I just came out of my dungeon covered in sawdust and I wondered, "Is this
Does anyone have a good reason why I should buy a shopvac?
"I love the smell of sawdust in the morning."
Tell you what: run "hazards of wood dust" through google. Then, just to make
you feel great, run COPD through right after it. Or do the COPD first.
Then go out and buy your shop vacuum. And a dust collector. And some masks and
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."
Dan Quayle, 11/30/88
I have only been practicing this hobby for 2 or 3 years. When
performing high-dust activities such as sanding or working on my
lathe, I would use one of those "bra" dust masks or wrap a bandana
over my nose and mouth. As an allergy sufferer I knew that I wanted
to get a dust collector or better mask, but just never got around to
Then one day I noticed I was a little short of breath after being down
in the workshop. This continued on and off over the next few weeks,
but not necessarily coinciding with visits to the shop. Went to see
my Allergist and ran through a battery of tests. Also ordered a GOOD
dust mask and started wearing it religiously.
The good news: Not my allergies or permanent lung damage. Not-so-good
news: Acid reflux causing a feeling of shortness of breath. Excellent
benefit: Because of my "scare", I now protect my lungs properly
whenever in the shop (or anywhere else where there is a dust hazard).
I have found my mask to be very comfortable. Just slight discomfort
when wearing it when temperature and humidity over 85 degrees/85%.
This discomfort is STILL less than the sneezing and nose blowing I
used to endure for (sometimes) hours after a session in the workshop.
Bottom line: Buy a good mask, or dust collector, or BOTH.
Yes, it is. You don't want to breathe in any more than you have to.
Sawdust is bad for your respiratory system. I have a large, spacious
shopspace and rarely get much dust in the air, but even so I keep a shop
vac around and religiously clean the shop every day when I'm done. I've
got a bushbroom that I use to collect a pile, I pick out any big woodchips
I may want for spacers, and then the shopvac inhales the rest. Only takes
about 2 minutes.
Little over a year ago, I went out and bought a "good" shopvac (ridgid
12 gallon or something), purchased a "good" filter for it (2 microns
or somesuch) for the TS, as it was generating way too much dust.
Dosen't work worth a fig. That is to say, with my open-back
contractor's type saw there's just too much open area and the poor
little vac can't keep up.
Ok, this brings up a good point. So I've read all the hazards of
dust. I've done the "brown snot for hours" thing. I've also read
that the nastiest dust is the tiniest. Soooo...other than for keeping
the shop clean (a worthy goal, admittedly) do the 30, 10, or even 5
micron filters/bags really do anything in the long run? I mean, if
they're letting those .5 micron particles out and they're the nasty
Then again, how _much_ wood dust is really sub .5 micron? How much is
sub 5 micron? I'd assume MDF generates finer dust than, say, pine,
but that's just an uneducated observation.
So I think I've got SWMBO convinced that we need a dust collector. A
good one. But I wince at spending $900 for a cyclone with .5 micron
filters - yet that seems to be the only way to "really" do it. (the
jet cannisters only go down to 2 micron...most bags are 5-30 micron)
Oh yeah, and I have a 3 year old, a 1.5 year old, and one-on-the-way
that tromp through the shop on a fairly regular basis. A mask would
be all fine-and-good for me, but I don't want _them_ sucking in the
stuff either! (no, they aren't in the shop when anything is on.
Heck, they aren't in the shop when anything is plugged in!)
Anyone with some links to the actual size of wood dust?
Irrelevant. The shop vacuum, no matter how great, cannot keep up with most saws
in full spate. And if the back's open, the problem is worse. Start by working
out a way to seal the back of your TS. Use cardboard to form templates that
allow the motor to tilt when needed. Then use 1/8" hardboard to form the final
job (or use sheet metal). You'll still have a slot or so, but you've reduced
losses by probably 90% if you've done a good job. Use a zero clearance insert
for further reduction. Use a fitting on the bottom to feed into the
vacuum...these can be duct taped in place, and most are designed to fit 4" DCs,
not vacuums, but will work with reducers.
That's about all you can do.
Get one of the hanging air filters.
Keep the kids out of the shop when it isn't clean. It is YOUR playpen, not
Gotta be one somewhere. I haven't seen it, though.
Percentages of different micron sizes might be helpful, but probably not. Just
filter as best you can, wear at least a dust mask, and be careful. It's a nasty
world out there when you can't get your breath.
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."
Dan Quayle, 11/30/88
yet that seems to be the only way to "really" do it. (the jet cannisters
only go down to 2 micron...most bags are 5-30 micron) ...
A long story short --- I had been plagued with a persistent cough for a long
time. I tried several medical approaches. Then it hit me. My basement shop
was full of wood dust, and an old waterlogged drywell would allow water into
the basement. I realized that I was being constantly exposed to mold.
I did two things: I installed a dust collection system, and, also as
importantly, an air cleaner. The air cleaner has a 1500 CFM squirrel cage
fan and four filter stages. I put on my respirator, blew out the shop with
compressed air, shot over pipes and exposed ducts, left the cloudy room for
about 20 minutes, and repeated this several times. My cough stopped soon
after that and has never returned. I've since gotten a second identical
Now, run the air cleaners any time a piece of machinery runs and I blow out
the shop at least once a month.
On Wed, 27 Aug 2003 01:52:40 GMT, e.ontiveros wrote:
Well I remember reading a few months ago that fine sawdust particles were
carcinogenic, but then I read several disputes afterward -- though by a
company/association that definitely had something at stake by that
assessment. So, take with a heavy grain of salt...
But other than worrying about cancer, lungs full of sawdust just don't work
too well! Also many people have allergic reaction to the sawdust of some
woods -- not just exotic species, either. The reaction can include skin
rashes, not unlike poison ivy, but can also cause shortness of breath,
wheezing, etc., much like emphysema.
And finally, watch out for open flames. If the sawdust mixes with air at
the right levels, it isn't just combustible, but can be downright
Remember safety isn't just for things with a power cord, sharp blade, or
lots of inertia. It also means your health in the long run.
It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have
learned English -- up to 50 words used in correct context -- no human being
Unfortunately, it's the dust that is so small that is virtually
invisible that is the most dangerous. As clean as you think your
keeping your shop with a shopvac, it's a very good possibility that
you're not doing much towards keeping the area healthy. Take a look
at Bill Pentz's website. He talks quite a bit about the health risks
and the level of attack needed to remove this small dust.
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