Which Is Better Band Saw or Scroll Saw? Choose Wisely.

Thomas the Woodworker’s Guide to Responsible Wood Selection

Band Saw vs. Scroll Saw - Making the Smart Choice

Hello, fellow woodcraft enthusiasts! I’m Thomas, a passionate woodworker. My joy is crafting beautiful pieces for my home, and I’m here to share my insights with you, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro. Today, we’re diving into the world of exotic woods. While they can add a unique flair to your projects, it’s crucial to be aware of which ones to steer clear of.

Exotic Woods: The Do’s and Don’ts

Working with exotic or specialty woods can be thrilling, but it’s vital to avoid those that are either toxic or endangered. Woods like Bosse, Cedar, and Cocobolo may cause varying levels of irritation due to their toxicity. Additionally, varieties like Brazilwood, Mahogany, and Teak are considered endangered. Keep in mind that this list isn’t exhaustive, as many other exotic woods could pose similar issues.

Researching Exotic Woods

For detailed information on these woods, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is a fantastic resource. I’ve also conducted some basic research to give you a head start in making informed choices for your woodworking endeavors.

Toxic Exotic Woods

Some woods are best avoided due to their toxicity. It’s not just about consuming them; these woods can be harmful even through touch or inhalation of their dust. Exotic woods can cause a range of issues from mild irritants like runny noses to severe problems like cardiac complications. For instance, working with Paduak leaves me with a rash, despite its beauty.

Exotic Woods with Toxic Irritants

Here’s a list of toxic or irritating exotic woods to consider avoiding:

  • Bosse: Known for extreme irritation, causing nausea and asthma.
  • Cedar: Several types can cause asthma and central nervous system issues.
  • Cocobolo: A toxic wood leading to pink eye and nausea.
  • Ebony: Apart from being endangered, it’s also a moderate irritant.
  • Greenheart: Known for causing cardiac issues and intestinal disorders.
  • Pau Ferro: Causes extreme irritation and sensitivity issues.
  • Rosewood: Can lead to sensitivity issues and asthma.

Poisonous Exotic Woods

Some exotic woods are outright poisonous, although they’re less commonly encountered. Here’s a list:

  • Laburnum: Its toxin can lead to nausea and vomiting.
  • Milky Mangrove: Its sap can cause blindness and skin blisters.
  • Mulga: Used in spears, can cause nausea and lesions.
  • Oleander: Not typically used in woodworking due to its toxicity.
  • Poison Walnut: Its sap is corrosive and can cause extreme vomiting.
  • Tambootie: Known to cause blindness and diarrhea.

Endangered Exotic Woods

Preserving our natural resources is crucial, and that includes avoiding endangered woods. CITES classifies endangered woods into different levels. Some may still be available regionally, but it’s important to verify their legal acquisition and consider alternatives for future projects.

List of Endangered Exotic Woods

Here are some endangered exotic woods to avoid:

  • Brazilwood: Endangered but not close to extinction.
  • Ebony: Listed as endangered, with restrictions in some regions.
  • Mahogany: Surprisingly, some types are considered endangered.
  • Merbau: Categorized as vulnerable.
  • Monkey Puzzle: Severely endangered.
  • Parana Pine: Critically endangered.
  • Rosewood: Classified as endangered in some types.
  • Sapele: Considered vulnerable.
  • Teak: Includes endangered varieties like Burmese Teak.
  • Wenge: Popular yet endangered.
Summary of Woods to Avoid
Type Reason Examples
Toxic Irritation, health risks Bosse, Cedar, Cocobolo
Poisonous Direct toxicity Laburnum, Milky Mangrove, Poison Walnut
Endangered Conservation concerns Brazilwood, Ebony, Teak

Which Is Better Band Saw or Scroll Saw? Choose Wisely.

Complement the information with the following instructional video: