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Terve! (Hi!)

I've been lately worked with white oak ( a new wood to me) and my problem is that it seems to make my hands really dry (compared to for example birch and pine). Anyone else noticed that? And I don't mind if anyone has good tips about working with oak generally. I think that you guys are more familiar with hardwood than me?

Pauli
 

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This is an interesting subject, not discussed too often. Generally speaking, without trying to scare anyone, woodworking for some may not be very safe. Some of us are more sensitive to materials than others, and may react differently.

In working with wood, contact takes a few forms such as touching the stock, having the wood dust make contact with the skin, having the wood dust enter our body through breathing, eyes, ears, and mouth (any orifice really). If you "Google" toxic woods, you will find many sites of lists of woods, charts, tests, and results of certain woods that have a potential hazard.

In my 37 years of woodworking on a daily basis, dry hands are not my only problem. Like I stated earlier, some people are more sensitive than others, and my exposure extensive. For those with chronic sensitivity levels (possibly unknowingly), once subjected to the source, the sensitivity gets more acute and chronic. I couldn't even guess which specie I'm sensitive to, but my hands are like sandpaper, and I have to use hand cream several times during the day.

Dry hands may not be the result of the physical contact alone, but could be a reaction to other forms of contact. Something like a side reaction. After several dermatologists, the best they can come up with is a case of dermatitis, which just about covers most skin irritations.

I'm also a cancer survivor. Detected in 2001, a close call with bladder cancer. Specialists attribute possible causes as inhaled foreign matter, including dust and chemicals, and direct contact with the skin.

Wood and its dust has the tendency to draw moisture from contact, much like talcom powder would do. The difference being that woods vary in their chemical properties. If you show an early sensitivity, you might consider seeing a doctor, and use precautionary steps like gloves, respirator, etc. Keep in mind it's nearly impossible to completely protect ourselves.





 

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Discussion Starter #3
Using cloves seems to work for me. Hands are back to normal, but working with cloves is really strange...

Here is my poor mans solution for cleaning air:
Cleaner.jpg
It's normal blower (used in duct-work) and air cleaner from large engine.
I don't know how small particles it cleans up but at least it filters visible dust.

Pauli
 

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Puumies, looks like a pretty good set-up to me.

Cabinetman, thanks for the input. I've only been doing this kind of work for about nine years now, and have taken better precautions only in the last four or five years since working in closed quarter shop work more often.

The truth is I/we need to protect ourselves from all contact whether inhaled or direct contact. I never had a reaction to wood until working with Ipe' on a large deck job. The sawdust from this wood made my skin red and irritated especially around my eyes and in any creases of my skin.

I realized just because that particular species is the only one with noticeable signs of a reaction, doesn't mean that the others can't harm me as well. The forty five dollars I spent on a respirator was one of the best investments in my shop and my future I suppose.

Glad to hear you're healthy again.
 

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I had the same problem with White and Red Oak. The solution. Use neopreme or latex gloves whenever you can. Before you put the gloves on, spray a small amount of water into the glove opening using a small aerosol sprayer. Also, wash hands without soap.

Quote: Beauty often lies in the eyes of the beer holder.
 

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Teak is another wood that causes skin problems. I worked for 6 years in a shop building boats and boat parts. It starts off as just a small rash and from prolonged contact, it turns into a full body reaction from just smelling the fumes. I was fortunate to not be bothered by it but I saw plenty of guys who had to quit the business because they became so sensative to it.
 
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