Dust from hand tools causing problems

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    Larry Geib

    I know this may be a bit of a stable door after the horse has bolted sort of reply, but a trick my dad showed me for when I am sweeping the floor, was to spray the floor with water. This caused any dry dust to ball up and be 1. More manageable, and 2. Totally not airborne.

    Years ago I worked in a shop where sweeping was preceded by wetting wads of newspaper and strewing them about the floor. As long as you kept the wads in front of the push room there was almost no dust raised.


    This is certainly a “repurposing the bones after said horse is dead” reply, but when searching for info online one comes across old threads with useful replies – so why not?

    My plan is to install a vacuum dust collector system in my shop. I bought a CamVac CGV336 55 litre, 2000W which I intend to connect to a duct system in my shop. It filters to 0.5 microns.
    I bought a huge dust shroud thingy (CVA400-50-123) I intend to mount / clamp to my workbench when I’m working with dusty tasks. Should do the trick. The dust collector is rather noisy, but I found a guide to make sound dampers for the exhaust – should be a good solution even if I have to use ear protection somehow. My noise cancelling headphones might be ideal for this, as I can listen to podcasts, music, radio – or nothing.

    I have a regular “chip collector” from back when I thought woodworking meant machines everywhere, but it does not handle dust. The Camvac is a completely different beast! Block the hose on the chip collector, and nothing really happens – the filter bag limps over after a while.
    Do the same thing with the Camvac, and it sucks itself across the floor! Scary thing, really! 🙂

    If I put the chip collector on my Record Power BS 400, it removes a good amount of sawdust – but a lot of sawdust ends up around the base of the saw, on and under the table and a lot of other places. Put the Camvac on it, and the problem is gone! The extra dust hose connected directly beneath the table works very well with a vacuum dust collector. Not so with a chip collector.

    Another approach for dust filtration, cheap and DIY: A big box fan (or any fan capable of moving a good amount of air) and filter cartridges for ventilation systems. Matthias Wandel has videos on the subject.

    Best regards, Vidar


    I worry about dust with hand tools as well though I have had no medical issues form woodworking so far. I can offer some personal observations.
    1. I bought one of those Dylos particulate laser devices and had it on prior to hand tool woodworking and then kept it on and did different types of hand tool woodworking operations. The particulates went up a little bit for chisel and hand plane work, more so for sawing, and much more so for using some 220 grit sandpaper by hand. My persona l conclusion was I was ok with common hand tool woodworking with maybe and exception for using sand paper. Mostly I don’t use sand paper. During nice months outside, I also keep the garage doors and side door open for a cross breeze. Mostly because I like the breeze in the shop but I figure it can’t hurt.
    2. After a year of having a shop dedicated heating and air conditioning unit, I had it serviced. There was no dust to speak of on the filter for the unit.
    3. I have a shop vac with a cyclone unit that I use daily in addition to a broom and dust pan. In the unit, I have a bad inside the shop vac to collect the shavings as well as a “HEPA” filter. After two years of use, I decided to change out the bag and filter (the 5 gallon bucket had been emptied frequently). As best I could tell, the bag had less than 5% of its volume taken up by shavings and the “HEPA” filter had no observable dust on it (I used sunlight like described in the original post) to look for it.
    4. I’ve done deep cleans of the garage and really don’t see any fine dust strewn about anywhere.

    As such, I feel fairly comfortable about the relative risk factor of fine dust coming from hand tools. It’s not zero but I think it is very low.

    I am in the process of saving for a machine tool. I will spend a significant sum of money to get a dust collection system that might seem like overkill but I want to protect my lungs. In the 1980s, I refused to change the brake pads on our family cars and my dad called me names for worrying about the asbestos dust. He didn’t use dust collection in has garage workshop. Now in his 80s, he wheezes a fair bit and is part of a class action law suit for asbestos. I am sure I am doing something unsafe in my life but I am trying to avoid know risks where I can (e.g., don’t drink, if I use sand paper I wear a dust mask and really air out the garage afterwards, etc,).


    meant to say don’t smoke rather than don’t drink

Viewing 4 posts - 16 through 19 (of 19 total)
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