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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm pretty good about wearing ear protection when using my power tools. I already have some minor hearing loss not related to woodworking, and I certainly don't want to lose more. I'm not very good about wearing a mask when sanding and such though. I've used the cheap paper masks in the past, but if I was to get something new, what would you more experienced guys recommend for breathing protection?
 

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puffessional Scrabbleist
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masks

I hate to put on a mask but it's a must when doing some things. I find the paper mouth/nose covers to be sufficient and, being a cheapskate, I pick up one or two every time I visit the clinic. They have them at the entrance so patients can protect against or prevent giving an illness to someone. Exotics on a lathe can be a bit bothersome.

TonyM
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So, are most of you NOT using any kind of breathing protection? I'm guessing everyone here has at least thought about it after blowing their nose after working in the shop for a few hours. Not a pleasant image I know, but you've been there, right?
 

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When I was younger, I hardly ever wore any protection when doing home remodeling. Now that I am a hobby woodworker, I have started wearing a mask for more and more things I thought I never would wear one for, like cutting stuff on the table saw, depending on how much/what I am cutting. The dust can start flying up at me when making cuts and I am breathing the whole time, it can't be good, especially on long rip cuts. I have the Harbor Freight mask and it works fine. http://www.harborfreight.com/p95-maintenance-free-dual-cartridge-respirator-66554.html

The mask doesn't really bother me and it is good protection. Not being able to breath later in life, due to breathing in bad stuff, is no fun. I have a chronic cough from allergies and probably breathing in crap, when I should have been wearing a mask.
 

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Wood Snob
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I use a respirator when I spray lacquer and ear protection when planing or running the jointer. Might start using it when I sand.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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I use a similar respirator when I work with anything in the shop that kicks up fumes (i.e. contact cement) or toxic wood (wolmanized/mdf/that type of stuff).
 

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I use one like mdntrdr that I got at Lowes or HD; there are P100 discs (pink color) you can get on Amazon to go with it that are lighter than the organic cartridges when you'll be using it just for sawdust/particulates.
 

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For those of us who wear glasses, this is a big issue. After a couple of dozen experiences using a circular saw without being able to see, I found a mask recommended by others who'd experienced the same problem. It was one of the big ones, though - make you look like a space alien. I heard about the type in the Lowes link and tried them, but had no luck - still fogged up.
 

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Like Scotty I also use a "Darth Vader" respirator when finishing and also when making especially vile types of dust. I check the cartridge and pre-filter accessories against whatever I think I might be dealing with, and make sure I'm clean shaven.

But for just wood and plaster dust, or mixing cement, I use these masks with the little relief valve, which makes minimal fog in my glasses. I haven't really studied whether they're good for each of those applications. Guess I should.
 

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I use the canister masks. They're relatively cheap and they work well. As others have said, I only have one set of lungs. I am about 50/50 usage on the TS and router, 100% usage when using a sander of any kind and depending upon which tools about 50/50 with the rest from the bandsaw to the the circular saw to the planer etc. If I'm just doing a lot of different stuff in the shop it pretty much just stays on my face the whole time. when I get too hot I release the neck strap and take a few minute break. I do get the occasional fog up on my eye protection and they don't work well with face shields when turning but I make do.

The real answer is to get a decent shop vac/separator system and use it on all tools then you can go a little lighter on the direct face breathing protection. I haven't done that though so I wear the mask.
 

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If you do any amount of really dusty woodworking and want to save your lungs, invest in one of these air supplied respirator hoods. See the one in the link and the others in the bottom of the link. Several companies make them so do some research...

 

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For sanding dust or mowing the lawn I use 3M fabric masks with the gasket in the middle. For spraying anything I use a more substantial mask with the appropriate canister as called for by the MSDS information on the product being used. Yes they take some time to get used to but one should read the possible health hazards associated with not wearing breathing protection. I'm not that brave to go without a mask. I served as a safety manager for a number of years back in the 70's and 80's and it was one of the hardest things to get people working with volatiles, pesticides, and in enclosed places to use personal protective equipment. If you are working with dust particulates or chemical solvents take Nike's advice and JUST DO IT when it comes to wearing protection. Your lungs and family will thank you for doing so.
 

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If you are a hobbyist I don't think you have much to worry about breathing the wood dust. I've been working professionally for more than 40 years and rarely use a respirator for cutting or sanding and it hasn't given me any problems. It's usually when I'm working with particle board or MDF I will wear a mask. The paper masks are almost useless. I would wear a paint respirator if I was going to wear one.
 
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