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blackened hands - won't come off - whats the source?

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Forum topic by PurpLev posted 08-17-2009 05:28 PM 3538 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2305 days


08-17-2009 05:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: black dirty hands palm sweat glue chemical reaction metal foam pads clean pumice soap question

As I was working on the chop for the leg vise in my workbench, my hands (palms) got all black.

At first, I thought it was from the foam pads on the Rockler clamps. it was a hot day and I was sweating, so I thought maybe some of it rubbed off on me. but these usually come off with soap and water. and my hands could not be cleaned with ANYTHING. I used soap and water, I used the FastOrange pumice cleaner, I used Green Scotchbrite pad and almost rubbed my skin off – but it wouldn’t clean the black stuff off… the good thing is the black stuff wouldn’t rub off on the towels, and everything else as well, so at least I wasn’t making things dirty, but I still would like to know how to clean this off, and more important – to know where its coming from.

another thought was that it’s coming off of a #6 Foreplane I just restored and used on this project, but I took the plane several times after, and held it without getting blackened.

The last thought that came to mind was, that it’s coming from a chemical reaction in the wood I was using – either maple (I doubt it) or the mahogany (makes more sense to me. but I never saw that before), reacting to glue (I only use Titebond I)? or sweat?

does anyone have experience with such a thing? and maybe an insight to what’s causing it? I WOULD like to avoid it in the future, or at least know how to clean this off.

Thanks in advance!

P.S.
The reason I’m asking this is because I might make the handles for the workbench vises out of mahogany – which would get constant use – but if the mahogany is what’s causing this – then that would be a poor choice of material

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.


40 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2874 days


#1 posted 08-17-2009 05:34 PM

I’m not sure about the cause or the solution, but your plight did remind me of that forum topic a while back questioning why we did not have more black members here at Lumberjocks.

I’m glad to see you doing your part to help out. :-)

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

View Karson's profile

Karson

34876 posts in 3057 days


#2 posted 08-17-2009 05:37 PM

Yes you might have found the reverse of the problem that Michael J had. Maybe all the white is starting to wear off.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View bayspt's profile

bayspt

292 posts in 2360 days


#3 posted 08-17-2009 05:49 PM

Could it be a combination of the wood and plane? Much like the nasty stains left by clamps on oak? A reaction of the sweat on you hands leaching tanic acid out of the wood the you grabing the fore and causing the usual reaction? Just a thought.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1279 posts in 2393 days


#4 posted 08-17-2009 05:54 PM

Are you sure it is not residuals from the glue you used? Some glues can stain hands black.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2305 days


#5 posted 08-17-2009 06:01 PM

Thanks for the replies… more entertaining than informative – but thats good stuff too :)

Charlie – I’m doing my best…. whatEVER it takes !

Karson – do you have MJ’s doc contact info by any chance? maybe I’d give him a call (ok… that might be considered a bit over the top)

bayspt – I thought it might be something similar, but I wasn’t using oak, and I haven’t heard of Maple doing the same thing. which what led me to think – maybe Mahogany does?!? but I don’t really know.

John – definitely not glue, as it happened 2 times, and I usually don’t have contact with the glue with my palms – maybe sometimes just with 2 fingers…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Roper's profile

Roper

1359 posts in 2369 days


#6 posted 08-17-2009 06:01 PM

sometimes when i spin mahogany, like walnut and oak , my hands get stained from the acids in the woods reacting with the sweat from my hands, the only thing i have found to remove the staining is vinager, it smells bad but it works pretty well. hope this helps.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust- www.roperwoodturning.com

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2305 days


#7 posted 08-17-2009 06:06 PM

Thanks Roper- this is good to know. my wife uses vinegar to clean everything – so I have some at hand (I guess that would be literally when the time comes…)

the reason I’m asking this is because I might make the handles for the workbench vises out of mahogany – which would get constant use – but if the mahogany is what’s causing this – then that would be a poor choice of material

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34876 posts in 3057 days


#8 posted 08-17-2009 06:06 PM

Polyurethane glues like Gorilla will cause your hands to turn black.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Roper's profile

Roper

1359 posts in 2369 days


#9 posted 08-17-2009 06:10 PM

if you like the wood but are worried about your hands getting black just coat your handles with shellac, that will seal it right up.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust- www.roperwoodturning.com

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2305 days


#10 posted 08-17-2009 06:14 PM

Karson – I only use Titebond I so far. but good thing to consider for future reference.

Thanks Roper – if shellac will do the trick, I’ll go that route (need to get shellac anyways for another project for some french polishing)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View poroskywood's profile

poroskywood

614 posts in 2020 days


#11 posted 08-17-2009 06:44 PM

For Red Oak “ink stains” on my hands I’ve used lemon juice or gasoline.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View CanadaJeff's profile

CanadaJeff

207 posts in 2266 days


#12 posted 08-17-2009 06:48 PM

My first thought was that it must be from a tool. If your getting the heat I’m getting I imagine that some of the plastic compounds on handles or related may rub off. My only other thought would be if you were using a dye or similar and spilt in the past.

Perhaps throw on a pair of gloves and rub your hands all over the tools you used when this happened maybe you can reproduce the blackening.

I know its not the nicest stuff, but perhaps paint thinner would take it off.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2305 days


#13 posted 08-17-2009 06:59 PM

Jeff, I tried reproducing it – but like murphy stated before -when you try, it won’t work… it only works when you don’t want it to.

poroskywood – thanks for the lemon juice idea – that, and the previously suggested vinegar might do the trick as natural cleaners. as for the gasoline – I’m trying to keep my MPG as high as possible…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2531 posts in 2613 days


#14 posted 08-17-2009 07:15 PM

Maybe from that black stuff on the bottom of the bowling alley? I know I have been getting black hands allot lately from all the construction adhesive I am usuing….its waterproof and you cant really see it that good till it dries then its too late!

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2305 days


#15 posted 08-17-2009 07:25 PM

Thanks David, but the tar on the bottom of the bowling alley is long gone, and since it’s tar, it’s rubbery and solid, and comes off real easy (within reason).

I wasn’t using any new materials, or adhesives, or anything of that sort. I was bend laminating the mahogany on the maple leg vise. using titebond I glue, and the rockler clamps… and trimmed it with the metal hand plane… that’s about it all that was in the equation.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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