A woodshop is a fun place to be, and working with wood is a great and relaxing hobby to have. And a safe one, you would think, just so long as you practice safe techniques around all of the sharp blades that fill any whop that works on wood.
You would be wrong. Not about needing to be safe around high powered machinery with sharp rotating blades. That goes without saying. You would be wrong to think that just paying attention to that one thing would keep you safe. If you do, you have not been paying attention to all the things that can go wrong with your lungs over time.
Fine particles of wood dust that hang in the air of any woodworking operation are the types of particles that are very damaging to lung tissue over time. Every little spec of wood or whatever that gets into you lungs causes just a little bit of damage. That damage is repaired and leaves scar tissue. Though those little bits of scar tissue are microscopic, they build up over time. And i conjunction with other factors, they can have quite a negative impact on lung function after years of exposure.
If you don’t want to be enjoying your retirement years strapped to an oxygen tank, you had better put a shop vacuum system on your woodshop bucket list. And you should be looking at the best system you can afford. Your lungs and your health are not the places you want to be saving money when it comes to affording to fund your hobby.
You should be looking for a good quality cyclone dust collector. And you should spend some time designing the system using the highest quality components you can afford. A well designed cyclone system will not only do a great job keeping your shop floor clean of the sawdust and wood chips that are the inevitable leftovers of any wood cutting or finishing operations, it will also remove a large portion of the fine dust that your machines produce. It does this by virtue of its two stage process. The cyclone to remove the larger chips and a fine pleated filter to remove the smaller dust particles.
And though a good system will take care of the lions share of the dust, there will still be fine particles floating around in the air. Particles that you can’t even see. In order to take care of these fine particles, consider going one more step and installing a shop air filtration system.
Those are th boxes that you see hanging in the ceilings of some shops. They run for a while after the machines stop and cycle all the air from the shop through a series of filters designed to get all the air in the shop HEPA clean. If you take one more step and wear a dust mask in the times when you are creating the most dust in your shop, there is no reason you can’t have years of fun enjoying your wood working hobby and still have the breath to enjoy actually doing things after you retire.