Being aggressive in cleaning dust from the air in your shop doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a ton on new equipment.
If you don’t have a dust collection system in your shop, now’s a great time to start. For many hobbyists and home-shop woodworkers, such systems seem like a luxury — the last tool to be bought. But more and more of us are beginning to take dust seriously. That’s a fact that the tool industry now recognizes.
Healthy Shop Habit
There’s a reason to be concerned. Wood dust is related to many health hazards, including irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; skin rashes; asthma; allergies; and some serious lung diseases. It has even been linked to a rare form of nasal cancer. Estimates indicate that up to 13% of woodworkers have dust-induced asthma. Breathing wood dust can also cause chronic bronchitis or emphysema. During their lifetimes, one third of all woodworkers experience some adverse health effects from contact with wood dust.
While shop vacuums are extremely popular among woodworkers, they may not be the best solution for systematic dust control. First and foremost, their capacities are generally much smaller than that of most large, stationary machines. Second, their filters usually don’t trap some of the micro-particles that can aggravate allergies and irritate the respiratory system. There’s no doubt: For most shops, a complete dust collection system is necessary to protect your health.