Burma Padauk

To the best of my knowledge, Burma Padauk is not subject to any additional special restrictions by any United States government agency.

I realize that inherent in working with wood is the killing of a part of the natural world that may be slow to return and if I become deeply concerned about this fact, I will have to find a new hobby.  I hope that such a time does not come to pass or at least not any time soon.  In part because I am concerned about legally and responsibly obtained wood, I am reluctant to buy from sellers outside of well-established and known vendors.  I am highly unlikely, for example, to purchase any wood from auction sites, such as Ebay, because of uncertain sourcing and documentation, as well as the potential, even likelihood, of material being misidentified in order to achieve a higher selling price.

However, due to the commercial scarcity of some woods, resorting to auction sites such as Ebay or Etsy may be the only way to obtain some desirable domestic, or in some cases exotic imported, species that are not routinely commercially harvested.  The potential risks of buying in these marketplaces have to be balanced against the desire to work with a specific species of wood.  That is inherently an individual decision.

I also realize that many, if not most, wood workers do not have endangered species lists memorized, therefore I think it worthwhile and important to do even a small amount of research before purchasing any lumber, domestic as well as imported, to be certain of the potential impact you are having, even in a small way, on threatened or endangered populations.  This information is easy to come by and takes only minutes to locate through any Internet search engine, including those you can access on your phone as you are standing in the lumber yard or store.  Unfortunately, you simply cannot count on a vendor to tell you a product they are selling is endangered.

Health Hazards

In addition to the usual hazards posed by wood dust, it is important to note that Burma Padauk has been reported to be a sensitizer.  The most common reactions are eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. As always, caution is essential until you are certain you are not sensitive to Burma Padauk.

It is important to remember that although many people may, or may not, be sensitive to any given wood, the only experience that truly counts is your own, so use reported side effects as guidance but not as a substitute for cautious and safe practices.

Appropriate protective equipment is therefore always recommended when working with this, or any other, wood, exotic or domestic, unless you have worked with the species before and are certain you are not sensitive to it.

Complete information about health hazards associated with a wide variety of exotic hardwoods is available from The Wood Database.  Additional information about how to best use a dust collection system and personal protective equipment, such as respirators, can also be found through this excellent and comprehensive resource.

Fortunately, I experienced no negative side effects when working with Burma Padauk.

My Personal Experiences                       

Working with the one piece of Burma Padauk that I owned was quite the adventure.  My first impression was the scent!  It was a delicious sweet and spicy scent that would have been at home in a bakery.  I also noticed that the wood was of a distinctly different color, being pinkish-brown instead of the bright orange-red of African Padauk.  The Burma Padauk is also notably more dense than the African variety to it cuts slower but also cleaner than the African variety.  The turning while the piece was on the face-plate was simple, but things got hairy when I reversed it to cut out the center.