I have been woodworking now for 3 months – working in my garden workshop that ive just built. So Im new to this completely. Setting up the space as well as using handtools and getting a feel for wood. In that time I have experienced suffering from dust 3 times.
Each time I have adjusted my routine accordingly.
The first time was down to the natural impulse to blow dust out of planes – obviously it blows back in your face – so from that impulsive action i got dust in my throat – and experienced how it can burn for a few days. So obviously the answer is not to do that!! 😉
The second time was squaring wood, I used an old palette and worked with that – A smoothing plane in particular really creates dust – so leaning over the plane applying pressure puts you right in line for dust. The sun shines directly into my workspace at around 4 in the afternoon – very beautiful but it lights up the dust in the air so you can see it – it billows up to face level and just hangs in the air. Sandpaper is a complete no no.
This time it got deeper into my lungs.
So I then realised I needed to do more, bought a wet dry vacuum and a respirator breathing mask.
Every now and again, just in my enthusiasm I forgot to put it on, sawing can be a problem. I have a few Japanese saws and as they cut on the pull stroke, you are literally pulling dust into your own face. So after the third time, where I really felt it deep in my lungs to the point that my whole chest tightened up I just keep the mask on all the time.
I vacuum after every task. I attach the vacuum to the desk while sawing. Doors open etc.
So my next idea is to buy an air filter that hangs above the work bench. My concern is that it will just suck everything upwards into my face!
I asked my local wood supplier about this – the reply was predictably macho – ‘never worn one mate’.
So I’m just after advice. The honeymoons over, its not as romantic as i imagined with a mask on all the time, although Im used to it now.
Slow, deliberate movements when using saws, controlled careful planing, maintaining sharp tools, just knowing the nature of the materials, this all helps me improve my working practices.
This isnt the machine vs handtool discussion but controlling dust in a handtool environment.
I also wander about the air in my work shed – humidity can swing from 50 to 90%, although it feels dry inside. Is that in itself a fundamental problem – oh boy what have I got myself into?
Any advice out there welcome.
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