Creative Woodworks & crafts 2000-11, страница 32

Creative Woodworks & crafts 2000-11, страница 32


SUBJECT i Shop Safety

by Wes Demurest

S.A.W. Conference

The Scrollsaw Association of the World held their annual conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on April 8th and 9th of this year. At their members' contest, as expected, the entries were incredible, and I do not envy the judges. Awarding Best of the Best to John Gillitzcr of Verona, Wisconsin for his 23rd Psalm was an outstanding choice.

If you are looldng for an organization that is strictly dedicated to scroll sawing, S.A.W. is for you. Your dues include a worldwide directory of members and a quarterly newsletter that alone is worth the cost. For more information, contact Pat Lupori at (847) 546-1319 or email

Wood dust

For those of you who have read my column in the past, you may have noticcd the closing remark admonishing you not to breathe the sawdust. Hopefully, you have heeded my suggestion and have been taking precautions regarding a seemingly harmless shop nuisance. If not, please think about your exposure to the particles that are blown into your facc while you arc cutting.

It didn't take me long to associate my bronchial congestion with my scroll saw activities. It seems that the scroll saw generates as much harmful dust as any other woodworking activity and, in my estimation, is a greater risk than you think. To elaborate, the majority of scroll sawyers are not set up in a dedicated wood shop. We tend to use space not otherwise occupied by household essentials, and in some instances, we push these items aside to make room for an evening of scrolling.

Like me, I'm sure you have been advised (read (hat scolded) by your spouse about your sawdust getting on everything in the house— and that you need to do something about it. How is it that no matter how wc seal the basement or garage, the dust still finds its way to the dining room tabic? Our usual comment is that we arc working on it and that with the outlay of several hundred more dollars, you will have the problem fixed and the house will never be afflicted with any dust again, much less yours! If you are a person who enjoys a bit of sport with your spouse, tell them you will buy a new feather duster just to make their life easier.

A while back, 1 found an internet address for the US Department of Health and Human Services and tried a search on "sawdust" but received nothing. Through continued searches, I learned that the proper term is "wood dust" which gave me the results I was looking for, including an address to write to for an information packet, which 1 did. Government publications are technically written which can he challenging reading; however, they are well-documented. The pack includes four separate publications and a

Verona, Wisconsin with his 23rd Psalm.

problem in my shop

Rear view of the fan and filter assembly,

copy of recent Federal Register rules and regulations, plus a list of references six pages long. Check out these titles, "Health Effects of Exposure to Wood Dust, a Summary of the Literature," "What to Do About Softwood? A Review of Respiratory Effects and Recommendations Regarding Exposure," "Carcinogenic Effects of Wood Dust: Review and Discussion." and "Wood Dust and Nasal Cancer."

Strangely enough, I have heard many of the medical terms referenced in these documents because 1 have known several people who have died from associated diseases. Coincidentally. they happened to have been woodworkers. Canccr is not the only risk. You can develop asthma along with other nonmalignant respiratory ailments that can become chronic. It is not just the lungs that are affected either. Your sinus passages are also subject to damage. There is even the suspicion of a relationship to stomach canccr. And, of course, as if you didn't know, the risk is greatly compounded if you arc a smoker, use carcinogenic solvents and finishes, or arc exposed to urea-formaldehyde glues. Glues, you ask? Yes, fellow culler, glues! If you cut plywood, you are more than likely being exposed to it in the dust you are creating, as thai is the common glue base used in the laminating process of plywood manufacturing.

The current standard for exposure to sawdust enforced by OSHA is 5 milligrams per cubic meter; however, they would like to see this standard reduced to 1 milligram per cubic meter, plus they have a time exposure limit for the working period. Visit their website,, for the actual exposure tables. For us, we need to be concerned with the size of the particlcs, exposure concentration, and duration. Wood dust smaller than 10 microns is not visible and the most dangerous. (I luman hair is 70 lo 100 microns thick.)

So what do we do about it? Here is my present method for reducing my exposure. A simpler version would be to tape a fornacc fil-directly onto the face of a box fan, but I had this extra fan and merely put a 2" x 4" frame around it. The bucket to which the 4" vacuum hose is attached was left over from a plant we bought from a nursery. Ultimately, I will install a cyclone system, plus two more-efficient overhead filters with a capacity of .5 micron dust. Then, maybe, it will not require a hot steamy shower to get my breathing in order.

Finally, if you think that this exposure is limited to those of us working inside, you are wrong. Sawmill workers and loggers are just as much at risk as we are. For some reason, studies are showing that dust generated processing green wood maybe even more dangerous. And you thought that cutting down your own Christmas tree would be the least hazardous pursuit of the year! a

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