Turning Archive 2004

Cocobolo strikes again (long) *LINK*

Mike Foster
>Hi all. I've not been doing much turning due to a year long house renovation project, but have finally started some limited turning. I had a cocobolo hollow form that I turned a couple years ago, and had intentions of trying my hand at carving. It has been kicking around the shop for a while. I come to Alaska to work at my former job periodically, for 3-5 weeks at a time, so I decided to bring along the vessel and some carving tools to finish the piece. I had it relatively near done, the pattern is carved and I was finsh sanding it on Monday. After dinner I jumped into a hot tub for a while, then watched a movie. During the movie I started itching and it seemed to get worse and worse, so I went to check out myself in a mirror, and I was covered in hives. Well I was not really sure what caused it, the cocobolo, the hot tub chemicals or the clam sauce I had for dinner. I went to the ER in the hospital where I work to get some benadryl to relieve the itching as it was 10:00 pm on Memorial day and no drug store was open in Sitka.

The piece is so close to being finished, I decided to try to complete it the following night. I donned all the protective gear I could find (dust mask, plastic apron and gloves). Got the piece sanded through 200 grit and took a break for dinner. Soon after my lips started swelling (another contact allergy response called angioedema) so I guess my dust armor was not good enough. So now I know what the hives are from (they still are not gone). In retrospect, I can see that the combination of things I did all combined to do me in. Getting into the hot tub opens the pores in your skin, and the real mistake I made was to put back on the dust laden clothing. I did a search of the archives and found one of Russ's Universal Truth's of Turning -there are only 2 kinds of people in the world: Those that are allergic to cocobolo, and those that will become allergic to cocobolo. He hit the nail on the head.

I'm left with the dilemma of the unfinished piece. I think I'll wait till I get back to Vermont where I will don a Tyvek suit, gloves and my Airstream. Once done, I'll not use Cocobolo again. Anyone interested in some cocobolo? I think I have one block, several 1.5 x 1.5 turning squares and maybe some 1" stock kicking around in my shop.

Does anyone know if there is cross reactivity/sensitivity with other members of the Dalbergia Genus? I have a lot of kingwood, and some rosewood and tulipwood that I still would like to use. May have to don the spacesuit to handle any of these. Sorry about the long sad story, but I just had to share it.

(I just posted this message on the general bulletin board, meant to post it here, but could not figure out how to link it, so just reposted the message)
Mike in Alaska (who caught a 23 lb king salmon on Sat)

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