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Thread: Acrylic Pen Blanks Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

    Acrylic Pen Blanks Question

    Blessed (Cursed?) with virtually no sense of smell I didn't realize that the acrylic blanks I've been turning smell bad. At least they do to SWMBO who has a very good sense of smell. Now she's concerned that the acrylic fumes may actually be toxic to some extent. Anyone know if there is any basis to her concern? Would like to put her mind to rest one way or the other. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I've noticed the smell too when turning acrylics, but I dobn't thimbk theee fummesse aree annthig to wory abut.

    Seriously, good question, but I don't know the answer.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Acrylic blanks are discussed, and cussed, extensively on the pen turning forums. General consensus is to drill at slow speeds and withdraw frequently to allow cooling. I don't do enough non-wood stuff of any kind to have developed much of a technique. But, I do keep a large syringe available. When drilling acrylics, I'll fill the syringe with water and use to drip into the hole as a coolant. Another caution: Many acrylic pen blanks cannot be drilled all the way through without blowing out. It is often necessary to cut the blank over-length then drill only past the length needed for your tube then cut the waste off, leaving exact length properly drilled.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  4. #4


    Ive turned several "man made materials," and they all stink. Just finished two pens of corion. Same deal. Best guess not too long on one project at one time. It all polishes up nice though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Hey, Bob,

    Turn off your caps lock. It is the equivilent of shouting on the internet. And it's harder to read.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Cotswolds, UK
    Well the use of acrylics in Nail bars has precautionary recommendations

    Main points
    ‘Liquid and powder acrylic systems’ and ‘UV nails’ can cause dermatitis.

    Acrylic fumes can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and irritation.

    Dust filings from artificial nails can cause asthma.

    Chas. just a traveller on the road of time.

    Bits & Pieces
    My Web Site

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Mendota, IL

    They say that 80% of smell is particulate, in other words a solid. Acrylics, corian, inlay stones/metals, and the stuff they use to stabilize wood is inorganic. If you can smell it there is an 80% chance you are breathing in some kind of dust, very small grains, of these products. The fact that they are inorganic means that your body/lungs can not process them back out like regular wood dust, an organic compound, and therefore will build up over time causing respritory problems.

    I am in complete denial on all of the above. I do alot of inlay and turn alot of stabilized bottle stoppers. This was a discussion my lovely wife had with a doctor at our table while at the 2006 AAW Symposium banquet. That meeting combined with constant nagging of one of my closer friends in the local club have diverted much of my turning spending toward dust collection/control over the past year. Without that conversation I would have a vacume chuck by now, oh well.

    So Gord, This story doesn't help ease your concerned housemate, sorry.

    'Sawdust is better than Prozac'

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