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Lord Farquhar
22-06-04, 09:01 AM
I have a quick question yew is from the Taxus family (Taxus plicata) so its toxic I have not used any yet and i am a bit worried about the dust. I need to saw and sand obviously but I donít want to end up sick or dead

Cheers

Tantalus
22-06-04, 09:12 AM
dont think you need to worry too much about it to be honest

keep dust to a minimum and ya will be fine

wear a dust mask if ya are really concerned

it has recently been used in cancer cures so ya never know it may even have its benefits

oh and alcohol is poisonous too :alcoholic :smashfrea

Tant

MushiSushi
22-06-04, 09:39 AM
a mild irritant to skin and respiratory ... Iroko is the same and I have routed many an iroko worktop without any ill effects.

people tend to exagerate their fears when they don't look at them too closely

mr doyle
22-06-04, 09:05 PM
its the berries that are toxic not the wood...

narsil
22-06-04, 09:23 PM
Its not a bad idea to take precautions like a dust mask if your working with anything which generates dust even if it isn't toxic in itself. A lot of the exotic hardwoods used in kinives generate toxic dust but they still get used so as long as you are sensible there should be no problem. There was a discussion about the use of yew and its hazards over on BCUK a little while ago, I think the consencus was that it isnt that much of a problem as long as you dont start chewing it.

Tvividr
22-06-04, 11:12 PM
It's not only the berries that are toxic. The stuff in yew that was used for making cancer medicine is taxin (as in Taxus baccata, the latin name), which is also poisonous and is in both berries, needles, wood and sap. Today they have found a way to create the stuff chemically, and do not have to get it directly from the yew tree. I use a lot of yew every year for making longbows, and in my old and small workshop (2x3 meters) where I didn't have anything to suck the dust away (and had a bad habit of not bothering with a dustmask no matter what I ground or sanded :yikes: . Yes I know: very very stupid :banghead: ) I got trouble with breathing and pain in my chest. The day after was always worse than the actual day I was working in yew dust (when I say dust, I really mean a lot of dust as in heavy snowing !). According to a toxic diagram that I have, the toxin in yew is an irritant to your skin and the respiratory system. In larger doses it will also do harm to your heart - what a large dose is I don't know, but I do know that the pain in the chest was (is) not a funny experience. I have never had any skin irritation with yew.
Nowadays I have a larger workshop, use a dustcollecting system and always wear a dust mask, but I still get slight respiratory problems and if I am working yew for a whole day (involving lots of sanding etc) I also still get a pain in my chest. For this reason I am cutting down on making bows of yew (although boxwood, lemonwood etc are almost just as bad).
Remember though, that I was using a lot of the stuff and part of the process involved lots of grinding which created lots of dust. That said, I don't think that just sawing a small piece and sanding a knifehandle would give you the same problems that I have had.

MushiSushi
23-06-04, 09:45 AM
Sounds to me like you have sensitized yourself to the dust, Gerd. I think most people will be fine working small quantities of yew and if in doubt wear a mask and if using machinery, use extraction.

All hardwood dusts are now classified as Carcinogens
Although yew is classified as a soft wood

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wis1.pdf
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wis30.pdf

Tvividr
23-06-04, 11:17 PM
Sounds to me like you have sensitized yourself to the dust, Gerd. I think most people will be fine working small quantities of yew and if in doubt wear a mask and if using machinery, use extraction.
Yep I think so too :( . And yes, small quantities of yew shouldn't give any problems to most people.