Sensitized to iroko, Need battery info for DIY air supply

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Iroko loco!
18 Nov 2012
Reaction score
In me workshop
Hi folks
I've been very suspicious of being allergic to the iroko that I've been hoarding ..suspicious, say for the past year.
and I've only brought it out of storage and been hand planing the wood for this last year ..
I only work in small bursts due to other reasons.... blah blah blah ,
Maybe an hour or two some days,
I noticed especially last week that I had felt tender like a mild nettle sting or insulation irritation around the mouth/chin area , the creases on my forehead , and around my lips .
Just went out there for like, a half an hour today,surfaced two planks ,sat down in the house and noticed around my lips burning proper...
And more importantly my throat is getting irritated :shock:
I have not being really sawing this stuff or anything ! .

I'm going to be building a 3HP cyclone when I can find a motor soon as I can BTW ...
and probably a large air cleaner too ...possibly sooner as I probably could find a motor for this easier ..
I hope I'm right on that one ...anyway .

It seems evident that I will have to stop working this stuff completely .unfortunately as its my only timber
that I get for free from skips, and I have no income to buy other species .
Ive got so much of it ,and I like the quality's that it has , that I would not rule out the full HAZMAT setup ...
Suit and respirator job ,change clothes before entering the house , shave off the beard ..
I even considered doing so today, using a no 3 iron for this for the craic
I don't buy much stuff, that I don't need like razors :p

The species that I suspect is the iroko and the red meranti for starters ,although I could be wrong on the I.D .
I also noticed before, that while burning or whatever I was at, some sort of softwood shelf ,
I don't think it was lodgepole pine judging by the lack of knots ,It could have even been some pine from the far east .
Don't think it was doug fir as its heavy with distinctive grain lines .
I'm not an knowledgeable at I.D in softwoods as I've no interest in it because its not hard enough for my tastes .
Not yet anyway....

Anyway whilst this warm shelf plank was beside the fire stove, I got some resin on my finger ...
As you can imagine I wiped the sticky resin off my finger probably not long afterwards,
But my skin came off with it . It literally melted my skin off !
Took a good few layers off .
I never noticed this resin melting skin occurrence with skita , or maybe it was lodgepole whilst cutting up firewood .

So it looks like I will have to be very careful with any timber that I get now and do some tests.
I posted a question yesterday on "boastable" unknown wood from a fancy building in town ...
These suspected allergies are the reason I posted the question, as it might be a waste now to start making stuff
out of this instead of the Iroko or red meranti that I wished to use .

I was trying to get across that this boast-able part would be from some well heeled persons perspective.
and that maybe the iroko/red meranti would not be of interest to anyone because it had no story.
You have to try to find a niche, if you dont have the reputation, and that maybe you might get a worthwhile price that would make it feasible to make ,especially if you don't have all the gear and have arthritis .

Looks like I have to weigh up some options ... risky business though even so
My shop is not riddled in dust or anything BTW .
I need a proper bench though and the iroko is the stuff that is the most suitable since I'm
looking to make a Rob Cosman style bench with abutments .
I must add that I'm OCD about the bench thing and will settle for no less than perfection, when it comes to flatness tolerance as I use a composite dead flat plate at the moment and not going to take a step backwards .
I was planning to use only quartersawn iroko that's proved itself for the top build.
Don't have the space to have another bench either .

I have a 24" bandsaw though to process trees which I think I might be doing in the future but that's down the road .
I might clean the hand plane and try working some ash , beech , then find some sycamore to try out elsewhere.

I'd never get what I'm looking for, with no money ,time to see if it moves , furniture beetles in the workshop,
and sheer amount of quartersawn stock to make a suitable bench with

What you reckon the chances of me being allergic to these woods even if I do get some
It would be a pain to get whatever and find out I'm allergic to those aswell
...and how fast would you recon I would get these reactions ...
Could they be they sped up now because of it ?

Don't know what to do about the shed now :(
Looked up Bill Pentz's wood toxicity table ,but that's about it ,so far ...
Could I be allergic to some other element of wood in general
Or does sensitivity come from the particular toxins in the species ...
I had a hunch that I was reacting to the redder stuff first ,although I haven't worked with this stuff for say ...two or three days in a air clean shop so, that's a bull theory at the moment .

...I must admit I never liked the smell when entering the workshop of the 80plus % iroko
or the shavings burning either ...This stuff catches me on the back of the throat ,now when I think of it....
well before face irritation started.

And I like the smell of ash ,not sure if I like the smell of beach ,but like the look .
You know what they say about people in the first 7 seconds or whatever, when you meet them .
Your gut tells you something and all that .
Could this principal correlate with allergies ? anyone have a hunch ?

Long post ,sorry
Any input appreciated ...
Thanks for reading
T Trees
When I was an apprentice, I had a serious reaction to Iroko after a few years of using a lot of it and ended up with breathing difficulties and a serious skin condition. Since then I have refused to be anywhere near the stuff.
Thanks PAC1
I'm getting the feeling I'm gonna be like that, when I eventually move on to different timbers .
I allready have a serious skin condition :cry:
I'm guessing you mean dermatitis though .

Its good to know their is some folks who's had a serious reaction ,but still are able to handle other species .
Any other timbers you avoid ? if so do you dislike the smell ...
Or is their other timbers that you use that you don't like the smell of ?
Please don't feel in any rush to respond with my haggling questions
I'm not going out shopping for lumber just yet :)
Still have irritations around my mouth ,along with mouth ulcers
I probably would have noticed sooner if I hadn't got e'm . :?
Could you not protect yourself from any contact? I have a reaction to any dust so I wear the 3m versaflo as soon as I enter my shop. As soon as I leave the shop I blow my clothes down with an air line and have a shower.
I actually ended up with Impetigo which was horrible but sorted in two/three weeks once I got away from the source of the infection and some strong soap from the Doctor.
The problem I had was working in it for 8 hours the sweat and dust stuck to my skin by the end of the working day the damage was done.
I'm not a doctor, but it sounds like you are allergic to it, the stuff sounds nasty.
From the way these links reading out
This thread alone is enough to trigger a reaction !
Thanks again
I had a reaction to Birch ply & or Yellow poplar a couple of weeks ago, (I work in a school as a D&T technician) It wasnt good. My own fault for using a crappy nuisance dust mask that are not really fit for purpose. THis list of woods givs more info, ,
You should bear in mind that Western red cedar is about the worst asthmagen & Iroko runs it a close second for nastiness.
I usually use an Airsteam powered respirator but its battery had died. Its now been fitted with new ones & is now on charge!
The day after i sawed the birch & poplar up another lady member of staff had a bad reaction to the dust.
You need a decent respirator & protective clothing plus see your doctor.
Ultimately you may well end up having to stop using the stuff or you will really be in trouble.
Hi again folks
Its about 12 hours now, since that half hour of hand planing yesterday.
I have not entered the workshop since. :cry:
I'm still having the irritation around my mouth !
I keep thinking it is gone, and hoping it is some other trigger, although I know its the wood .
I'm starting to think I have to hoover this keyboard and things like that.
I eat the same thing everyday so it's not diet or anything.
I was hoping it could have been the new soap .

I've been looking at some powered respirators online,
New Brit Workshop's channel has some good reviews,
Needless to say,I was appalled at the price tag that these things command :shock:
But its to be expected, as its a "safety" item, I suppose .
Totally miles way out of my budget . I have not looked at them all though, but expecting to see similar .
I stumbled on this youtube video of a home made version

Pretty interesting really, and could be combined with some of the masks available ...
well the fancy 3m one mentioned, that you can buy separately .thank f***.
Although it still leaves me with making or buying a proper all in one garment for over the mask .

I'm still on the fence about buying anything yet, as I'm thinking I could just get by with a manual respirator
and process the iroko and be done with it ...
I've got a tablesaw to make/buy parts for, and commission after that .
This is for crosscutting the gawd awful stuff accurately to get this bench build done ...
I have no interest in making anything else from this stuff after that ..
It's not like I paid for it or anything :|

I was thinking I could get looking for other local woods after, as I have a big bandsaw to process anything .
But I was alarmed by what I heard on the trend airsheild video, on New Brits channel ...
He mentions some folk are allergic to ash !
This I thought, was probably going to be my first choice ...
Maybe beech though ...It looks lovely/nicer I think without finish .

I have bought old leather stuff in the past for various tool rolls and possibly overalls ..
I might end up making a leather onesie , but this could prove heavy :p
I think I might have some old garments from the coalyard, or the clean room job I had, but these
might be a bit too porous for the application .
Maybe I can find a non woven material that won't collect dust, which is sort of durable.

Well, It looks like I wont be scavenging from any more skips for the usual commodity :cry:
Theirs always beach though, not near as plentiful, nor quantity's I'm used to getting.
but that's life .
Has anyone here had a reaction to any hardwoods like beech , ash , oak or anything local ?
I might as well ask a theoretical question, even though its not applicable, but just for the greater good ...

If I did find some ash, beech, or maybe ....oak (suspicious now of the darker colour) not ever worked it though.
And I was going to work it in a different shop ...
Would it be advisable to leave it off for a month say ,since I have allergic symptoms ?

I get the feeling ash is gonna be sound, as I can only describe it as a feeling less sinister than the tropicals
I always liked the smell, and it reminds me of being a young lad :D

I must mention and say thanks, Those links are very helpful, very sciencey and hard to follow,
but possibly essential reading for me if I need to do trial and errors in future.

I would love to know if anyone has any inkling of sensitivity from the last few species that I've mentioned .
I have bad psoriasis and this could be possibly contributing to my reaction .
I might try wearing some jewellery to see if it eases...Sorry that's for another forum :oops:
Thanks again for your efforts guys
Keep safe !
Hi again folks
Thought Id post an update on this issue.
I stayed away form woodworking for the last while and decided to work on the tablesaw I have.
Since the last month I've started to go at it again, just testing the saw out and making bits for it...
Also testing the bandsaw out as I've been fettling it.
I have been surfacing the rest the Iroko for the last week, and started cutting the moldings off the door stiles today.
I bought this mask off ebay and thought I'd give it a review on my impressions on it after using it for about an hour or so...

7 in 1 Facepiece Respirator Painting Spraying For 3M 6800 Full Face Gas Mask
It cost £32.85 freepost from zhangzhanxin116
I see there going for £25.54 now.

It is fairly comfortable ...I don't have a long face, but was still concerned about the bridge of nose to chin fit,
as I have a cheap small respirator that's awful in this regard.
I got one small drip while I as planing the door stiles another bit as some moved a bit since they were jointed ...
I also finessed the bench to a finer tolerance while planing these stiles, butting two lengths together perfectly.

I was looking at the 3M non disposable overalls but was unsure on the material and the porousness of it.
So I ordered this breathable drytex boiler suit as I seen one in the local agri retailers and it looks to be nice.
I will keep ye updated on this when I get it.
Its from O'Connor group limited in Cork.
Its gonna cost 70 quid at least.
This cheap tissue overall is allready ripped, when I hunkered down while jointing an edge. :roll:
I will give ye a review on it when it comes and I get to use it.



  • drytex-boiler-suit-tp_3972439445261116326vb.jpg
    6.4 KB · Views: 233
  • IMG_20170512_112557.jpg
    171.9 KB · Views: 233
  • IMG_20170512_124922.jpg
    218 KB · Views: 233
  • IMG_20170512_112529.jpg
    216.2 KB · Views: 233
Having a hoard of timber that is always present doesn't seem to help. A friend of mine did a lot of sculptural work with Lebanon Cedar and worked with stacks of it everywhere, he became very sensitised to it, and ended up with his face swelling 'like Rocky Balboa'. I also know a joiner who can't work with Oak, and for myself I find that sawing fresh Larch depresses my lung capacity quite a bit, and Western Red Cedar is none too friendly as well.

These are all durable timbers and have some pretty exotic compounds inside them, so the whiter/indoor woods may be better. I know that the fungal products in Spalted Beech can set some people off though....
Ive made joinery from iroko for the last 17 yesrs, luckily no issues so far.

Im getting fed up of the poor quality iroko available though, it often seriously wild grain with lots of tension. Im looking into alternatives. I quite like the idsa of siberisn larch, but it would have to be imported from Germany, as its not available in the UK in joinery laminated sections.
I was wondering about the possibility switching to native timbers and hoarding/using oak.
It seems that ash and beech also can give a reaction ...and I was hoping the oak did not :cry:
Wonder if anyone's allergic to cherry ,maple or sycamore ?
I must say I have not got a constant irritation yet around my mouth after the 2 month break.
Still a wee bit of contact going into the shop and getting stuff.
I have noticed one day I went in there, and the very first seconds I got a burning sensation, only briefly thankfully.

I was using/testing the bandsaw for cutting the moldings off some door stiles the other day and got some irritation on
my arms, as I was only wearing a t-shirt ...planning to do some fettling if needed, so was not gowned up.
I cant say what the timber situation is today, as its mainly old door frames and doors I have been working.
I know how you feel about wild grain and tension though.
And I notice at the extremes, some examples are half the weight as others ...

I must say the most recent skipilferage was nearly 2 door frames which were installed very recently
and the stuff did feel lighter than normal...
Its hard to judge sometimes as you can have the strength of 2 men running down the road with a bundle of timbers on your shoulder :p ....
some foremen are strange folks who don't like non officials hoking through their "landfill designated skips"

The heaviest though is the wilder grain ones from my experience .
I get the feeling that these wild grain dense examples have more quinones that trigger a reaction.
I remembered the curly grained stile I was last working on, when cutting it the last day.

I have pulled out all the meranti I have to make a start on processing all this stuff.
Don't know if that would be a substitute or if its pricier stuff though ?

Come to think of it, it would make a good thread, (I haven't seen one if it exists) it could be titled something like ....
Common timber price list, from merchants...high to low price.


  • SAM_1997.JPG
    232 KB · Views: 165
Hi again folks, back for an update on the mask....
Looks like I need to build that DIY air supply...( linked again for handiness sake )

I need to figure what kind of battery I need for the job.
Anyone have any idea?

As you can see the mask is all steamed up and its dangerous using machines like this.
Its dripping more frequently also.
As for the plus side of the mask it will lay down on the outer side without scratching the screen
obviously laying it face side down would get me a face full of dust.

Entered the workshop again to take a piccy, and at the very first second I went in there....
I tore ANOTHER hole in my tissue suit (hammer)
Suppose its training for when the fancy suit comes :p

Love to get some info on the batterys
Thanks folks


  • SAM_2004.JPG
    169.9 KB · Views: 88
  • SAM_2002.JPG
    193.8 KB · Views: 88
  • SAM_2000.JPG
    169.8 KB · Views: 88
Look for LiIo batteries commonly called Lithium Iron, last better, hold charge over a long period of not being used, be careful of some that need special chargers to balance the internally connected pack, better to get separate cells and charge individually, alternatively I can recommend Enerloop Ni-Mh cells if you don't need a large discharge rate.

By the time you have gone down this road a few times the cost of a Trend Airshield Pro will not seem so outrageous, I use mine all the time and have not had any reactions from the sawdust I create. ... 7Qodb1UAFA

Hi Mike
I was thinking of trying to source lithium iron ones, but first looking to find what kind of battery is used in the video.
I have looked at 6v batterys on google images but it's hard to get a sense of the size of them.
I suppose I was asking what the application was for these batterys .
It doesn't look to be a motorcycle battery for instance.
I thought that one in the video would be a standard size.

I was looking at zener diodes they look to be really cheap on the bay, penny's
I suppose I'd be looking at ones rated 6.2V ....not 5.8V ?

He says the fans are .23A each,
I have been looking into these also, but only found a few by searching axial fan motor.
Maybe I need to do a broader search, or search under different title description ?

Apart from the fan motors, all the stuff looks cheap to me.
It seems it would be very worthwhile in my case to make this instead of buying the airshield pro.
Maybe I might learn something in the process too :D

I was suspecting this stuff would be worse than the iroko, judging from the wood durability chart.
Aswell as some study on quinones and the inkling of irritation I got when surface planing it.
I have processed this up as much as I'm going to, and stacked it away.
It's a bit softer then the iroko so I will not use it for the Cosman/Klausz workbench build.
I will find some use for it, no doubt.

Thanks folks
I started to develop reactions to wood a few years ago that triggered I believe pompholyx eczema, which is rather unpleasant! I have found that the barrier create P88 prevents any reaction and keeps me reaction free. I buy it on Amazon. I also use a leather apron to keep dust off my clothes and a Trend Air-shield helmet. This seems to keep me reaction free.

Hope you find a solution.

Latest posts