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As with all activities involving the use of potentially hazardous tools and materials, there are dangers inherent in the using of those tools and materials if certain guidelines are not adhered to.As with all activities involving the use of potentially hazardous tools and materials, there are dangers inherent in the using of those tools and materials if certain guidelines are not adhered to.
(We give our grateful thanks to Ted Higgs of the Chelmsford Marquetry Group for his permission in allowing us to
reproduce his article on the subject on this web site)

This information is advisory only and not intended to apply to specific products where the user should observe the makers instructions. Each person using hazardous materials, tools or equipment has a duty of care to themselves and to others. Seek professional advice if you are unsure on any procedure, especially medical matters.


Dust is the principal risk in veneers. Keep sanding dust in the air to a minimum and wear a dust mask if a great deal of sanding is to be carried out.

Splinters can be occasionally troublesome, as they produce an ‘unclean wound’ - remove any splinter as soon as possible and treat the wound with antiseptic.

Irritant - as with any natural product, some people may be sensitive to veneer species, glues and polishes. Barrier creams may ruin your work with greasy marks.

Most information in this field refers to timber, not veneers, but the most likely irritants are:

Satinwoods Rosewoods
Itoko Mansonia
Afrormosia Teak
Ebony Wenge
Laurel Mahoganies


These are manufactured for veneering work and should be safe if used in accordance with their instructions and for this purpose. Take care not to apply too much pressure on any bladed tool, in case the blade should break. Broken blades should be carefully wrapped before disposal. Remember that many of the blades used are scalpel blades designed to cut flesh!!!!!!! Keep stray fingers out of the way.


As all chemical materials are potentially dangerous, we draw your attention to the following to help you prevent potential dangers becoming real accidents.

Polishing materials are intended for the decoration and protection of interior surfaces, to be applied by rag, rubber, brush or roller. Suitability for other uses and applications should be referred to the manufacturer.

A wide variety of products can be obtained from many different manufacturers. All of these products have been labelled by the manufacturers with the specific points relevant to that product. We cannot stress too strongly that it is vital you read these labels, the information below and act on these instructions and/or warnings. They are safe and without risk to health when properly used and in accordance with the information below.


2. Fire Risk

Fire is a real hazard when storing, handling and using chemical products. Do NOT smoke where chemicals are stored, handled or used. All storage areas should have ready access to fire fighting facilities, preferably kept externally. Exclude all sources of ignition including unprotected electrical equipment. Ventilate well.

Great care is required as rags, pads, wire wool, and so on, which have been contaminated by chemicals while polishing - especially wax - can spontaneously combust. It is important that such materials are safely disposed of, as with other waste materials immediately after use.

If a fire occurs, evacuate all persons and then call the fire service. There is a risk of dense black smoke containing harmful products of combustion being produced. Do not attempt to fight the fire yourself unless you can do so without personal risk or inhaling toxic fumes. Use foam, dry powder or carbon-dioxide extinguisher if possible or cover with non-combustible material such as sand or earth. Cool containers exposed to fire with water spray, but do not use water on the fire.

3. Toxicity

a) Inhalation

Avoid inhalation of dust powder or vapours. Use all products in well ventilated areas and use extraction methods where possible. Wear dust masks and ensure dust levels in the air are as low as possible. As chemical vapours can be anaesthetic as well as toxic, it is not advised to operate machinery while such vapours are in the air.

b) Skin Contact

Chemicals should never be allowed to get into the eyes, and contact with the skin should be avoided.

Wear eye shields, PVC gloves and PVC apron for best protection. These should then not be used for any other purpose.

If contact occurs, irrigate affected area copiously with clean water. If contact with the eye has occurred medical attention should be sought immediately.

If any symptoms occur, e.g. skin irritation - which may have been caused or exacerbated by handling chemicals, seek medical attention.

c) Ingestion

Chemicals should not be ingested. Therefore, do not store, prepare or consume food, or smoke in areas where chemicals are used or stored.

4. Good Housekeeping

Store all chemicals in well ventilated areas, which should be cool and dry. Keep away from sources of ignition. Keep containers closed and out of direct sunlight.



Neither the The Marquetry Society, Chelmsford Marquetry Group nor Ted Higgs accepts any liability whatsoever arising out of the use of this information or the use, application, adaptation or processing of the products or techniques described herein or on this web site.

Thanks once again, to Ted Higgs for his kind permission in allowing us to reproduce his extremely informative health and safety article.

Health and safety is a very important aspect of all forms of human activity - and Ted is a very informed fellow on the subject having been employed professionally in this field. Therefore, any advice on health and safety offered by Ted should be read and understood by everyone participating in marquetry whether they be professionals, or like the most of us, enthusiastic hobbyists.

Above all things, be aware of the dangers and be alert in avoiding any potential hazards.

Concerning Health & Safety matters, you may be interested in reading an actual story of the hazards emanating from the finishing processes associated with exotic hardwoods. To read the story click this following link: "A salutary Health & Safety tale"