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We wrote the book "HARDWOOD FLOORS" and the two accompanying video tapes/DVDs (“Laying Hardwood Floors”) & (“Sanding and Finishing Hardwood Floors”) published by "Taunton Press and Fine Homebuilding Magazine" perceived by many throughout the wood flooring industry as the definitive text for the last 20 years on the installation, sanding and finishing of wood flooring. The book HARDWOOD FLOORS can be found in nearly all public libraries throughout North America. It can be purchased directly from us, or through the publisher, Taunton Press/Fine Homebuilding Magazine, or from any of the various wood flooring associations, or at book resellers including those online BUY IT NOW on  www.amazon.com.


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BUY my book today Hardwood Floors by Don Bollinger

We wrote the book "HARDWOOD FLOORS" and the two accompanying video tapes/DVDs (“Laying Hardwood Floors”) & (“Sanding and Finishing Hardwood Floors”) published by "Taunton Press and Fine Homebuilding Magazine" perceived by many throughout the wood flooring industry as the definitive text for the last 20 years on the installation, sanding and finishing of wood flooring. The book HARDWOOD FLOORS can be found in nearly all public libraries throughout North America. It can be purchased directly from us, or through the publisher, Taunton Press/Fine Homebuilding Magazine, or from any of the various wood flooring associations, or at book resellers including those online such as 
BUY IT NOW on  www.amazon.com.

Wood Flooring and Associated Products Wholesale Supplier to the Trade/Retail to Do-It-Yourselfers.

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We're a manufacturer/distributor for all manner of wood flooring types and sizes including Custom Designs and Custom Milled Products. 
All products associated with wood flooring trade from stair parts to trim, inlays, medallions to floor and wall vents, fillers, finishes, abrasives,.
Complete installation tools and supplies as well as everything to sand, scrape, stain, seal, fill, finish or refinish including abrasives, masking tools and supplies, safety tools, supplies, equipment and maintenance tools, supplies and equipment.

Advice, opinion and topical commentary
from an industry expert

Sanding Bamboo and Working with Other Potentially Toxic Compounds in Our Industry

(October 2007)

It's always disturbing to hear about anyone in our trade getting ill or having health-related issues from working with or around the different wood species, mastics, coatings and other stuff with potential nasties in them that those of us in the trade have to endure on a daily basis. I'm a tenacious advocate for full disclosure by the manufacturers on all known and/or potentially hazardous compounds in ANY AND ALL PRODUCTS produced for and sold to us. Like many others in our trade, I’ve sanded up loads of asbestos and lead over the years (before we knew enough to know what we know), to say nothing of all the resins and toxins found in the different wood dusts in the site finished, prefinished and unfinished flooring products.

Take whatever precautions you can in whatever way you can whenever you can is excellent advice and information we should all take to heart. I know from personal experience that just when you think others are the only ones affected, not you -- watch out! I've worked with and around a lot of different woods over the years, including many exotic species. Rosewoods (by the way, they don't always have that in their name) I've been told by allergists, seem to be potentially some of the worst species for causing allergic reactions with humans. Some folks can reach a toxic shock level with only one good exposure.

I was working on a project a couple years ago with a wood species I had never heard of (but then what's new about that these days) when I suddenly and without warning began experiencing chest pains. They were getting worse by the minute and I started thinking I was on the verge of having a heart attack. I went outside for fresh air, but the pains continued, at least they stopped getting worse once I’d been outside for awhile. We were conducting an advanced school for highly skilled wood floor mechanics, so at least I didn’t have to worry about the job getting done. There were lots of us there.

While I was trying to recuperate outside, several of the other guys working inside began getting ill. It became apparent that the wood species we were installing could be the problem. The homeowner had supplied the wood and said he had never worked with it previously. The others were not experiencing chest pains like me, but were having troubles breathing. Even the dog on the job got sick and threw up. 

We moved all the cutting work outside and everybody but me took turns rotating back and forth inside the structure to finish the install. I remained outside for several hours until I stopped getting chest pains, then went back to my motel room to rest while the other finished the installation. Thank goodness, that species only represented a small portion of the overall work. But given what we were experiencing just doing the install, we worried how bad it might be with the sanding work. We knew for sure it would require a dustless system and even so, the mechanics would need to don full face respirators and wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. 

When I was in Southeast Asia some time ago working as a consultant for a start-up bamboo flooring manufacturer, I had the opportunity to speak and work with a number of "regional experts" in the bamboo (not flooring) industry from several of the educational institutions over there. Since our knowledge base in this part of the world is severely limited on bamboo, I found some of the things I learned to be quite extraordinary.

One of those things is that growing bamboo will help clarify the soil. It seems the use of bamboo plants together with other things such as ponds and certain types of fishes were integral to each of the multitudes of ecosystems there. Basically, each farm, regardless of how tiny, is more or less its own unique ecosystem. The local experts were quite emphatic that growing bamboo somehow pulls the toxins out of the soil (even some heavy metals) making it “better” for growing food for human consumption. When asked where the toxins go? They would always say, “the bamboo”.

So now, when asked to sand or finish bamboo, I always remember what I was told by the “bamboo experts” in Southeast Asia. Hmmmmm? When you couple that with the potentially uncured isocyanates present in the finish of so many prefinished wood flooring products, I’m truly glad we’ve come so far with dustless sanding systems. Now if we can improve on our saws and cutting tools dustless systems…

Don 
Don Bollinger
don@woodfloorco.com
Wood Floor Products, Inc.

If you want more information on these products, please contact me directly or Wood Floor Products, Inc. (206) 622-6996 (7-4:30 PST) (Monday – Friday) 

© The above material is intended for the exclusive use of visitors to http://www.woodfloorco.com and http://wwwtheoakfloors.com and clients of Don Bollinger, Wood Floor Products, Inc. and The Oak Floors of Greenbank, Inc. The copying, transmission, distribution, use, retransmission, redistribution or reuse of all or a portion of the above material without the expressed written permission of Don Bollinger, Wood Floor Products, Inc. and The Oak Floors of Greenbank, Inc., is expressly prohibited.

 

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