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is iroko safe for a bowl

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dennis wake17/07/2010 23:16:05
2044 forum posts
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hi All
  i seem to be in the right place at the right time at the moment. i have just been given a block of iroko at 13x13x3". all i need to know is iroko safe for use as a fruit bowl.

it is a nice bit of wood that i would like to make somthing worthy of its quality.
Sparky18/07/2010 19:26:52
7631 forum posts
22 photos
Hi Dennis
You certainly are lucky, thats a great piece of wood.
The following chart appeared in _American Woodturner_ June 1990,

Originally posted to rec.woodworking by Bruce Taylor

Wood Reaction Site Potency Source Incidence
---- -------- ---- ------- ------ ---------
Bald Cypress S R + D R
Balsam Fir S E,S + LB C
Beech S,C E,S,R ++ LB,D C
Birch S R ++ W,D C
Black Locust I,N E,S +++ LB C
Blackwood S E,S ++ W,D C
Boxwood S E,S ++ W,D C
Cashew S E,S + W,D R
Cocobolo I,S E,S,R +++ W,D C
Dahoma I E,S ++ W,D C
Ebony I,S E,S ++ W,D C
Elm I E,S + D R
Goncalo Alves S E,S ++ W,D R
Greenheart S E,S +++ W,D C
Hemlock C R ? D U
Iroko I,S,P E,S,R +++ W,D C
Mahogany S,P S,R + D U
Mansonia I,S E,S +++ W,D C
N + D
Maple (Spalted) S,P R +++ D C
Mimosa N ? LB U
Myrtle S R ++ LB,D C
Oak S E,S ++ LB,D R
C ? D U
Obeche I,S E,S,R +++ W,D C
Oleander DT N,C ++++ D,W,LB C
Olivewood I,S E,S,R +++ W,D C
Opepe S R + D R
Padauk S E,S,R + W,D R
Pau Ferro S E,S + W,D R
Peroba Rosa I R,N ++ W,D U
Purpleheart N ++ W,D C
Quebracho I R,N ++ LB,D C
C ? D U
Redwood S,P E,S,R ++ D R
C ? D U
Rosewoods I,S E,S,R ++++ W,D U
Satinwood I E,S,R +++ W,D C
Sassafras S R + D C
C ? D U
Sequoia I R + D R
Snakewood I R ++ W,D R
Spruce S R + W,D R
Walnut, Black S E,S ++ W,D C
Wenge S E,S,R + W,D C
Willow S R,N + D,W,LB U
West. Red Cedar S R +++ D,LB C
Teak S,P E,S,R ++ D C
Yew I E,S ++ D C
DT N,C ++++ W,D C
Zebrawood S E,S ++ W,D
I - irritant. S - skin. D - dust. R - rare.
S - sensitizer. E - eyes. LB - leaves,bark. C - common.
C - nasopharyngeal.R - respiratory.W - wood. U - uncommon.
P - pheumonitis, C - cardiac.
DT - direct toxin.
N - nausea, malaise.
1. _Woods Toxic to Man_, author unknown
2. Woods, B., Calnan, C.D., "Toxic Woods." _Br.
Journal of Dermatology_ 1976
3. _ILO Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety_ 1983
4. Lame, K., McAnn, M., _AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious
Plants_, AMA 1985
5. _Poisondex_, Micromedix Inc. 1990

Iroko: irritant/respiratory, eye & skin/extreme/dust, wood/common

Edited By sparky on 18/07/2010 19:45:37

Sparky18/07/2010 19:54:35
7631 forum posts
22 photos

Iroko is a hardwood from tropical Africa. It is one of the woods sometimes referred to as African Teak, although it is not always suitable as a substitute for teak. Color is initially yellow but darkens to a richer brown over time.

It is yielded mostly (probably) by Milicia excelsa. In much of the literature on this timber the names of the trees that yields it are given as Chlorophora excelsa and Chlorophora regia.

The wood is used for a variety of purposes including boat-building, domestic flooring and furniture. From the late ?90s, it was used as part of the txalaparta, a Basque musical instrument constructed of wooden boards, due to its lively sound.

It is a very durable wood; Iroko does not require regular treatment with oil or varnish when used outdoors. Although it is almost as durable as teak it does not have the same stability.

Although many Iroko suppliers state that their wood comes from sustainable sources, this is not necessarily the case.

In the UK there are trade restrictions on the machining of this timber as the dust is known to be calcinogenic.
Another site to read up on ►►► here ◄◄◄
Cant find anything to say no but wear a mask at all times mate, safety sake and use a food safe oil which would help

Matthew Platt18/07/2010 22:59:50
347 forum posts
9 photos
I've heard of some people having nasty reactions to Iroko. It seems to be that people can work with it for years and then they suddenly develop an allergic reaction to it - blotches, swellings and flu like symptoms. Once they've had the reaction they can't go near it or the symptoms return.
For food use I'd go with sycamore (maple) as it has natural antibacterial properties.
On the bright side that lump would make a lovely solid base for a bird table.
Ron Davis19/07/2010 16:51:49
1619 forum posts
201 photos
Dennis, you will need to keep your tools sharp, it is worse than english oak for taking the edge off. I have used several pieces in the past and I some in the shed now. I finish mine with Danish oil. It does darken, one small piece I made nearly twenty years ago is now a rich brown,
Toothy19/07/2010 17:54:48
458 forum posts
67 photos
Hi Dennis
I have turned Iroko (so far no reactions) to form the base for a standard lamp. Its weight makes it a very good base.
I would suggest NOT using it for food though.
Ralph Harvey19/07/2010 23:47:12
3274 forum posts
315 photos
2 articles
Thats a very usefull chart Marc, i think i will print it off and keep it.
As to the use of Iroka i have made fruit bowls out of it but always recomend washing the fruit before you eat it ! after all it is not a plate you eat from ?
It is a very nasty timber to turn even if you dont get any reaction from it imediatelly, use a well ventelated area and wear a mask, it is awfull on the lungs.... as Ron says it will take the edge off your tools quickly rough out what you can with an old tool and finish with a decent tool.
Sparky20/07/2010 04:33:04
7631 forum posts
22 photos
No problem mate, hope it helps
dennis wake20/07/2010 06:35:32
2044 forum posts
1451 photos
1 articles
hi All
  thank you all for the advice i will make shure that i use a mask when turning this. i think the wood is to good not to turn as a bowl. i will post photos of the finished bowl in time. i am thinking of finishing it with the plastic coat mix and use my new tools to see how they fer up to the job.
dennis wake21/07/2010 06:23:57
2044 forum posts
1451 photos
1 articles
hi All
   as i told you above i will be turning a bowl out of the iroko and finishing it with Rustins plastic coating. has any one used this finish befor if so were you happy with it and how did you aply it.

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