Per an earlier post, you know I had an allergic reaction to an unknown wood, the first time in 5 years when I had a nasty reaction to Lacewood that took 2 visits to the doc and a good 3 weeks to kick. I simply cannot work with any of the Australian silky oaks, and there are some gorgeous woods in that group.
Having just started my prednisone regimen, I mulled doing something that needed to be done, and figured if ever there were a time 'tis now. 5 years ago when I had my Lacewood reaction, I was making a flute, and had taken it down to it's hexagonal stage and dropped in all the playing holes...it is an awesome playing flute, and ever since that attack it has sat in various boxes and drawers and been nothing more than a conversation piece. I sealed it with a coat of finish to coat the surface and lock down any leftover dust, so it couldn't bother me.
Yesterday afternoon, I put on an old jumpsuit I used to restore my '57 Cadillac many moons ago (when I also fit in it more comfortably!)...I wore nitrile gloves, earmuffs, respirator....I put a big box fan 2 feet to my left, at chest height where I was working with the sanders, immediately blowing the dust away from me into the great outdoors....and turned that hexagon into a finished flute. Well, it only has Danish wood oil on it, but ready for finish and a block that will NOT be made of Lacewood!
I worked fast and furious to get it done in one fell swoop, and ran into several equipment issues that I had to solve immediately and/or work around. After putting on the oil I immediately went inside, threw my clothes in the washer and started it, and jumped in the shower to scrub down. Surely that would stop any potential problems from what I affectionately call (NOT!) Devilwood instead of Lacewood.
To hell with 'surely'. Up at 4a this morning with whelps on my neck, arm, and even more swollen eyes, even after taking every precaution I could except not wearing my ski mask because I couldn't find it. Ice packs have helped, and took a load of Benadryl to tide me over until my 9a prednisone load. This, too, shall pass, I know. Just not quickly enough for my satisfaction.
And now I'm left with a really really big dilemma....soon I'll have this excellent flute all finished. Bills are omnipresent. Do I sell it? Do I hang on to it for the gazillion stories and experiences it holds? I would love to do the latter, but if the right parent came along I'd have to let it go...and I can GUARANTEE that THAT flute will be the ONLY Ugly Boy made of Lacewood!
As Mark Twain stated (incompletely), the only two sure things in life are death and taxes. He needed to add "and one solitary Ugly Boy Flute made from Lacewood." Should have pics of the beast later today or Thursday. Depends on when my eyes open enough so I can compose through the viewfinder...!
Oh, and FYI, once the flute is finished it is inert and can't bother me or anyone...it's only the dust (and I'll guess the raw wood itself) that causes such reactions. I do know I'll be christening the flute with its first public appearance at the end of this month when I give a performance/talk in Tryon.