All Replies on The Wrath of Cocobolo

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View mot's profile

The Wrath of Cocobolo

by mot
posted 09-25-2018 02:52 PM

21 replies so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4781 days

#1 posted 09-25-2018 03:08 PM

Hi there Mot,

Good to hear from you. Sorry about the reaction to the wood!

Stay well my friend.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Fresch's profile


494 posts in 2722 days

#2 posted 09-25-2018 03:12 PM

I’ll send you some gloves you send me some blanks! LoL
Looks like your setup for a purchase for your sons ppe.

View RobHannon's profile


337 posts in 1332 days

#3 posted 09-25-2018 03:18 PM

I have not tried cocobolo yet, but bubinga and rosewood both make me miserable for 4 or 5 days. Next time I have a project with one I plan on starting an OTC allergy med for a couple days prior to see if it helps.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4061 posts in 4865 days

#4 posted 09-25-2018 04:30 PM

Do good to hear from you again. Sorry about that cocobolo reaction.
I’ve been doing some workshop archeology myself.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 4796 days

#5 posted 09-25-2018 04:51 PM

Hey Mot,

Good to hear from you. I hope you get over your allergic reaction and can get back into your woodworking.

Take care!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4870 days

#6 posted 09-25-2018 05:32 PM

How unfortunate. My favorite species. I don’t work with it a lot or in great quantities as it’s not exactly cheap, but it turns well and made excellent chess pieces years ago. Walnut is what I have to be careful with. Love it and use it often. I don’t forget protection when using it though.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4962 days

#7 posted 09-25-2018 07:54 PM

MOT !!!

As soon as I saw the title I thought, “isn’t there a story behind that?”

13??! Wow

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View mot's profile


4927 posts in 4838 days

#8 posted 09-25-2018 08:52 PM

Nice to see the usual bunch of bandits respond!


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View mot's profile


4927 posts in 4838 days

#9 posted 09-25-2018 08:54 PM

Yes, Debbie, that little terrorist from my shop is now 13!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Karson's profile


35224 posts in 5202 days

#10 posted 11-29-2018 04:51 AM

Mot: I found the same problem the third time I turned it.
First time nothing
Second time some redness around the cuffs of the shirt.
Third time hands, neck face, and breathing problems.

Stayed away from pens. I’ve done a couple of small board pieces, Desk clock etc to use up some stock I had. But I did the sanding outside with lots of fans.

Keep well.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View xeddog's profile


311 posts in 3809 days

#11 posted 11-29-2018 06:04 PM

Sorry to hear about your “affliction”. Do I assume you son didn’t have any negative reactions to turning it?


View mot's profile


4927 posts in 4838 days

#12 posted 11-29-2018 06:30 PM

My son did not have any reaction, but it took a few exposures for my reaction to show up. I decided to deep clean the shop and rid it of all stock that I had in case his allergy appeared.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Mattg43's profile


27 posts in 908 days

#13 posted 11-29-2018 08:50 PM

This isn’t really encouraging – I just tried turning a pen last week, and about 24 hours later my eyes were super puffy, light rash on my forehead and cheeks, a bit more around my lips, and my forearms all had rash.

I was hoping it wasnt a reaction to cocobolo, but the more I read, the more I fear.

No reactions to it in the past year, quite a few pieces turned, but then I took a few months off of using it, and its like it was mad at me…

My next plan was to grab a piece, cut it with a hand saw, and push the cut against a patch of skin, and see what happened. I love the wood, so I want to make sure it is the problem before I do the same thing and get rid of all I have stashed.

Having just dealt with this, I wish you the best. For me, a Cortizone 10 Maximum “easy relief applicator” was handy.

View mot's profile


4927 posts in 4838 days

#14 posted 11-29-2018 09:30 PM

It sounds familiar to how my reaction started. The thing that gets me is I’m not allergic to contact with it. I am incredibly allergic to breathing in the dust and 2 days later BAM!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2287 days

#15 posted 11-30-2018 06:08 AM

Sounds like I am one lucky SOB :) I’ve been shaping a handful of cocobolo saw handles. Haven’t worked with anything else yet that’s given me any kind of reaction :(

Man that sucks. It’s some wonderful stuff.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MrRon's profile


5924 posts in 4045 days

#16 posted 11-30-2018 07:30 PM

I don’t believe I’m allergic to any wood, but if one inhales dust from any wood, there will be an allergic like reaction. I don’t think that is a positive allergic reaction. Everyone has sensitivity to dust, pollen, etc. It’s just the amount that makes the difference. When I’m doing a lot of sanding, that night , I feel congested, but the next day, I’m alright, so that is why I don’t consider myself allergic. I’m not saying there is not a true allergic reaction to some materials; I’m sure there is, but what some may call an allergic reaction, may not be an allergy at all.

I remember many, many years ago, I had an allergic reaction to shrimp. My face swelled up like a balloon, but a shot from a doctor and that was it. I still eat and love shrimp and have never had a reaction since. That was around 70 years ago.

View Aj2's profile (online now)


3171 posts in 2599 days

#17 posted 11-30-2018 08:29 PM

I used to work with all the exotics bulbinga set it off for me. I’m very sensitive to many and most anything that come out of SouthAmerican rain forest. I’ve had the pleasure of working with woods not listed and impossible to know how to spell.
But the good news for me Cherry,walnut,Hickory,maple,alder are perfectly acceptable woods.

-- Aj

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9595 posts in 3130 days

#18 posted 11-30-2018 08:52 PM

Timely post….

I just turned a pen with Cocobolo for the first time this week… the blank gave me a really beautiful pen… one of my best.

I turn on an adapted bench top metal working lathe with power feed… so I can hold a shop vac with a HEPA filter right over the cutter and catch 95% of the chips right off the tool. But when I drilled the blank I immediately thought “that’s a different smell” ... not obnoxious… but very pungent and immediately recognizable.

The finish I get right off the lathe is very good, so I can go straight to 600 grit, or even straight to the micro-mesh some times. But I wasn’t using the shop vac while sanding.

Hope I don’t get sensitized to it, because I’d like to get some more blanks and turn with it again.

Thanks for posting your experiences, I’ll ware a dust mask next time and be careful about skin contact.

Please LMK if you want to offload the blanks.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View HokieKen's profile


14494 posts in 1940 days

#19 posted 11-30-2018 09:10 PM

I’m afraid all of you guys will have a violent reaction to Cocobolo the very next time you try to work with it. I’ll be PM’ing all of you my mailing address. I feel very strongly that you should all send me all of your Cocobolo stock so that I can make sure it’s “disposed of” properly ;-)

I have no issues with Cocobolo at all. I’ve worked it several times without any issue. Same with any other exotic or domestic wood… EXCEPT Bolivian Rosewood. It’s a mild reaction but any dust that comes in contact with exposed skin becomes an itchy rash for a few days. It takes a couple of hours usually before it manifests and since it’s the only wood that has done it, I tend to forget. I forgot last week. I had to pee while I was working with it. I walked out into the backyard and took care of business. Fill in the blanks… Was an uncomfortable couple of days there…

The moral of the story (and it is a true story!) – Rosewood ain’t for weenies!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View TheDane's profile


5829 posts in 4464 days

#20 posted 11-30-2018 09:13 PM

A buddy of mine, who is a professional turner and instructor, turned black walnut for years with no problem.

Then he started experiencing nausea, lung congestion, burning eyes, skin irritation, the whole nine yards when he was turning black walnut.

Now he can’t stand to be anywhere in the shop if there is any black walnut around. He is okay around finished turnings, but if there is speck of black walnut dust anywhere in the shop he needs to head for the door.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View pottz's profile


10276 posts in 1786 days

#21 posted 11-30-2018 10:24 PM

sorry to hear that, its one of my fav’s also,love how it turns and finishes.ive got a life time supply i inherited from my dad.just hope that problem doesnt pop up for me,alergies can develop later in life,knock on wood.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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