The Banksia Nut is the fruit of - surprise, surprise, the Banksia tree, named after the pioneering naturalist - Banks. After the tree
has seeded the empty pods are collected from the forest floor, under licence, in its native south-west Australia. What arrives here is a dried fruit ready to be turned into works of art to amaze and delight your
friends and family.
However it is a material that hides an aggressive nature, against which you need to take precautions. Firstly, the holes in the Banksia are where the seeds reside: whilst in a perfect world
all of these would have fallen to earth, the reality is that the orifices can still contain a seed whioch can be propelled out at devastating speed when you start the lathe. Hence both eye and face protection is
ESSENTIAL. Do not even start the lathe experimentally without
taking this precaution. Furthermore the ends of the fruit are furnished with a lovely velvety down: BEWARE
- some people find that they are highly allergic to the irritating hairs divested by these velvety portions of the fruit. Hence it is also strongly advised to wear hand protection and to ensure that the arms are covered too - likewise the face, though the facemask should be taking care of that. Finally, those same velvet hairs can irritate the respiratory tract so you need to wear respiratory protection too.
You have been warned.
Having said all that are they worth the
risk? For most of us, a resounding "yes". Many of us are not affected by the hairs, and common sense - eye sense - avoids the projectile seeds risk. But please don't risk getting caught out. Take
the precautions outlined.