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post #1 of 33 Old 05-18-2020, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Question getting started no masks!

Hi, I'm really interested in starting woodworking but it seems that's not so easy to do in the era of coronavirus. I can't get a proper respirator mask anywhere. Do you all have any recommendations about what I might do to get started? Is it enough to just wear a normal relatively tight-fitting mask or bandana and open the garage door or do I have to wait until this is all over?
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post #2 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 05:26 AM
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Are you worried about getting COVID-19 from your wood?
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post #3 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 06:12 AM
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I only use a respirator type mask when spraying harmful chemicals. Use whatever available when making large amounts of dust. Most of the time in woodworking a mask is not required.


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post #4 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 06:23 AM
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There was a cluster of nasal and throat cancels around High Wycombe many years ago.
The area was the centre of furniture manufacture in the UK.
The cause was inhalation of wood dust.
I always work on the open air. Indoors. would use a mask. Lots of home made ones on Utube. Visors easily made from 2 ltr water bottles. Also on Utube.
No one worried about asbestos dust in the old time.

https://api.parliament.uk/historic-h...d-nasal-cancer

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post #5 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 07:27 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Steve! Add your location to your profile so it shows in the side panel.

I wear an N95 mask when I use the table saw or sanding something without DC but long before the virus I bought a box of N95 masks. Seems to me that any sort of face mask would be better than none to keep the fine dust particles out of your lungs, even if it's just a bandana. If you have the option to open the garage door and place a fan blowing across your work such that the dust goes out then I would definitely do that. Otherwise the fine dust particles just float around waiting for you to breathe them in - not good.

We do like photos so show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready. What sort of woodworking are you planning or doing?

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post #6 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 08:15 AM
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Steve - check your local auto body supply places.
if you want just a dust mask (face cover) you can make your own.
there are new infomercials now on TV for about $5 each (yeah, EACH).
learn how to sew - it is no longer a girly thing.
(yes, I have my own sewing machines) one for fabric - one for leather.
looking forward to seeing some of your projects.
welcome to the forum !!

.

I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things.

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post #7 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 02:30 PM
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If your main concern is dust inhalation, you can minimize it by using a bandana folded in half with a coffee filter in between the folds. That trick is also a very effective hack for coronavirus filtering, as long as you get a good seal around your face. If you can't buy em, you just gotta make em!

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
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post #8 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 03:00 PM
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Under normal conditions, a bandana should work fine. I always kept my shop pretty spotless, not just for health, but I dont like a mess. Dust is never good for tools either. Everyday you finish up working in the shop, either use an air jet with your air compressor or a cheap leaf blower and blow down the shop. Only takes a few minutes and everything stays pretty clean. The next morning you might have a very, very thin layer of dust settle in some areas, but not much.

This pretty much dust free environment also allowed me to spray lacquer in a moments notice.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #9 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 03:36 PM
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I wear a dust mask whenever I use power tools or do hand sanding, even though I work outdoors.

-> I am especially careful to wear a dust mask when I am cleaning up, which stirs up the most sawdust from any of my activities, and those are the finest, worst particles of all.

I have used several kinds of dust mask, but settled on an RZMask for comfort. Filters for RZMasks are sold out, and I wonder when I will be able to order them again. For woodworking, a filter is supposed to last 60 hours. (They must be assuming that you never sneeze or have a runny nose in one, eeew!) I have a couple extra filters on hand, but if I run out, I will make them myself with whatever appropriate materials are on hand.

I wish I had known more about the dangers of sawdust back in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, ...

Come to think of it, I wish I had known more about the dangers of excessive noise back in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, ... too.
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post #10 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 03:51 PM
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Mask is a Good Idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehaggardy View Post
Hi, I'm really interested in starting woodworking but it seems that's not so easy to do in the era of coronavirus. I can't get a proper respirator mask anywhere. Do you all have any recommendations about what I might do to get started? Is it enough to just wear a normal relatively tight-fitting mask or bandana and open the garage door or do I have to wait until this is all over?
Hi Steve,
Welcome. I'm new to woodworking also.

At first, I didn't think a mask was important but then as I started to clean up my shop, my non-woodworking equipment had wood dust all over it. I had to cover all of my equipment after cleaning it and then began wearing a mask because if my equipment was getting wood dust all over it then my lungs were also breathing it in. Keep in mind that substrates like plywood and MDF use glues that are best suited for corpses. So if you are using any composite or man-made material its probably a good thing to know what you are working with or check the MSDS sheet.
- denis
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post #11 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 04:08 PM
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I've never worn a mask in the shop. It has been a problem for some and not a problem for others.
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post #12 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 04:38 PM
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Unhappy Which machines make the most dust?

I've never worn a mask in the shop that I can recall. However, I do have 2 Jet 1100 dust collectors and hoses to reach all the big dust makers, the table saw, the planers and jointer and especially the drum sanders! For the hand held ROS sanders I use a Rigid shop vac and lightweight hose to the dust ports and that works just fine. I also have one connected to my 12" RAS and to my 14" bandsaws and believe it or not they generate a lot of fine dust! I also have an over head air filtration unit, also a Jet and turn that on when I think it's needed. I can't stand wearing a mask, but I will when it's required outside in public or in facilities when required these days per the Covid 19 rules.


Before I could afford all the big dust collectors, I used a typical 3 speed 20" box fan with a furnace filter taped on the intake side like most beginning woodworkers. I recall seeing the Asians wearing masks long before the Pandemic and wondered why? Were they right all along or did they know about the virus back years ago? OR I think the air quality is so bad in some Chinese cities, a mask just makes sense. Having a slight upper frequency hearing loss, I was reading lips to fully understand some folks, but now I can't do that since social distancing requires you not be within 6 ft, so SHOUTING is what needs to happen. Then I find out that loud talking expells spit droplets up to 8 ft, so SHOUTING must be far worse. You just can't win.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #13 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 04:50 PM
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Interesting topic since just yesterday I had to spray several shelves for a customer. I needed an air line filter for my spray gun and while I was out I thought someone had stolen my respirator from my truck so I placed a bid on ebay so I wouldn't have to spray without a mask. It turns out the mask was on the kitchen cabinet the whole time. Duh..Now I have two masks which is ok actually since I'm not the only one here who sprays.
By the way, the filters worked just fine. I had to shop around going to several paint stores that don't sell them and ended finding them for cheap at no other than at Harbor Freight. Go figure, huh?
I don't use a mask for anything else in the shop unless I'm cutting a lot of treated lumber which I do from time to time and then it's either just a cloth mask or a cheap paper mask. Sometimes when I'm cutting a lot of Western red cedar I'll wear a mask since it'll produce a real fine dust sometimes.

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 05-19-2020 at 04:53 PM.
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post #14 of 33 Old 05-19-2020, 06:36 PM
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Man, some of yall dont realize that aerosolized wood dust is considered a carcinogen, huh? Dunno bout you, but getting cancer isnt on my list of hobbies, and i intend to keep breathing well, well into my old age. Wearing a dust mask in the shop whenever youre working with power tools or anything that produces dust is just smart. Sure, not important if all you work with is hand planes and chisels, but if you run a table saw, power sander or the like? Yeah, throw a mask on to keep from breathing it in, your lungs will thank you, as the link posted by johnep and many other studies besides will prove.

Topic at hand though, a bandanna or similar tied over your face will keep you from breathing most of the dust in, better than nothing. Ideally youd be wearing a particle mask rated for n95 or higher, but, well, yeah. For the bandanna, or anything really, its important to get a good, solid seal around your nose and mouth. You cant just wrap it bandit style and expect it to filter anything

Another solution is making your own mask, if youve got a 3d printer and some silicone molding experience. If not, i cant do much other than put a suggestive arrow pointing to my signature line and whistle innocently
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post #15 of 33 Old 05-20-2020, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
I recall seeing the Asians wearing masks long before the Pandemic and wondered why? Were they right all along or did they know about the virus back years ago? OR I think the air quality is so bad in some Chinese cities, a mask just makes sense.
I think you may have hit on something a tad sensitive about the Asian people in that they're well acquainted with death and sorrow going back centuries. The Chinese especially have endured way more sorrow that any nation I can think of from foreign invasions to plagues and viruses to their own governmental purges. When we were kids the Chinese were murdering off millions with forced starvation and political executions and reeducation camps. Say nothing of the authoratarian regime and extreme censorship of press. No small wonder they wear masks when told and are often forced to live in abject squallor in extremely crowded cities and factory floors. Heck, it was reported that the Foxtcon factories had to put up netting just to keep workers from jumping out windows and killing themselves just to make us fancy little electronic gadgets. And that doesn't even begin to bring up the one child policies that utterly destroyed millions of families and most of their society cohesion. We see a rosey picture painted of a society making huge strides in economic development, but it says very little to nothing about the extreme sacrifice forced on a billion people..
Personally I feel a great deal of pity for millions upon millions of Chinese citizens and nothing but contempt for their government.
Meanwhile here in this country we act put out if we're asked to save our own skins from death, economic ruin and destruction. Amazing isn't it?
As for my own lungs it's probably already too late for a lot of the damage I've already inflicted on my own body working in paint shops with minimal protection. I had to quit one job after waking up numb from both knees down to my toes and from my elbows down, but I was dumb enough back then to go right back in the same business in even worse conditions. A little bit of wood dust seems a bit like mild nothing in comparison after all these years, but I'll still wear some protection to keep breathing as long as I can. I have my doubts my legs will still work in another 5 years. They're already giving out just walking around the back yard.

All that said if you're just getting started in woodworking you need to be aware of the many dangers you can face in woodworking from breathing in dangerous particals to chemicals to just chopping off your fingers and other body parts. There's over 450 table saw accidents every day in the US alone. I've already had my finger bitten by the blade a few times. I consider myself extremely lucky to still have my fingers. The last bite took my finger nail clean off and a fair chunk of my finger tip. I don't want to discourage anyone, but you ain't gonna live accident free forever if you don't pay close attention to what you're doing. Table saw accidents don't particularly feel really good.

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 05-20-2020 at 12:57 AM.
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post #16 of 33 Old 05-20-2020, 01:09 AM
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I just reread my own words and realized how silly it sounds. I think I'm going to stop kicking up any kind of dust without a mask on. I know I've already done more damage to my own body than it should have ever been exposed to, but now my son works in the shop with me and I don't want to see him in the same shape I find myself in. I've already reached the point where I often need his help just lifting heavy lumber or even not so heavy stuff. The last thing I want to see is my 38 year old son prematurely aging before my eyes working with wood.

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #17 of 33 Old 05-20-2020, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebelwork View Post
I've never worn a mask in the shop. It has been a problem for some and not a problem for others.
For the sake of your future, I strongly suggest you rethink this.

I personally know one man whose retirement has been ruined by chronic lung disease. He had a commercial cabinet shop he told me they used a lot of MDF. Even with industrial grade dust collection.

Sanding is probably the most dangerous task in the shop. Even using a premium grade sander and dust extractor I still wear a mask.

I like the bandana/coffee filter hack!!
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post #18 of 33 Old 05-21-2020, 08:14 PM
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OSHA did some research awhile ago and found that the worst sawdust pollution was n home shops, not commercial ones. I keep a box of HF's blue masks that I just put on whenever I go into my shop. I have a pretty good DC unit with Super Dust Dempty and 1 micron filter on a HF DC unit. The DC sits in a separate chamber next to my shop and the clean, filtered air recirculates back into the shop through one more 20x20 filter.

Still, when I do cutting, sanding or other sawdust producing task, I wear a small ventilator mask I got from Rockler (pix), which is now available from Woodcraft online. It uses four AA cells and runs for a couple of hour per set of rechargeables I always keep fully charged.

I am a throat cancer survivor and have had some lung problems recently, including what we feared might be lung cancer, but was not. I think it is a very bad idea to NOT have good dust collection in a shop. HF has a DC unit that isn't bad for as low as $170 each when on sale with a 20% off coupon. It has a bag filter, which is OK if it is placed outside and you have a Super Dust Deputy on a drum to separate out most of the sawdust so it doesn't just block your filter. But add a Wynn drum filter (or any other 1 micron drum filter) and you have drastically increased your safety level.

Attached is a picture of my DC setup in that chamber, built between the shop shed and my office shed. You can see the return air filter toward the rear of the right hand wall. It is fairly well sealed to keep AC/heated air in the shop. I actually have a second shop area in my garage for wood prep. Bandsaw, Jointer and Planer and the track saw. So I have a second DC unit there with only the cloth filter, but the DC rolls outside for use. The low price of the HF unit allowed me to do this without busting the budget.

For sawdust suspended in the air, WEN makes a nice filter you hang from the rafters of your shop. It has a remote and lets you set the air flow level and how long you want it to run when you leave your shop. Hang it where it can set up a circular air flow. It has exactly the same stats and uses the same filters as the Jet, which is much more expensive. I found one on sale at WalMart for $99. Picked it up at the local store. That one goes in the garage.

For the original poster, you might find the attached pdf on the 18 things that helped accellerate my learning curve. It is long, but has pictures and might same someone a few bucks by avoiding some of the expensive lessons I learned. I also included a picture of my shop shed with the DC chamber on the left. The little yellow thing is a filter for my first (lousy) home brew DC setup.
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Last edited by DesertRatTom; 05-21-2020 at 08:16 PM.
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post #19 of 33 Old 05-21-2020, 08:25 PM
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I say, Mask, Mask, Mask . . . I have to save my active medical concern for my liver! Not enuf time for my lungs, so I use a mask for the majority of operations in the shop.

"Bartender! . . . Dring me another Brink!"
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post #20 of 33 Old 05-21-2020, 09:08 PM
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You do not need a mask to do woodworking...Did you grandpa have one??
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