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Yeah i heard about the health problems dust and toxic fumes pose to my body (whether its blacksmithing woodworking metalworking or plastic working), but Do i really need a shop vac?

Is a respirator (with the right filter cartridge, please tell me how to pick one too :D ), an open window, safety, and an electric fan set on max such that it blows dust and TOXIC fumes away from me? Specially in the crafts of blacksmithing woodworking metalworking or plastic working?

Thanks guys!
 

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Any efforts you make to avoid inhaling the dust/gases produced by your work will pay you dividends in the long run. A good respirator will keep the junk out of your lungs, but you will find that they become uncomfortable to wear after awhile, especially on hot/humid days. A box fan blowing the stuff away from you, and out an open door or window works, but isn't real practical when the temperature drops.
A dust collector with a good filter bag is probably the most effective way to keep the stuff out of your lungs, and has the added bonus of keeping it off of your body. You can pick up a decent sized shop vac for about $100, and a basic set of dust collection tubes for about another $100. Well worth the expense.

Gerry
 

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Shop vac? For cleanup sure, for keeping the air clean, an actualy honest to goodness Dust Collector, either a whole shop, or single tool size with adapters is MUCH better for keeping the air clean, and the noise level down. I do not use my Shop vac for dust control, simply for cleanup, and of course I use dust masks as my shop is too small for a dust control system, unless I build a shelf over where the router table is stored.... let me get back to you on that!
 

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Let's do the math here. A 12 gallon 5+ HP vacuum -Ridgid or Shop Vac brand - is only $49.99 on sale right now at HD or Lowes. A week's beer probably costs any of us more than that and all that beer won't help you or me breathe any better or keep us from getting a chronic lung ailment. Seriously, you should have bought a good shop vaccum before you bought any tools. It IS that important in a workshop.
 

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IMO, the smaller the shop the more reason to get a DC. Shop vacs are just that, shop vacs. A good DC, and I'll go a step further, an air exchanger (air cleaner) would be in order. For many years I did without a DC system and used shop vacs and fans. Of course, my exposure was an every day occurrence and I did suffer the consequences. My own fault. To say "If I could do it over", a DC would be my first shop expenditure.






 

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To all this I will add only that if one is on a tight budget and space is at a serious premium, the shop vacuum can do multiple things and is transportable. Many of the power tools being sold nowadays come with built-in dust ports and vacuum connections, particularly sanders and saws. If one also does work in and around the house, the vacuum is a big plus. I only wish that I had the physical space to install a permanent dust collection system in my shop/garage. But, I must rely upon my vacuum and my small, single tool rollabout dust collector.
 

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Sorry to dredge this up when the post is as old as it is.... Since I posted my reply, I have kept up with the various posts, and opinions here and there regarding shop vacs, dust collectors etc... And here's what I have found...

There is a LARGE amount of debate as to how well shop vacs, and dust collectors work under various situations such as sanders, planers, jointers, saws etc...

From what I have read, and now personally experienced, a shop vac based dust collection system can be a VERY effective dust control solution.

Filtration, vacum, and CFM are key. Generally speaking, sub 2 micron filtration is best. For a vac, that would be a HEPA rated filter. Vacum pulls with more force, CFM means how MUCH is getting pulled. Shop vacs produce a lot of vacum, but low CFM, dust collectors the other way around. Shop vacs tend to have a good reputation for keeping the air clean around particularly dusty operations such as sanding. However Dust Collectors seem to work better at clearning chips and such from planers, and jointers...

Many modern woodworking power tools, such as planers, jointers, band saws, sanders, table saws etc... are equipped with 2.5" shop vac dust collection fittings. This may or may not be a good thing. Many others have 4" which is sized more for a dust collector...

If I had the space, and $$ to build my shop EXACTLY how I wanted, I would probably have both a good DC, AND a shop vac setup for sanders and such, not to mention shop cleanup.

One item to note about the Shop Vac... If your vac is used a LOT for sawdust, you will have to tap out the filter fairly frequently to keep suction up... I found this out the hard way... Simply remove the filter, empty the canister of course, and gently knock the sawdust out of the filter, preferrably on the driveway or other surface outdoors...

As I build, and learn, I am likely to change my ideas on the subject... I hope not. I have a pretty decent investment into a good shop vac and a shop vac sawdust collection system...
 

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My granddad worked af Ferris Lumber here in Nashville for years. His last 8 or so was sharpening the big band saw blades. His shop was right next to the saw. I was a real young'n when I would visit him at the mill. Yes he died of cancer but is was the kind that started on the inside of his throat and worked out. The Dr was asked about the cause he told my Mom that his work, smoking didn't cause it. How many of us old farts here played with mercury, rode bikes without helmets, got fish hooks in us and we are still here. BTW I quit smokin' about 8 years ago. If the Dr tells me I have 6 months left I'm going to buy a ticket to Mexico and 5 cartons of smokes and go fishin'...
 

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I have a dust collector and a dust filter in my shop. The dust collector is in a little shed built onto the outside of the shop. I turn it on and off with a little remote control but I can't tell if it's on or off when I have the hearing protectors on so I had to set up a little pilot light so I can glance up and check. I hate the noise the dust filter makes so I don't use it unless I'm doing something extremely dusty or getting ready to do some finishing after sanding. The dust collector seems to get the job done but I don't have the recommended return air vent so heated or cooled air is sucked out of the shop and I don't get it back. The remote and pilot light seem to have taken care of that issue. The dust collector was $179.00 from Harbor Freight and the remote was $50.00 from Woodcraft.
 

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Mikey D,
I don't know how anybody can have a shop without a shop vac. They kinda go hand in hand, even share part of their names.:laughing:
Seriously though, shop vacs do serve a good purpose. If you watch for the sales, they can be had so cheap, it doesn't make sense not to have one, or two, or five(last count). Home depot always has one of the ridgid vacs on sale the day after thanksgiving. The last couple of years it was their 12 gallon model, $25 the first year, the next year it went up to $29. I thought they were ripping me the second year until I found out their was an extra filter in the box as part of the deal.:laughing: This past sale, they had a 9 gallon vac for $25. They all use the 2 1/2" hose and the same large cartridge style filter, which by the way is easily cleaned by tapping the excess dirt off and then rinsing with a garden hose and letting it dry.
Mike Hawkins;)
 

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Mikey D,
I don't know how anybody can have a shop without a shop vac. They kinda go hand in hand, even share part of their names.:laughing:
Seriously though, shop vacs do serve a good purpose. If you watch for the sales, they can be had so cheap, it doesn't make sense not to have one, or two, or five(last count). Home depot always has one of the ridgid vacs on sale the day after thanksgiving. The last couple of years it was their 12 gallon model, $25 the first year, the next year it went up to $29. I thought they were ripping me the second year until I found out their was an extra filter in the box as part of the deal.:laughing: This past sale, they had a 9 gallon vac for $25. They all use the 2 1/2" hose and the same large cartridge style filter, which by the way is easily cleaned by tapping the excess dirt off and then rinsing with a garden hose and letting it dry.
Mike Hawkins;)
I got my Ridgid 12 gallon on sale for $39.00, and it had the spare filter, which was the HEPA model. Sweet deal... I have since picked up a spare filter to have sitting idle to swap in when I clean the one in use and am waiting for it to dry...
 

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Mikey D,
I don't know how anybody can have a shop without a shop vac. They kinda go hand in hand, even share part of their names.:laughing:
Seriously though, shop vacs do serve a good purpose. If you watch for the sales, they can be had so cheap, it doesn't make sense not to have one, or two, or five(last count). Home depot always has one of the ridgid vacs on sale the day after thanksgiving. The last couple of years it was their 12 gallon model, $25 the first year, the next year it went up to $29. I thought they were ripping me the second year until I found out their was an extra filter in the box as part of the deal.:laughing: This past sale, they had a 9 gallon vac for $25. They all use the 2 1/2" hose and the same large cartridge style filter, which by the way is easily cleaned by tapping the excess dirt off and then rinsing with a garden hose and letting it dry.
Mike Hawkins;)
Having worked at HD, I can tell you at $25 and $29 They're taking a loss on them to get people in the door. The breakeven on the 12 gal was $39 IIRC
 

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In response to the shop vac filter clogging up. I use my brides old panty hose around the filter. Easy clean, much better then that foam collar. Air 'em out 1st!! :laughing:
 
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