Dust management in a High School shop - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-13-2019, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Dust management in a High School shop


I will be taking over a high school woodshop program next semester, and I'm thinking a lot about trying to keep my students safe and healthy. The shop has a large dust collection system in place and all the major stationary tools are hooked up. But the handheld orbital and belt sanders are not currently hooked up to a collector or extractor or shop vac w/cyclone, etc. So it gets really dusty in there with several students sanding their projects. I don't think it's something the current teacher was really concerned with, but as I've been in there helping out here and there this semester, I'll walk out and my throat will feel rough and coated so I really think I need to deal with it once I'm in there fulltime. I'm wondering if I should look into buying extractors to use for sanding or if I should have all the kids wear masks, or if I should do both. I'm trying to keep things as simple and as cheap as possible. My primary concern is keeping lungs clean, not the shop. Obviously I know that extractors AND masks would be ideal but I'm wondering if just going with masks would be good enough if I'm okay with having to sweep up more often. I thought I'd get some opinions to help me before I spend what little budget I have.

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post #2 of 4 Old 10-13-2019, 03:14 PM
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Shopvac on the Sanders, air cleaners on the ceiling, and masks on the kids. Is it overkill? Who cares when talking about health and safety. Paper dust masks are cheap, shop vacs and air cleaners are relatively inexpensive one-time purchases.

I'd also consider throwing a downdraft sanding table in there as well, if possible. More of a "keep the shop clean" than a safety thing, but it'll catch more of the dust that collection at the tool doesn't catch and keep the dust from hitting the floor and creating a slip hazard
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-13-2019, 04:33 PM
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I agree with Chris - capture all you can and have them wear masks.

And welcome to the forum, Ryan! Add your location to your profile so it shows in the side panel. You can post photos of the shop, tools, and projects any time you're ready 'cause we do like photos!



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post #4 of 4 Old 10-17-2019, 08:09 AM
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A few months back there was an article in wood magazine comparing air filtration units from all the major companies. Oddly enough that tossed a box fan fitted with a filter into the mix. Amazingly, it outperformed several of the units tested and was a close second to the rest. Depending on the size of the shop, having them near the sanding area would help a lot and they would be very cost effective.

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