By all means, I encourage people to read Bill's writings. But don't believe that everything on those web pages applies to everyone. Make sure that you read the pages that describe how sick Bill really is. Please make a note that there is no direct correlation between Bill's current condition and woodworking. Just because he did woodworking for years, does not mean that his condition was caused be woodworking. Bill describes replacing his carpet with tile inside his house to get rid of the particles that were causing him problems (http://billpentz.com/woodworking/cyc...ir_cleaner.cfm
. By the way, I really like the air cleaner he has on the page. I will eventually build one for my shop.)
Don't get me wrong, I am NOT belittling Bill's condition. It is a serious condition for Bill. It is very similar to people that are allergic to dogs and cats. My wife can not be around cats or dogs for more than a couple of minutes before her breathing is affected. I am fine with cats and dogs. Some people have bad reactions to bee stings, or wasps, or eating gluten. It doesn't mean everyone has a problem with gluten or wasps or bees.
Yes, Bill has a severe condition that is exasperated by woodworking dust as well as many other sources of dust particles, including his family, friends, pets and carpet.
Should every woodworker take precautions to prevent respiratory problems in the future? Yes! Here are some options to consider:
1. Use hand tools that don't generate particles that contaminate the air and your respiratory track.
2. Collect the particles as close to the source as you can get with the proper filtration equipment.
3. Wear a mask that blocks the particles from entering your respiratory track.
4. Work in an area that is well ventilated by mother nature (wind or breeze) or artificially with air filtration units.
5. Monitor the particle count using a Dylos particle counter or some other type of particle counter.
6. Pay attention to your body. Some saw dust will produce an allergic reaction through the skin. Brazillian walnut and some cedars makes my skin itch. So, I wear a long sleeve shirt and a dust mask when I work with these woods.
Above all, remember that woodworking can be a very safe and satisfying hobby when you make it so. Woodworking is only as safe as YOU make it.
I belong to a Guild of Woodworkers that has over 600 members. Part of belonging to the guild gets me access to member's workshops. Over the last year, I have visited over 12 different woodworking shops, including the Guilds shop itself. Only one of those shops had the table saw anti-kick back safety feature on the tables saws! Over half of the saws were SawStop brand saws! What is the number one emergency room visit caused by a table saw? Here is a hint: it is NOT cut off fingers!!! It is kick back!!!
Don't get me wrong, Saw Stop makes a very nice table saw. But what I don't understand is why a Saw Stop table saw owner would remove the safety feature that will prevent the number one table saw injury from happening. When I asked each owner, why the anti-kick back paws were not installed, I got all kinds of "excuses" from: "the paws mark the wood" to "what are anti-kick back paws?".
In my shop, the only time the anti-kick back paws are NOT installed is when I am doing non-through cuts like dados and grooves. Why risk getting injured by removing a great safety feature?
Work safe and enjoy woodworking!