In my Tips column I’ve previously written about my struggles with allergies and some of the ways I cope with them.
The last time I made a significant project out of cedar, a hope chest for our eldest granddaughter, I developed a cough that lingered for months. Repeatedly, I went to my ear-nose-throat doctor, trying different medications. I don’t think any of them made a difference; I believe it finally just went away. We never identified a cause.
At that time I had an overhead room filter, and power tools connected to individual shop vacuums, but no other form of dust management. Some of the time I wore a surgical mask when I sanded, but I was quite lax about the dangers of dust.
After the cough, however, I changed my ways.
I broke down and purchased a Oneida cyclone capable of collecting several machines at once via whole-shop ducting. I bought the Elipse P100 Dust Mask and I wear it most of the time and all of the time that I’m creating fine dust.
Recently I’ve been thinking of my best friend from my Air Force days, Ken Shellberg. A native Ohioan, Ken taught microwave communications electronics with me at Keesler Air Force Base in the 70s. Music was hugely important to both of us and we took full advantage of the deep discounts afforded us in military stores, stocking up on electronics and speakers.
After our service, Ken went back to Ohio and began building his own speakers, mostly from prefinished, veneered particle board. Before long he had developed allergies to ingredients in the particle board and had to quit woodworking altogether.
Lately, I’ve been working on a round cedar picnic table with curved benches for our two youngest grandchildren.
And, the cough is back.
Well, of course, there is no way to know if it’s the same cough, because we never identified the cause for the previous cough, but it’s suspicious. I couldn’t help wondering whether, like Ken, I might have to give up woodworking. Giving up cedar would be bad enough, as it’s one of my favorite woods. Of course, if I sold all of my woodworking equipment, I could afford to get the transom fixed on my bass boat.