In every Industry there are a million and one safety concerns. This one included. We will try to touch on them as they get addressed, inquired about, or if there is something we just feel you should know before doing anything yourself.
PLEASE DON'T EAT OUR FURNITURE!
Re-Using Old and Reclaimed Wood
1. Lead Paint: Yes lead paint is very dangerous! Everyone should know that by now. There are certain finishes we put on any piece containing lead paint (if they are not completely stripped) that create a safety barrier. Most shabby, chippy antiques will have remnaints of these paints on them, even your home with old trim and banisters may likely have them. We encourage you to google the many different ways to urethane, and seal those paints, to keep the beauty and look of the old chippy feel.
Also, always always make sure you use the proper face masks and eye protection and work in well ventilated areas before dealing with these paints in any form.
2. Barn Board: Now people are always concerned about other woods and their properties, think about barn board and what its been around in the years. Likely exposed to lead paint, farming chemicals, not to mention animal urine, feces and illnesses. Most people in the manufacturing of decor and furnishing using reclaimed wood, are familiar with the processes behind sterilizing, cleaning and treating these woods to make them safe for re-use.
We encourage you to ask the manufacturers how they go about that before purchasing a product from them.
3. Pressure Treated Wood: Pressure treated wood does contain arsenic, yes. Can it be re-used for decor purposes? Yes. Should it be used for food preparation , to be safe, no. None of our pieces are intended for the preparation of foods as the moisture in foods can create methods of transporting chemicals. Again, never be afraid to ask how things were protected. We encourage you to read up on the matter before trying to re-use these forms of wood. It does contain 1/1000th times lower than the lethal dose of arsenic, however, if you are cutting or burning this wood, the reactions will produce dangerous gasses. There are penetrating oils and finishes made to coat this wood to keep its rustic look and make it safe for re-use. If there weren't, there wouldn't be any safe outdoor picnic tables, kids playsets or furniture. Again, we ask that you ask the manufacturer what special treatments they use on such wood. To be safe, please don't chew on or lick or suck on any decor pieces made from this wood. (yes we really just said that ha)
4 Rust. Well yes, rust is rust. It would be wise to not stick any rusty decor into your skin. Again, find translucent protective coatings to protect against any possible chipping and flaking if you plan on using rust in your home as accent pieces.
5 Melting Vinyl: I.E Records and plastics for functional art. There are a LOT of websites showing you ways to melt records and plastics using your oven. Please understand that not only do they release harmful gasses and vapours into the air, but also, the hot vinyl and plastics have oils that transfer onto any other pieces it touches in the cooling phases, and they should NEVER be used for wet foods. Unless again, there is a protective coating.
6 BED BUGS !!!!!!!!!!!! Google google goooooooooogle! Learn the signs! Learn how to avoid an infestation. Its as simple as your sleeve brushing against something that has eggs on it.
Learn what to look for. Outbreaks have been reported in retail stores ... clothing and furniture and is becoming more common in Canada as the re-use trends rise. Do not ever be afraid to ask the retailer how they examine articles before bringing them to their floor, and what sanitation methods they use on items before they are sold. One quick question is much nicer than months of treating your home for unwelcome critters!
If you have other areas you feel should be covered in our safety pages, please do not hesitate to drop us a line and we will get on posting and educating as quickly as possible!
SANITIZE, WEAR PROTECTION, LEARN YOUR CHEMICALS, VENTILATE, and EDUCATE yourself before undertaking any DIY job. Pretty please and thank you!
~ The Gypsies ~