Understanding the dangers, short-term and long-term from dust in a wood shop is important to know why and what type of dust collection system is needed in your shop.
Wood dust becomes a potential health problem when wood particles from processes such as sanding and cutting become airborne. Breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms, mucous and non-allergic respiratory symptoms, and cancer. The extent of these hazards and the associated wood types have not been clearly established.
Wood dust is produced when timber is being worked such as in chipping, sawing, turning, drilling and sanding. Sanding is by far the most dangerous as the particles are so fine that a lot of masks do not entirely filter the particles, and, as a result, pass into our nasal cavities, sinuses and lungs.
Innumerable people have asked over the years why continue to provide the research, time and money needed to keep up these Cyclone and Dust Collection Research web pages. The answer is simple. I don’t want to see other small shop users blindsided.
For years I never concerned myself with the hazards of breathing wood dust. In fact it was almost like sucking sawdust was a right of passage in to woodworking. Eighteen years ago, “Fine Woodworking” had an article about building a dust collection system for the small shop.
Designing an effective dust collection system takes planning and a little know-how. In this article, we'll introduce the most important considerations in designing a dust control strategy that really works, and we'll offer some advice on picking out the dust collection equipment that's best for your shop.
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