Any real CA stories?

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WriteON

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Aug 21, 2013
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Boynton Beach ,Fl. - BlueBell, Pa.
Was applying StarBond thin to a finished blank. Next thing I know my finger is burning and the paper towel is stuck to my finger. I now have no fingerprint and a white finger tip. Any real stories out there?
 
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jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
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NJ, USA.
Oh I think anyone who has used CA glue has stuck a finger or two. I know I have. I have this habbit of wanting to throw one last coat on a pen before I go to bed so usually go down to the shop and think I can just bam wipe it on and be done. I usually have my blue strips ready for use and my finger cot for applying but I think forget the finger protector and just apply to towel and do a quick swipe. That is when I either spill some or add too much to the strip and it gets on the fingers and or hands and do not want to stop wiping so it is usually too late to remove. Next day picking off the fingers. Happened more than once and you would think I would learn after the first time.
 

jrista

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Aug 12, 2021
Messages
417
Location
Colorado
Here's a CA story for you. It's a doozy...

I started turning wood in March 2020. I bought my first lathe in early February, but it took a while to get all the tools, a grinder, etc. before I could actually turn. This was DEAD in the middle of the lockdowns (anyone remember: Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve!?), and it was pretty much impossible to get ahold of any kind of respirator. I started out with those darn blue cloth medical masks, then eventually managed to pick up a dual ported N95 mask late May 2020. I was already having problems, and I thought that it was mostly just a severe allergy season, as I've had hayfeaver my whole life and always had a tough time with my nose. I knew wood dust was not good for me, and it wasn't long before I'd set up a Fein vac with a vortex bucket system and a bunch of 2.5" tubing to collect as much dust as I could.

It was late June 2020, that I was really having some problems. I'd go out into the shop, mask cranked as tight as I could get it along my face, vac going strong, pretty sure that I was managing the dust as well as I could. Yet I was still having problems. They were getting more and more severe, and by mid July 2020, I was afraid to even go out in the workshop. I think the last thing I turned was around then July, a Rainbow Cottonwood bowl that I turned some grooves into for some turquoise inlays. I never actually did the inlays, though... The wood had started to crack, and I was having such a hard time, I just left it. That was the last piece, and by that point in time, I was in rather dire straits.

The thing was, my issues never stopped once I reduced and eventually stopped my turning entirely... My entire nasal cavity and sinuses were wildly inflamed, my whole head was "on lockdown" and I couldn't get any air through my nasal passage. I'd also been developing more and more severe breathing issues, my throat would constrict and I'd wheeze. I'd always had some wheezing problems when I was younger, and always had allergies, and I'd thought that the past spring had been a particularly bad allergy season, which combined with the earlier exposures to wood dust, had just "messed me up." I thought the issue was wood dust, so I thought that voiding the dust for a while would help me get back to normal.

Well...the rest of July...then August...and nothing was getting better. In fact, I'd had an "episode" that seemed to kick me even deeper into this, at this point near-deadly state I then found myself in. I couldn't breath, couldn't swallow, throat was swollen, constricted, not only was I wheezing, but since late July my lungs were experiencing a fiery itch that wouldn't go away! This was a point now, where I was really wondering how I could continue going on, if I could continue living like that...in that state, I wasn't suicidal, but I really wondered how much longer I could last, sanity wise, in that state...I couldn't breath, never ever slept (and I already had sleeping problems before hand), and nothing really seemed to help, or if it did, it did not last for long and then I sunk right back to rock bottom.

I'd been to the local Urgent Care center twice by the time August rolled around, the second time they nebulized me and put me on a bunch of drugs, Prednisone, an albuterol inhailer, etc. Things got a little better until that "episode", at which point I had to go back, they nebulized me again, and I started seeing an allergist. The allergist said I was probably the first TRULY LEGIT case of allergies he'd seen that year, and that he new within the first couple words I spoke that I was in dire need of some assistance. They tested me for allergies...off the chart for tree, grass and weed pollens, as well as severe reactions to other things. The tree pollen was NO SURPRISE. Horse hair, however...I'm never around horses, so to find out I was rather allergic to horsehair was odd. I was put on a combination of Nasacort and dexamethasone....and wow, that stuff, along with some more Prednisone was GOOD! First time in months, and my sinuses opened up and I was able to breath.

I stayed out of the shop still. I was basically afraid of wood dust at that point, and now that I was finally breathing again, I didn't want to go screwing things up by accidentally exposing myself to wood dust. This was despite having been able to purchase a proper half-face respirator with the magenta and mustard filters (which I still use today...vastly superior!), I still didn't want to go out into the shop. It was around the second week of September, that I went out and was checking things out that I decided to try and fill in the inlay channels of that last bowl I'd worked. So I brought it inside into my craft room, opened the window, turned on a fan, and started to use CA glue to seal the turquoise inlace "stone" inlay material. I was wearing my respirator, I'd pretty much gotten into the habit of wearing it whenever I might be anywhere close to anything toxic or allergenic, even just your run of the mill household dust, at that point. I guess I spent around an hour filling in the channels, I think there were three of them, one in an overhanging rim was about half an inch wide, and maybe 1/8th inch deep. So, it took a lot of CA to fill that sucker in.

Once the channels were finally filled in and the CA had set enough for me to leave the bowl, I set it down, turned off the fan, and started to leave the room. I pulled off the respirator about half way across the room, before I actually left it... Nothing happened right away....it wasn't until around 2 something in the morning, that a very familiar, and depressing, state settled in... I couldn't breathe through my nose. Complete lockdown. My eyes were itching and watering like crazy. My LUNGS...were on an itch fire even worse than I'd experienced before. Now, I had been put on the albuterol inhailer by the urgent care center, and when I realized what was happening to me I used that immediately. That helped to resolve the constricting of my airway and wheezing...but I was still in really bad shape. My lungs still itched, although not quite with the fire they originally had.

It was just a bit before 5am, that I got up to look at my eyes in the mirror, because they still itched and hurt...that I saw my face. It was a balloon!! I'd never seen a face puffed up like that before...but it was completely inflamed, round, it looked like a balloon! I was completely baffled at first....wondering what the heck could have caused this. I'd been avoiding wood dust for weeks, I hadn't had any exposure....then it hit me: CA GLUE!! I suddenly realized...my problem wasn't wood dust. It probably never had been. My problem was CA glue! The episode in August...my brother, who lives with me, had used some CA glue on a piece of wood, and I'd been exposed to the fumes...and I had this exact same kind of reaction. And earlier in the year...all the times I had worse symptoms? I'd used CA glue to fill in the cracks in the woods I was turning! I hadn't thought about it at first, but, as a beginner I didn't know how to properly cut the wood, and never quite had truly sharp tools until CBN wheels came into the picture, and we often turned greener woods which dried out quickly in the very arid environment of Colorado... So, we used CA glue a LOT to seal cracks. I then remembered that I'd basically coated an entire 6x3 walnut bowl in CA glue to try and help deal with the tearout that was occurring, due to my poorly sharpened tools and lack of technique. THAT bowl, that was the bowl that really sent me out of control and into the severe, probably anaphylactic state I was in throughout the rest of the summer.

With that realization, I was pretty confident I'd figured out what was wrong. I decided to try and more thoroughly protect myself, and picked up a Sundstrom full-head positive air pressure respirator with some organic vapor and volatiles filters. That thing cost me $1300, but it was actually worth it...the positive airflow really changed things, made it so much easier to breath while turning, didn't require the heavy breathing that the half-face 3M respirator with the magenta/mustard filters did. The filters were also at my back, waist level, and my head was effectively sealed in, with this nice, clean airflow blowing over my face. So, I eased back into turning (and this was when I really started to get into pens). Sadly, that didn't last too long, as my original lathe, a Nova Comet 14DR (a new lathe that first hit the market late 2019), died on me. Actually, my brother had had some control box problems in August and got a replacement control box, but the problems that started then were apparently progressively getting worse and worse, and by the time I finally started turning again, the motor was having some problems maintaining RPM. By the end of September, the motor couldn't maintain RPM at all, and could hardly handle a load.

The lathe became a serious ordeal. Nova's (Teknatool's) strategy for "resolving" the issue was to send us one control box after another, which had no instructions, and required me to manually map out the wiring from the previous so I could make sure I hooked each replacement up properly. When they sent me a forth one I got rather irate, and demanded they do something other than send me control boxes. So, they shipped the whole lathe back to them (that was round the end of October at that point), and I didn't see it again until January (completely rebuilt...and with a brand new, very loud, very disconcerting grinding/scraping sound coming from the headstock...at which point I was done done with the Nova.)

In the time where I had no lathe, both my brother and I worked on some of the bowls and blanks we had either started to turn or planned to turn. At one point, I walked into the house, smelled CA glue, and instantly recoiled. It was too late, though...I'd been exposed, and within about 4 hours or so, I started to have a reaction... An all too familiar reaction at that point. Itchy lungs, inflamed sinuses, wheezing. Thankfully, I realized what I was smelling, and managed to get away from the source, and the reaction that time was not deathly-severe. It took over a week to recover, but I managed to recover with the albuterol in-hailer, Nasacort, and some antihistamines I'd been prescribed.

From that point on, I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt...I had a deadly-severe allergy, or perhaps its better to call it a toxic reaction, to CA glue. I've worked very hard to protect myself since then, and have largely been successful. There have been occasions when encountered CA, and I've had to repeatedly make it clear to the people in my life that I cannot be exposed to CA glue fumes of any kind, but IN PARTICULAR StickFast (which seems to cause the most severe reactions with me) and maybe StarBond. By religiously wearing a respirator of some kind whenever I am out in the shop, and largely eliminating CA usage except in cases where it is literally the only option (i.e. I finish my pens with Doctor's Wooodshop Walnut Oil and Pens Plus, rather than CA, unless CA is the only way to finish it properly...and even then, right now, I'm using Mercury flex rather than StickFast; I also use CA to seal fine checks or cracks in wood blanks, but only do so either with copious amounts of airflow and ventilation, or outside).

This time last year, well Black Friday, I purchased a Laguna Revo 1524, as I wasn't sure if I was ever going to see the Nova again (I have been permanently soured on Nova given the quality of their service...and they were incommunicado for an extended period of time.) After ordering the Laguna, I actually didn't receive any shipping notifications, and for a short while no one could even find my order, and when I called around, eventually calling Laguna, I kept getting told that there wouldn't be any more Lagunas until May of this year (2021)! I ended up ordering a $500 Wen 1420 lathe, which shipped out right away and arrived within about a week. Ironically, a couple days after ordering the Wen, I managed to get ahold of someone at the company I ordered the Laguna from, they found the order (apparently it had fallen through the cracks), and managed to get that shipped out as well. By January 2020, I was up and turning again, and was the proud owner of two new, black lathes! So I got back into it... I've been turning ever since, although I'll say this...last year really took a toll on me. The length and severity of what I went through...and not knowing the actual cause of the problem, and thus being incapable of properly protecting myself until rather late in the year...seems to have left an indelible "mark." I was out in the shop almost every day from March through...some time in July. Since getting back into turning January this year, I only seem to have the energy to get out there a couple times a week...the weekend, and maybe another day during the week. Its been a sad realization that, I simply don't have what I used to have back at the beginning of 2020. FWIW, I'm in my early 40s...so, not particularly old, but not really young. In the last year and a half, though, I feel like I've raced into my 50s or so.

I did have a reaction recently, due to my brother filling in some rather large cracks with copious amounts of CA, then leaving the blank in the workshop and not letting me know about it. I walked out there to do something, had already cleared the air with the air filter and had no intention of turning anything, so I didn't wear a respirator. I then smelled it, StickFast....and knew that I was in for it. And I was...that was about a month ago, and I'm still in the process of recovering. Was very stupid of me to go out into the workshop without a respirator, but I've also not been clear enough about the dangers to my family members. Hard lesson I guess, and I've made a point about making sure everyone fully understands...I CANNOT, on risk of potential DEATH, be exposed to that stuff. I think the understanding is clear now, and any future CA usage will be done outside and left outside, well away from the workshop!

I never thought, back in February 2020, that I was starting such a horrible, sickly, and nearly deadly journey when I started turning wood. I also never realized JUST how much I would absolutely LOVE turning wood, or pens in particular... As it turns out, I like it so much, I guess I basically take a risk every time I go out into the workshop. I'd been largely episode-free for, well the majority of this year so far, and I guess I slacked off on my vigilance and paid for it. I've largely gotten into a routine, though, that keeps me clean and fairly safe...always wear a respirator, never take the respirator off until my hands and face are clean, and I'm certain I'm in a CA-fume-free area, clean the respirators thoroughly before putting them back on, and make sure I take a shower and clean my clothes after each session in the shop. Its tedious, and annoying....but....I really love turning! I'm not willing to give it up. Ironically, I'm turning the penmaking into a business, just bought a bandsaw, and am hoping to turn more of my turning exploits into business ventures in the future...

So there you go. My CA glue story. Every time I read something that says CA glue is safe, I get a scowl on my face and start fuming in my head... There IS a subset of the population that has extremely severe reactions to CA. There is really not enough information out there about it, nor anything about just how severe those reactions can get. I've read numerous posts on both the IAP forums, as well as the AAW forums, about people describing their breathing struggles after using CA glue...and I've been surprised at just how many people will chime in saying "Me too!" I've heard its "only" 5% of the population...I don't know if its just that much, or a greater percentage...but, given my own experiences, I think more people need to know just how dangerous CA glue fumes can potentially be. Hence, my story.
 

1080Wayne

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Feb 5, 2006
Messages
3,098
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Brownfield, Alberta, Canada.
That is indeed a doozy ! Please dispose of all of it tomorrow . Cracks can be filled by casting . Epoxies and other glues will work , although not as fast or aesthetically pleasing . And some things may not be doable , even though we love doing them . I would appreciate the opportunity to be able to read more of your well written , intelligent posts .
 

greenacres2

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May 2, 2017
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Northwest IN
My first Kallenshaan blank assembly—Concentric Hearts. In basement, door to kitchen was closed, wife left for several hours. Assembled pieces, wrapped the rubber bands, no gaps, looking good so far. Flooded blank with CA thin, felt thumb and 2 fingers of left hand sticking, grabbed blank with right hand (instinct move) to pull it free. Sweaty hands were a great accelerator, both hands firmly glued to a Sierra blank. Phone in jeans pocket, no way to get it out. Couldn’t open door at top of stairs, had consumed a gallon of coffee before starting—or so it felt! Left a bit of skin attached when I discovered my right fingers had enough strength to pull the skin off. Debonder spill cauterized that easy enough as I removed the other fingers.

I love Ken’s blanks—but always make sure I’m not alone for the glue-up!!
Earl
 

MRDucks2

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Jul 17, 2017
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Washington, IN
Mine best one was pre-pen in my small shop at our last house North of Houston (Magnolia area). Went to repair something from the house using a Super Wood Bonding CA, forget which. Shop had a small AC in the window but around Houston you stay a bit “wet” 6-8 months of the year if you are outside from the heat and humidity.

Made the repair, right proud, and felt a burning sensation on belly. Didn’t suspect fire ants in the shop, looked down and I had wiped the CA off my fingers onto the thin T-shirt I was wearing.

I pulled the T-shirt away and realized it was attached at the 1/4” x 1” wet spot that still getting hotter so I yanked the shirt away from my skin, skin still attached. Took a picture of the missing patch of skin and sent to my grandkids as a warning to not play with super-glue.
 

egnald

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Jun 9, 2017
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928
Location
Columbus, Nebraska, USA
My 24 year old son learned his lesson, don't shake a bottle of CA (especially when the top is off). Fortunately I always have acetone and sometimes MEK on hand for those de-bonding emergencies. Of course I have glued blanks and sticks and an assortment of other items to my fingers, but a short soak in acetone or a well saturated acetone rag has always gotten me out of a jam whiteout too much damage (except for my pride of course). - Dave
 

wouldentu2?

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Jan 27, 2011
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Oak Creek WI
Ten years ago I was also bothered by CA fumes I looked into different finishes with some success but was lucky to stumble onto BSI odorless CA and after 500 pens I have never had another problem.

Give it a try before you give up on CA.
 

jrista

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Aug 12, 2021
Messages
417
Location
Colorado
Ten years ago I was also bothered by CA fumes I looked into different finishes with some success but was lucky to stumble onto BSI odorless CA and after 500 pens I have never had another problem.

Give it a try before you give up on CA.

I've read about that. I should really get some and see. I use CA very, very sparingly...but, anything that might minimize the risk...
 
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