid the allergen.

You can get allergy shots for common allergens that in theroy reduce you sensitivity, over time.

I used to be sick around any cat and some dogs. We have 3 cats now and they don’t bother me. Some experts say as you get older your immune system slows and is less reactive.

Wheat dust is my achilles heel. During harvest season, I take an antihistamine regularly otherwise I want to scratch my eyes and throat out.

View JoesBetterHalf's profile


162 posts in 1944 days

#15 posted 06-29-2013 01:57 PM

I turned a bloodwood pencil last summer and the dust that landed on my skin burned and itched like crazy. A few days later I began having shortness of breath and coughing until I was vomiting. I eventually (a couple days after symptoms started) had my husband call an ambulance because I felt like I was going to die. I had pneumonitis and a pneumothorax. I was in the hospital for a few days on IV antibiotics and IV steroids. I was sent home on a 6 week course of prednisone and more antibiotics. It took about 2 months for me to feel almost 100%. I still have some lingering effects. I never had respiratory problems but I need to use an inhaler now and have had a few infections since then. Now if I use bloodwood in anything, my husband does all the cutting.


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