Hand Tools Archive

wenge infill questions

Bruce, a MN Galoot
A long time ago I got the St James Bay infill smoother kit, really just a casting and associated parts. It comes rough and everything needs to be done to it. I think most of the metal work has been mostly finished except for drilling some holes for pins and figuring out how to mount the lever cap.

Last week an ugly question reared its head. I've been working on a wenge infill for this thing because that's what Woodcraft had at the time and I thought it looked nice. It was fairly heavy and moderately dense, but what did I know...

Anyway, I was doing some fairly heavy-duty sanding-shaping and later that evening sat down to an extended period of mild abdominal cramps, which, it turns out, is one of the prominent features of wenge. Yippee!

Okay, here's the first question:
Is there any finish that can be applied to wenge to prevent further reactions? If so, what. If not, am I likely to encounter such a reaction again if I will only be holding it and not inhaling sanding dust?

Second question:
If the wenge needs to be scrapped, is it copacetic to use glued up stock for an infill? Turns out I have a nice piece of inch-thick cocobolo, also allergenic but I don't seem to react to it (at least not yet.)

Bear in mind that this is not a showpiece, just a nice smoother for home use.


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