Toxic wood dust and small particle dust in your lungs, piles of unsafe sawdust at your feet, and dust on your work product. There are a lot of reason to want to keep dust out of your shop.
Even woodworkers are tuning in to better health. This must be the reason dust collectors , air purifiers and wet / dry vacs have become the latest topic of conversation. There are all sorts of different studies that show that wood dust is harmful, especially over long periods of time, and even mover harmful to those who already have respiratory problems.
Minimizing dust at the first point, its source, is the preferable and most logical means of control, as this prevents the dust from being distributed around the shop in the first place. This is most effectively accomplished by using a good dust collection system. A dust collector, which is essentially a specialized vacuum cleaner of sorts, draws dust away from its source in woodworking machinery.
In many shops, "dust collection" means breaking out a broom and dust pan at the end of the day. Too many woodworkers spend years climbing over wood shavings or standing on a slippery carpet of sawdust while they push the last couple of boards through their table saw. It's easy to put off clearing away a hazardous mess when you're busy working.
The issue seems obvious at first glance, does it not? Who among us would deny the idea that breathing wood dust is a health hazard? Still, I feel many woodworkers pay lip service to the issue only paying closer attention to it when it's convenient while ignoring it when it's not.
A dust collector is a good investment, but I would pretty much reserve it for stationary power tools. I don’t think woodworking dust control is a good option for the powered hand tools. I guess you could do it, but it think it would be a big pain in the butt. By the time you reduce the diameter down to a hand tool size, the suction wouldn’t be very good and the 4″ hose would be quite annoying in which to work.
Dust Collection Research
These Cyclone and Dust Collection Research web pages share how to provide good traditional dust collection and more importantly, how to provide good fine dust collection. These pages share the considerable risks from fine invisible dust particles. They share how to upgrade your existing dust collector, cyclone, ducting and shop vacuums for better fine dust collection. They share how to inexpensively test your dust collection airflow, filtering and air quality. They share plans to build my dust collection solutions that protect my family and me. These easy solutions let you get good fine dust collection without having to master the complex air engineering science that air engineering firms who guarantee customer air quality use to provide good fine dust collection.
Wood Dust Safety
I remember several years ago, while working on a project, I needed to cut a 4×4 using a 8" miter saw. (This required me to cut the 4×4 halfway through and then flip it over and finish the cut.) Unfortunately, because of the small diameter and poor dust collection capabilities of the saw, this caused sawdust to be sprayed directly at me during the cut. Because I had a pretty bad cold at the time, I think I coughed or did some other involuntary reflex and inhaled deeply during one of the cuts, and got an absolute mouth-full/lung-full of dust. My throat swelled up and for a split second I worried that something may be wrong. “Should I go to the emergency room?” I thought. Fortunately, the swelling quickly subsided, but there was still some inflammation in my throat for almost a week afterward.
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