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  1. #1
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    Default Which Australian timber for toy making?

    Hi all,

    Apologies for a noob question, but I'm struggling to find a clear guide anywhere.
    I am planning on starting making toys and can't find much information about this topic. The questions are

    - Which Australian timber species are suitable for toy making, assuming that every toy will eventually end up in the kids mouth. Allergen information is also something I can't find info about for Australian species
    - Where to get them?

    Thank you for all your help in advance

    - Markus

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  3. #2
    crowie's Avatar
    crowie is offline Life's Good, Enjoy each new day & try to encourage
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    G’day Markus,
    I use any of the Australian hardwoods and some soft woods I can scrounge.
    In my experience the hardwoods machine better than soft woods.
    I like to use a mixture of timbers with different grains and colours to create interest.
    So all that said sir, the choice is yours either on appearance or how much you want to spend, though I prefer recycling as the old timber is nearly always got more figure & character.
    Cheers crowie

    PS - Were do you live please, as if you’re close you’re welcome to visit and chat.

  4. #3
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    Hi Crowie,
    thank you for replying. I've seen a few of your posts and admired them and your work.

    I live in Plainland. If you are close, would be lovely to catch up. Pm me if you are close by 😊

    Timber wise, my biggest concern is safety, and while I like to recycle, I'm worried about putting old flooring in to a babies teether. I need to better understand the qualities of Australian timber.

    Cheers, Markus

  5. #4
    crowie's Avatar
    crowie is offline Life's Good, Enjoy each new day & try to encourage
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    G'Day Markus,
    You're half way between Ipswich and Toowoomba while I'm on the Lower Blue Mountains; so while I'm Queensland born & breed, a bit far for morning tea & chat .

    Saying that, please don't hesitate to drop me a note either "pm" or email and I'll help as I can.

    I love seeing people making toys out of beautiful timber as they are a gift that'll last years .

    On the "baby teethers" I've used "Rock Maple" which is what my daughter & I found from research was the main timber used in commercial products as teethers finished with Raw Natural Coconut Oil.

    On the recycling, I run all the old timber through my thicknesser to clean it up taking it back to a DAR Finish.

    I hope that's of some help, Cheers, Peter

  6. #5
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    No need to appologise for a NOOB question, we ALL started out as NOOBS.
    It would help us to help you if you could change your location to Plainland, Brisbane or wherever it might be, please??
    I found this under Toxicity of Wood. The way it reads, just about everyone of them is Toxic, in some way or another.
    Wood Allergies and Toxicity | The Wood Database
    HTH
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  7. #6
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    I have been asking this question but for woods in contact with food. The problem is that all the lists I have seen are toxicity when working with the wood. There does not seem to be a list for food contact or in the hands of children who will chew on it.
    The simple answer is unless you are making a scale model for display stick with woods that kitchen utemsils are made of.

  8. #7
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    The answer to this OPs question (oral toxicity of Aussie timber) is that no one knows because the research simply has not been done. The Chart provided by Kryn lists some Aussie timbers, but in most cases of Aussie timber all they can comment on is the handling toxicity. The chart also has some noticeable gaps, one being Cooktown iron wood, the leaves of which contain 1080 making it one of Australia's most poisonous plants, but an adult human would need to eat more than 200 toothpicks worth of the timber to be affected.

    Given that all wood is by nature antibiotic - its primary mechanism of survival against other living things, a safe assumption is that eating any timber will make you sick. provided you eat enough of it. Same as, drink enough water and it will kill you. The last part "provided you eat enough of it" is the critical thing. On Kryn's list there are only 4 trees listed as directly "Toxic" (one of them is Oleander which I don't consider as a wood working tree to begin with) but there is no indication of how much wood you need to eat to make you ill.

    This antibiotic capability turns out to be both bad and good. It means that, if kept clean and dry, most raw wood will not allow normally allow bugs and stuff to grow on it so health risks from another bugs are reduced. It also means that timbers that are less antibiotic may turn out to be worse for you because they let more bugs grow on them than timber that is more antibiotic. On this basis, surfaces that can start out biologically clean (eg plastic) could in the long term be more dangerous health wise than timber.

    So swings and roundabouts on that one.
    No one has done much research on this and there is even LESS research done on most specific Aussie trees.
    Even less is known about specific allergies to Australian timbers because this is highly specific to individuals.
    Around 10% of all people appear to have some sort of timber allergy but once again, as well as the type of tree, it depends on exposure. Some folks may have a strong allergic reaction but it needs high levels of exposure to trigger, and vice versa and any other combo that can be thought of.

    Given that babies and kids have been chewing at Aussie timber cot railings and rungs for centuries, if there were any significant issues we should know about it. Far more dangerous were the leaded paints used on these cots and the lack of basic hygiene was by far an even bigger factor.

    Frankly, unless a timber is known to be directly toxic I don't think it matters what is used. In terms of an over all risk I'd say kids and parents have far more significant things to worry about.

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