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Thread: Spalted Maple

  1. #1
    Richard Smith Guest

    Spalted Maple

    I was in to my local Woodcraft store this afternoon.I may be the last person to know this, but I'll share anyway. The man at the counter was telling a customer that he would not turn spalted maple because it would cause brain cancer. The customer thought he was pulling his leg, but no the man was serious. He said the fungus in the spalting was bad news. So if you turn the stuff, wear your air filters.

  2. #2
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    Whooaaa, that's a bit over the top

    Sure, the fungus isn't good for you and I'd recommend you wear a respirator, but brain cancer? We're not talking enriched uranium here. Folks have been working spaulted wood for a good long time. I don't recall hearing, reading or seeing droves of woodworkers dropping dead from brain cancer.

    Now that you mention it, alot of those turners are a bit off center, think maybe we're on to something?

    Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Northville, MI
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    Not so sure I believe the brain cancer bit. I will attest to spalted maple able to make you sick. I was very carefull when making a box for a friend. Went to touch up the top with wome sandpaper and before you know it, I'm sick as a dog. Took a couple of days to get well agian. Made this:

    More pics here.
    Jim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Baltimore, Mary land
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    Foxy Boxy!

    Very nice work!!

  5. #5
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    Feb 2007
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    Westphalia, Michigan
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    ???

    I would like to see his sources for the acusation. I'm sure it is prudent to err to the side of caution, but ??? brian cancer! i will not turn cedar without a respirator. I had a real bad reaction to cedar dust/oil when turning it for a day or 2. Severe vertigo and spiking temps. The symptoms went away after a few days. I found out that cedar is listed in it's own class for toxicity by OSHA.
    A cyclone dust collector is at the top of my need to purchase list. I do process lots of spalted maple, and I've heard it is not good for you. I wonder if the guy is confusing the black spalting fungus with the black fungus that attacks damp framing/construction materials? I don't know if they are the same fungus. To be sure, mushrooms/funguses can be real toxic. I once fell on an orange colored fungus while chasing the whiley trout and had a smear of the stuff on my arm. I washed it off in the trout stream and didn't give it a second though until it burned the skin off my arm later that day!

  6. #6
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    Oct 2006
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    That is very interesting, I do wonder about the whole "Brain Cancer" thing though....?

    I do worry about the spalting, I did some Keyaki that was spalted, and I wore a respirator the whole time, and ran the cyclone.

    My Simpson Sanding attachment works very well for keeping the dust in the cyclone, and not in my lungs!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    I'm going to call "BS" on this one. We live with fungi all around us, in our food, air and environment all the time. I'm unaware of ANY EVIDENCE to suggest fungal exposure from normal environmental sources can cause a malignancy (of any kind).

    PS: this is a prime example of getting "expert information" from someone that lacks any qualifications. This is like going to your plumber for a physical...
    Last edited by Chris Barton; 03-19-2007 at 11:53 AM. Reason: more to say

  8. #8
    Richard Smith Guest
    TOXIC WOOD: Is it really a danger?

    CAUTION USING TOXIC WOODS ---- TAKE ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

    DANGEROUS FUNGUS IN ANTLER & BONE (also spalted maple)

    A dangerous fungus is contained in antler and bone which if gotten into the lungs grows overnight to suffocate its victims. So if any of you are dealing with antler use a vapor mask.
    from: Robert Autison

    I went through the internet looking for info on spalted maple. Everyone quotes an article in the 1990 issue of American Woodturner. It states that SM is a potent( +++ out of ++++) cause of pneumonitis. Be sure to use a mask.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Smith View Post
    TOXIC WOOD: Is it really a danger?

    CAUTION USING TOXIC WOODS ---- TAKE ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

    DANGEROUS FUNGUS IN ANTLER & BONE (also spalted maple)

    A dangerous fungus is contained in antler and bone which if gotten into the lungs grows overnight to suffocate its victims. So if any of you are dealing with antler use a vapor mask.
    from: Robert Autison

    I went through the internet looking for info on spalted maple. Everyone quotes an article in the 1990 issue of American Woodturner. It states that SM is a potent( +++ out of ++++) cause of pneumonitis. Be sure to use a mask.

    Who is Robert Autison? What are his credentials? I know many hundreds of people, myself included, who work with antler without a mask. Have never heard of anyone suffocating from fungus growing in their lungs overnight. And at rendezvous, where folks are camped in close proximity, we would probably lose a dozen people a day if that claim were accurate.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    San Antonio, Texas
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    I guess I'm dying quite soon then. I have and turn tons of the stuff. And I haven't gotten sick from it either. I do wear my respirator when sanding, but I do that for everything anyway. Sawdust can be nasty stuff, spalted or not.

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