When I scratch myself while working, the worst part of the whole process is waiting for the blood to stop flowing so I can get back to work. We are serious about workshop wound care (see our latest title on the topic). And I’m always looking for anything to give me an edge when I do something stupid with an edge.
Bloc Osma is a product used for stopping cuts and scratches while shaving. It’s a small astringent brick of alum. When you nick yourself, clean the wound. Run the block under a little cold water. Then apply it to the wound. It will sting. But that will subside quickly.
I have found it stops the bleeding from minor cuts almost instantly. Then I apply a bandage and get back to work.
If you’d like to experiment with the stuff, which has been used for centuries, try out a small block of it. It is available from many retailers for less than $10.
— Christopher Schwarz
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8 thoughts on “2022 Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 8: Bloc Osma”
Many drugstores still stock this in the traditional form of “styptic pencils”, though you may need help spotting it on the shelf.
You can also find alum as “crystal deodorant” which actually works pretty well. I find that the alum blocks and crystal deodorant last a bit longer, while the styptic pencils crumble apart quickly if they get wet.
Before I switched from a safety to an electric razor (for a panoply of reasons), a stick of alum was always part and parcel of my shaving kit; it does indeed sting like the dickens, not least on the face, but also does its job very effectively and rather more neatly than that other old shaving nick stand-by of sticking a small piece of toilet paper to the wound …
You forgot to mention that it’s Dr. Jeffy approved.
Recently found a product called “BLEED STOP”. FDA cleared, works even on people using blood thinners, used by hospitals and first responders. I had sliced the palm of my hand, managed to slow but not stop the bleeding. While browsing the local drug store I ran across this product. It comes as a powder you apply to the wound and then compress it for a time. It worked well for my wound and was later told by a doctor that this was a viable option to stop or slow bleeding.However a wound of that severity should be followed up with an urgent care visit.
Thanks Chris. I have typically applied liquid bandage to small nicks and cuts. It stings as well. Sometimes the nicks bleed a bit too much for the liquid bandage and you end up with a gooey mess and then I have to impatiently apply compression with a paper towel and wait when I’d rather be woodworking. Will get some of this stuff. Options good. Wood on blood bad.
We used to use Alum solution in the bladder all the time for hemorrhagic cystitis after radiation treatment. It definitely creates a thick tenacious clot (not great when in the bladder but good for skin). I had no idea you could get the stuff in a solid block form. Very cool. We use a lot of hemostatic agents, including powders, foams, patches, cloth and glues in surgery. Arista is a powdered potato starch (a common example). “Bleed Stop” appears to be a modified amylopectin powder. The full strength stuff is apparently available as a prescription and they have an over the counter form. I’m not sure what FDA “cleared” means in this context. May refer to the prescription strength form. At any rate, pressure and time usually is all that’s needed if acute medical attention isn’t required. However, for folks on anticoagulants especially this stuff might be excellent. Thanks!
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