Respirators

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by MarkAndrews, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. MarkAndrews

    MarkAndrews

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    Before I begin my post, please know that I've spent the past 2 afternoons researching the web and reading many posts on this and other forums regarding both dust collections and respirators. My journey down this rabbit hole began when I read Bill Pentz's incredibly detailed description of how a dust collection system should be set up and the health risks associated with micro wood dust. (If you want to read the information you can find it here http://billpentz.com/woodworking/cyclone/ducting.cfm ).

    To say that Bill Pentz's article put a major scare into me would be a huge understatement. I've been turning for a couple of years and have been blissfully unaware of the health risks associated with wood dust. I thought my Dust Be Gone mask was all I needed. I realize now that I was very, very wrong.

    I was going to combine my dust collection and respirator questions but I think I will post them separately.

    Some folks in the forums seem to believe that a device like the Resp-O-Rator is perfectly adequate to keep your lungs happy and healthy. At $49.99 it's a cheap, easy, comfortable solution. It uses 2 Hepa filters so it should eliminate the small particles I'm concerned about, no?

    Many others on this site have recommended various Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) systems. The full kits for these systems range in price from $900 - $1600...ouch! Now if that's the type of system I need to buy to protect my lungs, I'll buy it. I won't say that money is no object but I can afford the cost if it makes sense to purchase a PAPR system. Now the question is, do I need one and if so, which one?

    I called 3M and they recommended the TR-600-HIK Kit or the GVP-PSK2. The TR-600 is the 3M Versaflo system while the GVP-PSK2 appears to be geared more towards painters. If I'm going to purchase one of these I'd like to use it for both wood cutting applications (turning, sanding, sawing) as well as finishing, can 1 system do both? I also see the TR-300-HIK for more reasonable prices, is that unit adequate for protection against microscopic wood particles?

    Lastly, the face shield HAS to provide good protection from impact. Any guidance or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance,
    Mark Andrews
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  2. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    I have used an Airmate 3 for 20 years and find that it keeps me from inhaling dust and protects me from flying wood. I have also had an Onieda dust collecting system.
     
  3. MarkAndrews

    MarkAndrews

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    Thanks Paul, the Racal Airmate 3 is actually what I originally started searching for but it appears to no longer be made or it was bought by another company like 3M and rebranded?
    Mark
     
  4. AlanZ

    AlanZ

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    Racal was purchased by 3M many years ago. That's how 3M got their AirStream and BreatheEasy PAPR models.
     
  5. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The short answer is that you don't need a PAPR for respiratory protection, but they offer many advantages over using a N100 or N95 mask and face shield. Even the premium N100 masks with an exhaust valve and rubber seal are hot and fog my glasses and sometimes even my face shield.

    I have had my 3M Airstream AS400 since 2006. I bought it from Airware America and they have been a nice business to deal with for replacement filters and other supplies. When the original battery finally gave out in late 2014, I got a replacement battery from another forum member who was using an alternative power source for his Airstream ... eight years battery life isn't too shabby. The Versaflo seems nice, but really expensive. When I bought my Airstream the price was about $700. I would still grit my teeth and pay today's price of $1100. The 10 CFM air flow makes it relatively comfortable even in hot weather. The HEPA filter is so good that I can't even smell the wood that I am turning and absolutely no dust in the nose.

    I have box full of N95 and N100 filters that I use when I am turning at our club during open shop day or taking a class and it is easier to communicate. The Airstream is a bit noisy although it doesn't bother me. I have a set of earmuffs that I can use with the Airstream although I don't often wear them.

    Your face shield should have an ANSI rating of Z87 +. I think that most people put too much faith in the protection afforded by a face shield ... or any other headgear including the Airstream and Versaflo, for that matter. They protect your face and eyes from small pieces of wood and that's it. The Airstream helmet provides some additional head protection, but don't count on any headgear to save you from large chunks if a hidden flaw causes a piece of wood spinning at high speed to suddenly fly apart. BTW, you're also supposed to wear goggles in addition to a face shield. I doubt that many turners actually do.

    Many years ago 3M bought the division of Racal that made the Airmate, Airstream, BreatheEasy, and other industrial respiratory equipment. The name on the buildings in the UK changed, but as far as I know, except for some products that have since been discontinued, they are still made in the UK. My Airstream helmet is marked Made in UK.

    When I first started turning, I bought a Dust-Bee-Gone because it was supposedly so wonderful. After a while it became apparent that it wasn't sufficient to meet my needs. I was getting severe headaches and blowing huge amounts of mesquite dust out of my nose while the DBG had hardly stopped any dust judging by what was on the mask. They aren't certified to any ANSI standards, but they have in the past made claims of filtering down to 5 microns. The trouble is that the really harmful dust is one micron and smaller. It became apparent rather quickly that I needed something better and based on all of the comments that I read online, I decided to go for the Airstream.

    The Resp-O-Rator might be alright for some people. Odie has one and I think that he likes it. I think that he might also have the Airstream PAPR. I don't like breathing through my mouth because it give me a dry throat and I don't think that I would like the nose clips either based on my experience with having sinus surgery many years ago.I don't think that they originally had HEPA filters, but that is a plus. When I am turning or sanding, I am in a cloud of dust and I doubt that having the filters over my shoulder makes a bit of difference in the amount of dust that the filter is exposed to.

    As far as using the same system for both finish and turning, 3M used to make the BreatheEasy which had different filter options available, but even then you would be swapping out different filter cartridges for turning or finishing. Also, for finishing you probably would want to wear different headgear that is better suited for the purpose and protects you better from fumes and overspray. If you are just going to do occasional spraying then perhaps something like the AO Safety rubber masks and suitable cartridges for painting would be the best route. It makes me look like a praying mantis, but being basically frugal, that's OK. I just noticed that you can get a hood that can be used with the 3M Air-Mate that is suitable for spraying.
     
  6. odie

    odie

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    Bill is correct.......Although I have used the Airstream for about a dozen years, I have switched my preference to the Resp-o-rator about 2005 or so. I really like the lightness, convenience, and uncomplicated design. I think since it's so cheap, everybody ought to have one, even if it becomes just a spare method of protection. I still have my Airstream, but it's now my back-up protection.

    The Resp-o-rator comes with some down sides. As Bill says, you breathe through your mouth, somewhat similar to a scuba diver.....and, if that's not enough of a turn-off, you need some way to stop air intake through your nose. The Resp-o-rator comes standard with a nose clip, and I've used several types of nose plugs for swimmers, and never could get used to them. Dust would mingle between the skin on my nose and the clip.......causing irritation. I ended up wadding up wet paper towel and plugging my nostrils from the inside. I think most people would find this a real problem, but I've become used to it. I have two mouth pieces and switch from day to day. One goes into a container of antiseptic solution while the other is in use.

    I guess you have to want to lathe turn pretty badly to use the Resp-o-rator on a daily basis......but, if one can overcome the disadvantages, the simpleness of it, combined with the lightness and less restrictiveness of it has been a real pleasure for me.

    ko
     
  7. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    I use the Resp-O-Rator and have no problem breathing through my mouth and not using the nose clip. It fits nicely under any of the face masks I have without any fogging. Light weight and uses a HEPA Filter for very small particulates. I use it a lot more than my Airshield Pro. It is also very well priced.
     
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  8. odie

    odie

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    Bill.......Undoubtedly, there are those, like you, who can use the Resp-o-rator without using the nose clip.......I wasn't one of them. :(

    I did attempt to breath only through the mouth piece, but subconsciously kept forgetting, and ended up breathing through my nose without realizing it.

    You're right! :D......The Resp-o-Rator works great underneath a regular face shield! :cool:

    ......and, the price is definitely right!
     
  9. Fred Belknap

    Fred Belknap

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    I don't like dust and do my best to avoid breathing dusty air. I tried different dust filters like 3M and they work except my glasses leave me mostly blind which is kind of a nuisance. I got the Trend Pro and it pretty much solves all the problems with fogging and dust filters, it is a very effective system in my opinion. The one problem is after wearing it for a long time it gives me a headache. If I only turned for a couple hours a day it would b fine but there is days that I spend most of the day and some of the evenings in the shop. I have had an exhaust fan at the headstock of the lathe for some years but it wouldn't suck out all the dust, I decided that it was to small to do the job. Last spring I replaced it with a 24"fan that I got from Northern Tools, it produced 4800CFM according to the specs. It takes out the dust and I can work at the lathe with just my lightweight face shield. The down side is that it is noisy, it sucks most of the heat out of the shop. I use it almost all the time except when spraying paint then I use the 3M with vapor filters. Right now I am roughing out bowls from a walnut tree that I cut and it sprays water rather than dust. When it is cold outside I wear Carhart bibs and heavy winter coat, works for me. With the doors and windows shut it gets rather cool in the shop with the heater on but not below freezing. My shop has sliding doors and with the fan running the wife can't get the doors open. There is enough leaks around the windows and doors to keep the dust going out. IMG_0650.JPG resized.jpg
     
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I noticed that Airware America has the price marked down to $1299 for the Versaflo TR-300-HIK which comes with the HEPA particulate filters. For spraying finishes you can get a wide assortment of head cover and hood assemblies designed for the Versaflo system. You can also get organic vapor filters for use when spraying. I noticed that you can also use a Versaflo hard hat or faceshield assembly with a BreatheEasy blower assembly if you want to build a Frankenstein system.

    As I mentioned previously, don't have unrealistic expectations about protection from impacts. Adopt safe turning practices such as staying out of the line of fire and listening to the sound of the wood so that the faceshield is the last line of defense if all else fails.
     
  11. Raul McCai

    Raul McCai

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    For years I filtered my shop air using my lungs. The air always came out dust free.

    Then when I got serious I decided to get a DC. I got the Felder RL 160 and it produces the cleanest air I've seen from any commercial system outside an ISO 2 or better cleanroom. I think I dropped $6Gees on the DC. Then another $4 Gees on the NordFab to all my machines and then a couple days making the remote control system. The ducting and the remote were a job-O-Work.

    So if you can get the kit you want in a box ready to go for under $2-Gees I say go for it get the high end stuff and don't look back.
    One of the reasons I didn't want a respirator is the bulk. I just don't like things in my way. So give that a couple moments consideration. You wanna work with that thing on your head? Plenty of guys do. It's just not for me.
    Another reason was the fact that it keeps my shop a lot cleaner and I was never a tidy bug to my shop was always covered in dust and shavings of one sort or other
     
  12. MarkAndrews

    MarkAndrews

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    Raul, am I understanding you correctly, you don't need ever to use any sort of breathing protection if you are using your RL 160? If so, your solution is really ideal in that I would would have cleaner air and a cleaner shop. I've done a bit of research on the RL line and it definitely looks like a great solution.
    1. It will solve my air quality problem
    2. It will help me keep my shop clean
    3. I should be able to install it inside my shop with the muffler attachement
    I actually posted another thread about which dust collector to consider, this probably post probably belongs in that thread, but since Raul posted here, I'll post my reply here as well. My biggest issue with a traditional dust collector is where to put it. I live in So Cal, and I have exactly 64 inches between the wall of my shop (garage) and the fence that divides my neighbors property from mine. Building an enclosure outside is just not realistic. Even if I could put the dust collector outside I would probably risk pissing off my neighbor whose bedroom is proabably less than 10 feet away. I don't have an attic per se. As I see it, my only option is to have the dust collector in my shop which of course then puts my breathing environment at risk. If the Felder can eliminate the small particulate wood dust and suck up sawdust and chips, it the answer to my problem. Please feel free to disagree, I am a complete novice when it comes to this stuff.
     
  13. Raul McCai

    Raul McCai

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    Felder is a 100% solution
    Use smooth steel ducting. Flex hose only at the machine. Don't use ducting for lines smaller than the port on the machine reduce only for the final leg to the machine.

    About insurance:
    Steel Ducting is necessary because your insurance company won't pay a claim if they can claim a fire started in the DC and it's not made of grounded steel. A ground wire won't do it PVC won't do. Nothing will do but grounded steel ducting. Lots of people will say lots of things about whether a spark can even propagate into a fire && I ain't speaking to that. The insurance industry has its mind all made up. So if you wanna go poly-ducting get a letter from your insurance company guaranteeing that they'll cover it (good luck on that).

    All the Felder Dust collectors in the RL series produce the same super quality output ( it's clean air) so size of the machine is only determined by the distance you have to cover. More distance to cover and you need a larger main port and ducts to match

    The Felder is not very noisy. I have table saw blades that are way louder. It completely solves the dust problem, Ya can't EVER do metal grinding into a wood dust system so If you do metal work also, like me, you gotta consider how you will separate Church from State.

    There's a fair bit of math you could do to size your ducting or you could get the guy who sells you the ducts to do the heavy lifting on that.

    The guy I used is Doug Lippy at IndustriCorp I drew my shop in detail where each machine was and gave him elevation as well as lay out drawings. Hand sketches are just fine with this guy, he's old school. He designed my system and sized my ducts for me.
    http://www.industricorp.com/
    He'll stick with you all the way through. Spend time on the phone, yadda yadda great guy

    Thing about the Felder for me was height. It's tall not as tall as most conicals but it's tall. I couldn't fit an Onida in my shop because of the height. The Felder needs 10 - 12 inches of free space over head because it pushes air out the top. The 160 is heavy. You will either need rigging experience and the gear or a small handful of friends and a couple six packs. I needed a chain fall to get it off the skid. Then I used Rented roller creepers to position it Also it requires some three feet or so in front of it because that's how you get the bags of dust out. Lower the carriage and pull. The dust and dirt are in huge poly bags that you put out on the curb. Some guys compost and re use the bags. Not me. I get my bags from MSC Direct instead of Felder; Cheaper
     
  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The answer depends a lot on the size of your lathe and what you turn. If you have a mini or midi lathe and only turn small things like spindles, pens, bottle stoppers, etc., then you might be able to have some sort of dust collection scoop close enough to catch most of the dust. Even then it would be wise to use some type of respiratory protection . The most harmful particles are the ones that you can't see because they are smaller than one micron. If you can smell the wood being turned then you're breathing wood dust.

    With a full size or larger lathe, I don't see much likelihood of catching more than a small part of the dust. However, a DC or shop vac would be great for catching dust while sanding. I would definitely use respiratory protection with larger lathes turning large pieces.
     
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  15. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    I take a three-fold approach.

    I wear a Trend Pro which I've found that I often forget I'm wearing (try scratching your nose when wearing it ...). I was ever so happy recently when a chunk came off and hit my face shield and not my face.

    I also use an overhead air filtration system. I have a PM1200 which is great as I can set it to run a few hours after I'm done. (That makes the wife happier as my shop is in the basement.)

    Finally, I have a shop vac with a big collection scoop. I've found that using this when sanding makes a big difference.

    IMG_7914.JPG

    I greatly appreciate not blowing stuff out of my nose for days !

    Rich
     
  16. Raul McCai

    Raul McCai

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    My experience is that the big bits fall to the floor and the nasty particulate stuff gets sucked up. SO I have clean up but not a lot of free floating fine particulate. Now mind you I ain't using an air sampling device. I'm just using my 5 senses plus the extra imaginary ones.

    When I'm sanding it gets pretty much everything.
     
  17. odie

    odie

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    If after a day of lathe turning, you blow your nose, and see sanding dust.......then you should be wearing some protection. This is a sure fire way of determining your need, whether or not you have powered filtration in your shop.:D

    ko
     
  18. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    I don't want to beat a dead horse just give the facts I know.
    1. There has never been a home shop explosion caused by DC. Fire maybe if you do not separate metal from wood and this includes bolts being sucked in.
    2. The type of filter used will determine how much dust gets past the DC. Since I added pleated canister (penn state) the dust in my DC room is negligible.
    3. There is no way that the DC will catch ALL of the sanding dust. I have watched the stream split at the intake some go who knows where.

    The worst thing for us as turners (woodworkers) is that we say I am just going to make a couple of cuts with no DC and no dust protection on , because the damage is cumulative and you can never go back.
     
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  19. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    I wear a good quality dust mask with the relief valve to keep my glasses from fogging up. I see some dust collecting around the edge but no farther. I have a respirator but it interferes with my glasses. I get a headache as my glasses aren't in the right position. I don't have a DC as I don't have $$$ or space for one. I use a Shop Vac with a Dust Deputy.
     
  20. Raul McCai

    Raul McCai

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    Quite so. That's why I have a clone of me on a private farm in Brazil. When I'm old I'll just have my brain installed and away I go.
     

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