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Jason Glover

Chopsticks

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I searched the site, and maybe nobody has ever discussed this...maybe because it is just too easy of a project...but my wife asked me for a pair of chopsticks. She's never said "make this for me", so I want to oblige. 

 

I have some scrap cocobolo, with some great swirls and i think it will look great. it's also a heavy, hard wood, and should have a nice hand-feel. 

 

My question is really about safety, since the cocobolo has (i've read) urushiol in it. As i read it, it seems the issue would be with inhaling the fine dust with this skin irritant in it, into the lungs. Does anyone think that turning cocobolo into chopsticks, finishing with salad bowl finish, would present any irritation risks to the end-user? 

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It would be such a trace amount...I'd be more concerned about the MSG you'll be consuming with the chopsticks than the chopsticks themselves.  Unless you're a hard-core organic foodie, go for it.  We're already saturated with nasty toxic chemicals just drinking tap water, breathing the polluted air and eating the antibiotic-laden crap from the grocery store...what's a little urushiol on top of it? :)

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Look up Japanese Laquerware on Wiki and if indicates that once fully hardened the U is no longer poisonous. You might try researching how to harden the native laquer containing the U.

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By the way urushiol inhalation would cause systemic anaphylactic reactions for many that range far beyond mild skin irritation. My father is one.

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