This Shop Note is devoted to dust "management." No, that's not a typo: dust management
better describes the activity than does dust
"control." Dust is one of two on-going concerns
I have about woodturning. The other is wood spinning off the
lathe and thrashing around my studio, the effects of which are experienced immediately--damaged equipment and/or
body parts. (Fortunately, this
has never been a serious problem in my
effects of dust are not so immediate, other than
a good sneeze. But the long term effect of dust can be insidious
and I go to great length to manage it.
MSA Dust Respirator
images for a larger view)
first line of defense is a dust mask. I wear one almost all
the time when I'm working in my studio--whether I'm turning, or
not. I've tried several different types
and have settled on MSA Safety Works Dust Respirator with an exhalation
valve. They're available at Home Depot for about $7.00 each,
plus tax. They're a bit pricey, but they last a long
Shopsmith Dust Collection
My second line of defense against dust is
my Shopsmith Dust Collector. When I'm sanding, I position an
intake nozzle to catch as much dust as possible. It's
effective, but some dust still drifts about the studio. To combat these rouge particles, I have two
additional lines of defense. One has been in place for some
time and the other was just added.
I rebuilt my detached garage to accommodate my studio seven years ago, I added a
HVAC system that provides heat in the Winter and air conditioning in the
Summer. The filter on the air return of this half-ton system
provides the third line of defense against dust. I use filters designed to stop dust and
airborne allergens. They work well, but extensive sanding
can quickly overwhelm them. Typically, I'll remove them, take them outside
and blow them out with compressed air. This works once,
sometimes twice, then I have to replace the filter. The filters are
expensive and as a result, I don't use the HVAC system for dust management
as much as I should
(shame on me).
my latest addition against dust gives me a new tool. My house has two HVAC
systems (not counting the studio's unit): a large system for the
ground floor and a smaller system for the upstairs (this is typical of two
story houses in this part of the Gulf Coast). I recently replaced my
upstairs furnace and relocated the unit's 1/3
horsepower, three speed squirrel cage fan into my studio to improve
ventilation and manage dust.
Cage Fan 1
Cage Fan 2
are a couple of pictures of the fan now installed in my studio. It's vented to
the outside and by opening the door to my studio I can move air from
one end to the other. On days when the outside air temperature
and/or humidity are moderate,
I'll use this unit to remove those rouge dust particles from the air.
On other days, I'll resort to using the studio's HVAC system.
The "bottom line" on dust:
don't be foolish and think you're immune to the long-term, cumulative
effects of dust exposure. You're not. Breathing dust makes
about as much sense as does smoking.