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This site shares the risks and how to effectively protect yourself and those close to you from airborne dust. These pages provide far more detail than my Dust Collection Basics Blog which provides a quick overview. Most fine dust exposure comes from fugitive dust which is dust that escapes capture, builds in our shops, and gets stirred airborne again and again. Most large woodworking facilities vent their dust collection systems outside, so fine dust exposure is limited. Even with venting outside woodworking generates so much unhealthy dust that insurance data for large facility woodworkers show fine dust causes all to lose about 1% of their respiratory capacity per year of work, all to have worsened age related health problems with shorter lifespans, one in seven to develop such bad allergic reactions they must stop woodworking, one in fourteen is forced into an early medical retirement, a few get poisoned, and a tiny number to develop nasal cancers. The medical research shows the higher and longer the fine dust exposure, and the more toxic the wood, the worse the damage. This should terrify small shop woodworkers. Most small shop woodworkers work more toxic woods. Worse, OSHA testing shows most small shops vent their dust collection systems inside which builds such dangerously high dust levels that most small shop woodworkers get more fine dust exposure in a few hours than large facility workers get in months of full-time work. These pages share how to choose, upgrade, set up and maintain your dust collectors, cyclones, ducting, shop vacuums, air cleaners, tools, hoods, filters and downdraft tables for good fine dust collection. These pages share how to inexpensively test your air quality, airflow, and filtering. These pages also share my dust collection solutions that protect my family and me including plans for my very efficient air cleaner, blower and fine dust separating cyclone. All of my designs are marked for noncommercial use, meaning you are free to make these for yourself, but not for sale. Many find it less trouble and less cost to order my cyclone design from Clear Vue Cyclones.
Although woodworking inspired this site, many respiratory doctors recommend small shop owners and their family members, fiberglass workers, stone finishers, sand blasters, concrete cutters, coffee roasters, granary workers, and others with fine dust exposure follow the recommendations shared on these pages. Two major commercial dust collection firms and the Air Engineering Vendor Group recommend staff and customers read these pages.
Please do not get overwhelmed and forget your goal is to protect yourself and those close to you from fine dust. Although good fine dust collection takes lots of planning, work and expense it is not that difficult. I strongly recommend good fine dust collection and these pages share how, but until you can install good fine dust collection it is easy and affordable to get good fine dust protection. The best protection is to wear a good properly fit NIOSH approved respirator mask with dual HEPA quality cartridges and work outside or with our main doors open a bit and a strong fan blowing out a side door or window to create a good airflow through our shops to keep the fine dust from building. Our particle counters show for best protection we need to put on our respirator mask and start venting our shop before we start making fine dust and both the mask and fan need to stay on for about a half hour after we stop making fine dust. More protection detail can be found on the Doc's Orders page.
Thank You to the many who helped me with these web pages. You gave me the support and feedback to make and keep this information accurate and useful. Jim Halbert, Dr. Rod Cole (Ducting Static), and many others helped educate me. Jim Halbert shared his neutral vane upgrade, portable cyclone design, his automated blast gates (see blast gate video), his air measurement pages, his DC remote controller with circuit diagram, and his cyclone vacuum. Jim looks over my shoulder and shares feedback that keeps my efforts accurate and understandable. Don Beale is the air engineer who started the Wood Magazine Dust Collection/Air Filtration forum. Don spent countless hours helping me get the CFM requirement tables, resistance calculator, hood designs, duct designs, and many other portions accurate and complete. Also, Don put me through enough air engineering reading to earn another degree.
Also, I give my thanks that so many other friends helped my cyclone, blower, motor, impeller, tool hoods, ducting, and web page efforts. I thank Bob Lemon, Dan Moening, Mike Worthan, Dale Critchlow, Glenn Paskaruk, Steve Knight, Steve Cater, Daryl Adams, Richard Winchester, Peter Hunt, Jack Diemer, Rodger Holland, and innumerable other local and Internet friends. Also I thank Larry Adcock who created WoodSucker, Chris O'Connor AAF sales manager, Paul Paton Sheldon's blower engineer, Allan Johanson who moderated the Wood Magazine Dust Collection/Air Filtration forum, Dick and Rick Wynn who run Wynn Environmental, Ed and Matt Morgano who did such a great job building up Clear Vue Cyclones, Bushey Enterprises who took over Clear Vue Cyclones and are building it into an even better firm, Lee Styron who runs Shark Guard, innumerable Cal-OSHA staff and contractors, plus many commercial dust collection firms. They help keep me stay focused and relevant, provide discounted components, plus show and share proper fine dust collection technique and components. Many others contributed time, expertise, and even a little money that assisted this effort. Terry Hatfield made me rewrite and add graphics. Linda Vanderwold, CSP shared the Vanwrite® tools that make this site more understandable. I appreciate Steve Hall who gave his time and web designer expertise that redesigned this site so it loads faster, reads better, and navigates easier. I thank each who contributed. Although we get no gold, we created and maintain an accurate information and education source that makes a difference. Clearly many hear our efforts. Our educational efforts helped small shop owners make better choices. Since these pages started in 2000, they have helped lead the small shop vendor community to improve their filters, dust collectors, cyclones and advertising claims. Even with these improvements recent testing showed almost every small shop dust collector and cyclone remain dust pumps that leave our shops with dangerously high amounts of the unhealthiest invisible airborne dust so this work needs continued. Meanwhile, I appreciate the prior efforts and help. I think we all deserve a well-earned hand. Again, my thanks to all who helped and keep helping!
Helping the many who view these pages daily and knowing thousands world-wide use my cyclone design leaves a positive feeling, but positive feelings leave the bills unpaid. This research, tests and web page overhead costs me many tens of thousands of dollars. Vendor harassment and threatened legal suits added even more in attorney expenses. The ad revenue that used to help support these pages was cut ten-fold by the big vendors and two no longer even pay me for advertising. I continue this effort voluntarily, but my own health issues forced a medical retirement without the income to keep up this sharing level. So, if you find this information useful please help support these efforts by using the below vendor links and by making a small contribution each time you visit these pages:
or by sending a check to:
1909 Studebaker Place
Gold River, CA 95670
Please use my links. For many vendors I get no credit unless you use the below links. You can also help by using this Amazon Search and eBay. Also, I have long been enjoying the cash back from Ebates on many major purchases and if you click on their link and join you can do the same and they make a small donation to my site.