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post #1 of 15 Old 01-20-2013, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Wood dust

I know the safety police dont make a cut without ear and eye protection, dust collection and all the tools guards on the machines and standing behind the yellow line on the floor. I am not a safety officer, nor know any safety officers. All my guards hang on the wall or have long been tossed.

I try to be safe for the most part, I still have 10 attached fingers, ......though if you look close you can see a few scars.

Just how bad is the occasional wood dust for a hobby wood worker?

I currently use a dual dust collection system. The big heavy chunks fall on the floor, and the fine dust gets run thru a 0 micron set of lungs.

Is wood dust cummulative to the system like lead, or if a person doesnt inhale to much at a time, and the timing between dust meals is spead out to just weekends +/- are their long term negative effects to the body? I will put a dust mask on if I am doing some extensive sanding, but not always.

I would like a dust collection system, but I like to do projects with end results I can see, not spend my few dollars of play money on tools that dont cut, shape or transform raw materials into shapes I want for a project.

Give me your real world thoughts.

I married better than my wife did.
One of the countries greatest mistakes was schools cutting shop classes due to budget issues.
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bait View Post
I know the safety police dont make a cut without ear and eye protection, dust collection and all the tools guards on the machines and standing behind the yellow line on the floor. I am not a safety officer, nor know any safety officers. All my guards hang on the wall or have long been tossed.

I try to be safe for the most part, I still have 10 attached fingers, ......though if you look close you can see a few scars.

Just how bad is the occasional wood dust for a hobby wood worker?

I currently use a dual dust collection system. The big heavy chunks fall on the floor, and the fine dust gets run thru a 0 micron set of lungs.

Is wood dust cummulative to the system like lead, or if a person doesnt inhale to much at a time, and the timing between dust meals is spead out to just weekends +/- are their long term negative effects to the body? I will put a dust mask on if I am doing some extensive sanding, but not always.

I would like a dust collection system, but I like to do projects with end results I can see, not spend my few dollars of play money on tools that dont cut, shape or transform raw materials into shapes I want for a project.

Give me your real world thoughts.
Real world thoughts??? Not all smokers contracted lung cancer, not all coal miners developed black lung disease, not all asbestoes workers have mesothelioma. Depends on the individuals physiology.. Do ya feel lucky?

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 12:28 AM
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I may be off base here, but how old are you Bait? You attitude towards "safety" issues tells me you are younger then say 43.

As for myself, I'm a 62 year old retired trucker who wishes I had taken my own advise when I was younger: but back then, I thought I was invincible. Yes the body is a marvelous machine that produces flem to to clean the lungs and we have a liver to cleanse toxic chemicals etc...
but the body is always dying. When my 6 year old grand daughter asked me why I was so old... I told her its' because I'm lucky.

From a 62 year old guy - I've learned to wear a dust mask ( I hate them), eye protection, and surgical gloves when staining. I now use ts guards and push sticks, and connect my dust collector. When sanding on my work bench, I even have a box fan with a furnace filter taped onto the intake side of the fan and that sits on the bench near my work area.

My years have taught me to take care of myself from now on. This is a case of wishing I knew what I know now. I'm still guilty of not setting up my systems when doing a few simple cuts, but for the most part, I'm wise to say I'm cautious.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 12:45 AM
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You sooner or later will wish you had used a dust collector, it's just a matter of whether its because you get sick from not having one, or finally figure out the dangers of not having one. I'd get one now.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 12:57 AM
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I appreciate your concerns/views. All I'll say about the guards, safety rules, etc. is that there are reasons for their existence. It's very easy to lose track of something, especially with repetitious activities like some sawing, sanding, routing---that's when fingers meet unfortunate ends (pun intended). Flaunt safety routines all you want, it WILL catch up to you.
I am a Physician and have seen many times the real life results from multiple encounters--lots of'em with bad outcomes--because good guys just lost track/took things for granted (not just noobs--guys/gals that'd been woodworking for many years). My vote--USE the safety gear. Better to complain a little and be able to work like you want.
As for the dust issue--use a mask with a filter, the little masks aren't worth the price. Dust from some woods are noxious and can make one sick/irritate lungs/mucosal surfaces. Haven't seen much on long term effects, but like anything else--too much of anything is most likely BAD.
This wasn't a rant, just information.
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 01:36 AM
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My wood turning club gave out a sheet on common timbers (used in Australia) and effects of dust. Ranging from irritation, asthma, dermatitis & cancer.

Someone here may have a list they can post, not sure where mine is ATM

Dave The Turning Cowboy

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post #7 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 01:56 AM
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All I know is that I don't have good dust control and I have no desire or money for a big noisy DC system with tubes all over the place. That and the fact that one little slip up can send me to the ER made me decide to go to hand tools.

Now my dust control is a trash can and a broom and dust pan.

It takes longer to get a job done, and my work is still very rough, but I find it much more satisfying.

Before I made the switch, I was cutting plywood with my table saw and router, and even though I had the garage doors open and 2 fans behind me trying to blow it out of the garage, the dust was still nasty enough that I was getting sore throats and even some pain swallowing. So if you are going to be working with plywood, please do everything you can to keep it from getting breathing it in.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 08:39 AM
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In textile factories where they are just cutting cloth there is a certain amount of cotton fibers floating in the air. It's so little you can't really see it in the air but over years of exposure workers developed respiratory problems they labeled brown lung disease. Now think about the cloud of wood dust in the air from sawing and sanding. I’m not a safety cop either but I wear a paint respirator almost all the time in the shop.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 09:08 AM
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I've put in the best system I can afford and house because I now believe that DC should be an early consideration in setting up shop. It's really hard to spend that much money on a tool that actually doesn't do something to wood, I know. Consider it one of the ancillary costs of the hobby.

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 09:38 AM
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I come from a time when air filters and dust systems were a vanity item, and real men didn't use them. There's a long list of hazardous, toxic, and just plain dangerous media connected with woodworking and finishing.

First off, if you can smell it, it's dangerous. Now, that sounds too simplistic doesn't it. If you can smell it, it's in the air, and it can enter our body by direct skin contact, inhalation, basically any orifice is an opening (eyes, ears, nose, mouth). Chemicals are difficult, as even with a respirator, our skin is still at risk.

Wood dust, just cannot be processed enough by our body without some deleterious effect. Most woodworkers take off their masks way too soon anyway. Those paper masks with the bendable nose piece are absolute junk. If you saved at the end of the day what you blow out of your nose, you may have enough to save to make some particleboard.

I will say my exposure is much higher than a weekend warrior. Working 6 sometimes 7 days a week, likely puts me in the top percentile for high susceptibility. It was only the last 25 years that I installed a DC that was effective. Even with that, the ambient dust is incredible.

So, what can I attest to...

I have tendonitis in the hands and fingers
I have nerve damage in the hands and fingers.
I have a breathing disability.
I am a cancer of the bladder survivor.

I have other problems, but those are the crux of the problems from chemical and dust exposure. If I had to do it over, I would have been born rich. If that didn't happen, I would have used as much of the safety and protective gear that is available. IMO, anything else is self destructive, and just plain foolish.





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post #11 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieL View Post
I may be off base here, but how old are you Bait? You attitude towards "safety" issues tells me you are younger then say 43.
Not quite, I turn 50 in a couple months.

Have lived an incredibly healthy life. Besides for a couple broken bones in my earlier life from sports I cant really think of anything going wrong with me. Still have my appendix, have never been to an eye doctor and dont wear glasses, see a general doctor about once every 5 years to match the fequency of when I get sick or need stitched back up.

I would like to stay healthy,

The little bit of wood dust I beathe doesnt bother me. Ya I can make a snot particleboard sometimes but I do lots of other things that are not textbook healthy either. Pouring lead fishing sinkers, I will set up a fan and be outside. Pouring soft plastic swimbaits, I use the fan again as that smell is real bad from the plastic fumes. I have even almost got use to wearing a seat belt in the car.

The reason for my starting this thread is I dont usually work with black walnut, and I have been rolling around the shop with the walnut lately on a project, and the dust taste/smells different in a bad way. I hadnt really thought of different woods having different toxicities. I think a person can tell when they think something isnt good for them, this doesnt seem like something I want to long term ingest.

I may have to do something different to finish this project. I cleaned up the shop last night trying to get rid of some of the dust in the shop. I can see the finish line from where I am on the project. But there is plenty of sanding ahead of me. I may have to dig out the big respirator. I was using the paper one last night while running the router for about an hour.

Thanks for the thoughts.

I married better than my wife did.
One of the countries greatest mistakes was schools cutting shop classes due to budget issues.
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 12:12 PM
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This can give you an idea of relative toxicity and allergy risk. Even if you're not getting exposed to enough dust to give you cancer directly, you'll be getting enough to provoke allergies. If you get those to wood and ignore them, too, then you'll either have anaphylaxis or chronic inflammation, which in turn will give you cancer.

Specifically with walnut, though, be careful. When I was at a local sawmill the owner was telling me about how they switch their sawdust collection over to a different container when working walnut because it is poisonous, whereas the rest of their sawdust can be sold. Apparently walnuts can even kill other plants growing in their root zone.

I'm a weekend woodworker, too, but after reading up on dust after initially just being annoyed at the dust in my shop area, I realized I was being foolish. I don't have a dust collector, either, but I now wear a P100 mask and set up a chip seperator for a HEPA filtered Shop Vac, and made a poor man's air scrubber with a box fan and HEPA furnace filter. I also got some more scrapers and hand planes so I need to sand less.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 01:57 PM
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BAIT this is a good thread that you started. There are a lot of good opinions here. I hope people continue posting to it. Because I have emphysema I am on the dust collecter side. Wish that I had been 50 years ago!
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 02:09 PM
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I read that it is the finest of the fine particulates that are the ones of most concern. Plus, they may combine with other things in the air for a 2+2=5 effect. I don't have a DC system. But for dusty jobs like carving and shaping abalone shell and slate stone, I have a way to rig up my ShopVac with a plaster dust bag. I have never run my bandsaw without the SV hooked up. Sure, it howls like the wolves. Good hearing protection and I manage just fine.
Ironically, I read of some woodworkers who wear a mask during the action of the dust making. Then, they immediately yank it off and spend the rest of the day in a fog of shop dust.

If and when I sand western red cedar, it gets done outdoors. I stockpile carvings and do a marathon.
I can't sand in my shop = the arrangement of wood pellet stove hot air flow (Harman P38+) floats ALL the dust out of the shop air and lofts it upstairs to coat EVERYTHING. I'm the one who has to clean it all up.
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 02:53 PM
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My father is a thoracic surgeon, and a hobby ww. He agrees that the fine dust is bad, but as said before not all smokers get lung cancer. I have discussed this with him. Current I use a shop vac with hepa filter. He tells me that looking at lungs from fellow wood workers, the smaller the floor space the more important the dust collection. Kinda of a dilution affect. He has also advised me that something to control dust is better than nothing. With all that said he still uses no dust collection but advises for it. I guess it is just a matter of how long do you want to do wood working.

Woodworking is much cheaper than a therapist!!
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