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.
Aside from the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, Queenwood has not been reported to cause any health problems, however, other species within the Swartzia genus have been reported to cause skin and respiratory irritation. As always, caution is essential until you are certain you are not sensitive to Queenwood.
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 significant difficulties while working with Queenwood.
My Personal Experiences:
I only had the one piece of Queenwood so my experience is limited. I found that Queenwood cut cleanly and easily, required only light sanding, and took a very nice finish. My piece does have some significant inclusions, especially in the bottom of the bowl that broke out and left holes. I know that for some wood turners this would mean certain ruin but I don’t mind so much since I simply worked with the wood I had and I accept it for what it is flaws and all.
I am pretty well neutral about Queenwood in that it didn’t strike me particularly one way or the other. It is a fine wood but given the difficulty in sourcing it I find it unlikely that I will work with it again.
All cuts were made using the Easy Wood Tool system on my Robust American Beauty lathe. Forward chucking was in a Nova Chuck, while reverse chucking was done using a Nova Chuck with Cole Jaws. Sanding was with Gold and Green Wave sanding discs from Packard Woodworks. Final finish is Shellawax.
As always, I wish all my readers a great experience in whatever your wood working interests happen to be and to those who like working with lathes especially, do a good turn today!