01-24-2010 07:33 AM
Last winter I resawed a log of heavily spalted wood (think maple) with plan to use for jewelry box lids. Without using propery dust mask while planning the spalted wood, apparently the dust I inhaled caused me to have 2 months of severe asthma type spells. Have recovered and yes have bought proper respirator and dust collection system. My question is, how do I make this wood safe to use. Don't want to go thru asthma spells again.
01-24-2010 09:32 AM
Any saw dust, spalted or not, could trigger an asthma attack in a susceptible individual. I think the question you should ask is should I avoid wood dust from now on. If you decide to risk it again use every available means to avoid inhaling it.
01-24-2010 10:54 AM
As mentioned above dust from anything is a potential health hazard here is a link of toxic woods and their effects
best to try to eliminate breathing dust if at all possable.
01-25-2010 07:10 PM
I have worked with wood for well over 50 years and until just a few years back had never had a negitive experience regarding ingestion or breathing in of saw dust or vapors of any type. That being said, I was in the process of building our queen size Mission Style CHERRY bed. I could and did all of the manual tasks required for this job, not once having any difficulty, that is until I started the sanding portion of the project. I was not using a breathing filter nor masks of any type. Loe and behold I began to experience a severe hardening of my face in my left cheek. It would become like a stone. I resorted to 5-6 benadrills and continued on. It took me a few of these experiences to finally relate the cherry saw dust as a cause. A bit slow I am. I resorted to my breathing mask with filter and have never had that problem again. Domestic or foriegn cherry was not mentioned in the article posted, so thought I might bring up my situation.
Spalted wood is getting more press all the time as being potentially very dangerous do to the natural fungi involved in natures process of making it so beautiful for us woodworkers. Don't you just love that stuff ?
Be safe ,
Leo in AZ.
01-25-2010 09:23 PM
Remember that spalting is the result of the action of bacteria. That really striking set of colored lines are literally warzone barriers set up between colonies of bacterias living in the tree.
The bacteria is really resistant stuff and CAN survive through kilning.
And inhaling can have differing effects on different people, ranging from nothing at all to very(!!!!!!) serious, depending on the type of bacteria and your overall susceptibility to it.
So the standard method of operation should be that any time you're working with spalted wood you should wear NIOSH approved respiration devices.
Yeah, I know... sounds really mercurial. But here it's one of those deals where you truly just never know.
01-26-2010 01:39 AM
Actually most spalting is the result of fungus. The fungal spores and some of the material from the fungus can survive the kiln. Fungus is typically multicellular whereas bacteria are not. Bacteria will usually be destroyed in the kilning operation (think of it as really good pasteurisation ).
The fungal hyphae grow in the sapwood of the tree, often through the rays.
As an example.
Mostly Ascomycetes species though some others have been found (such as white rot fungus and Deuteromycota). The residual allergenic material left by various fungal species are typically what trigger a reaction in most people.