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Thread: Salt Peppermill #2

  1. #1

    Salt Peppermill #2

    Some one mentioned that certain woods may cause a reaction of some kind. Which woods would you not use to make a mill with? The last thing I want to do is get someone sick.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Schenectady, NY
    This is kind of a tough question to answer Dennis. There is someone somewhere that will be allergic to anything you can come up with. Some commonly allergenic woods are the rosewoods (Dalbergia), Lacewood ( a type of Oak from Australia I believe) and various other "exotics". I would also stay away from any of the "Cedars", more for the potential of transfering a taste or smell to the salt or pepper, but also for the allergy possibility. Most of my mills are made from domestic North American hardwoods like Cherry, Maple, Ash, Oak, Beech, Birch. I have also used Black Walnut with no known problems (it is a common allergen). I also coat the inside of my mills with shellac just as an extra measure of protection. There are lists of toxic woods on the Internet if you search if you want to learn more. I have seen mills made from all kinds of woods, laminations of several different woods and so on. I think that most are probably safe as long as you are not actually ingesting particles of the wood itself or breathing in the dust or getting fine dust on your skin-all of which are fairly unlikely with a finished mill. Most of us share your concern for the safety of those who receive our products.
    Don Orr

    Woodturners make the World go ROUND

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    I have to agree with Don. I have made a few from exotic woods such as cocobolo, etc. but like Don will give the inside a couple of heavy coats of shellac. Most of mine are made from the North American woods Don mentioned including mesquite, walnut and elm. I still put a couple of coats of shellac inside. I have never had a complaint on the 75 to 80 I have made so far.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    Keep in mind Dennis, whatever you put in the mill to coat it will go on your food. No one to date has ever invented a finish that doesn't wear out over time. That's why all makers of mill parts recommend using nothing in the bore. That being said, Cocobolo, and most other rosewoods will cause a reaction. Each person is susceptible (to a point over time) to a reaction to most any wood that has tannin and/or oil. The big issues is making sure you are using wood that does not normally cause a reaction in most people and ask your customer…are you allergic to any wood that you know of?
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    I came onto this thread late, but agree with all that's said... I would avoid any oily or highly aromatic wood and especially eucalyptus as I've heard more comments about allergies to that than most woods. It's a wood probably not used for mills anyway.

    As I said in earlier thread I leave most of mine raw inside the bore, but do coat the spalted mills... most people have a funny reaction when you tell them the spalting is caused by a "fungus"... although I've read that the spalt fungus is harmless to humans... I still do a coating just for those who don't like the word fungus..
    Tellico Plains, TN
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

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