Dust strategy – Initial thoughts

As I plan to use veneered MDF in quite a few of my projects, I’ve been thinking about dust quite a lot. I’d go so far as to say I’m working on a strategy! 🙂

The dust I’m really worried about is the type it’s impossible to see (sub 10 micron) in particular the range below 2 microns, as from what I’ve read, this is not dealt with very well by the body’s usual defences (coughing and sneezing, for example), so the trick is to ensure it doesn’t get into your lungs in the first place!

Until recently I’ve been lucky with the weather and have done all the work outside, with a suitable dust mask and vacuum extraction (our trusty household Dyson DC07, which has a HEPA filter due to being one of their “Animal” range).

Bosch PKS46 circular saw with ply zero clearance base connected to Dyson

Given the recent wet weather I’ve been wondering about buying a waterproof gazebo, or maybe working inside, but in the latter case I want an extra line of defence in the form of an air filter.

(Our freezer currently lives in the garage and I want to avoid poisoning my wife, who I’m rather attached to 🙂 )

Gazebo

I’m considering buying something like this 3x3m White Pop Up Gazebo, this Kurtis 3x3m Gazebo or this Kurtis Waterproof Pop Up Gazebo from Amazon and erecting it on the drive outside the up and over door of the garage.

If I’m lucky I may be able to site it in such a way that the garage door forms a covered walkway between the workshop and the gazebo when open.

When I do anything dusty I can close the garage door to stop the dust spreading inside and use a mask and vacuum as usual.

I wouldn’t expect any gazebo to be particularly air tight (not least because it’s open on one side!), so I’d consider this a well ventilated space, with any airborne dust hopefully being diluted and dispersed fairly quickly.

My biggest concern with this option is how to secure it (I can’t exactly drive tent pegs into the concrete drive!) and where to store it when it’s not in use – I’m pushed for space as it is.

Extraction

I don’t want to risk the Dyson taking MDF dust in from the workshop and then leaking it out in the house when we use it there, so I’m going to have to stop using it, or buy a new one for the house (probably a Numatic Henry).

For the workshop I’d like to get a more suitable tool like the Numatic NVD750 which has both 32mm and 100mm hoses and can apparently filter down to 0.5 microns (although I’m still not sure whether you need the HEPA module for this).

£340 is a lot of money though (and if I need the HEPA module for MDF dust then that figure goes up another £200!)

Air filtering

There are several obvious options for workshop air filtering, such as the Microclene range and the Axminster & Jet equivalents.

Axminster claim the Jet filters down to 1 micron at 85% efficiency, so I’ve immediately discounted them.

Microclene claim to filter dust down to 0.4 microns (although I’m unable to find any indication of the efficiency) so they’re favourite here.

The HEPA specification apparently requires filtration down to 0.3 microns with 99.97% efficiency, so I started wondering about buying a HEPA air purifier instead of a workshop dust filter.

After some searching I found the 3m Filtrete FAP02 or 3m Filtrete FAP03 air purifiers, which can apparently handle 14m2 and 34m2 rooms respectively, however I’m concerned that their claims to be “better than HEPA” seem to stem at least in part from having coarser filters than the HEPA spec!

The strategy!

I think my priorities are as follows:

  1. Buy a new vacuum (probably a Numatic Henry) for the house or stop using the Dyson for woodwork
  2. Work outside as much as possible
  3. Add air filtration to the garage (probably the MC420 or the MC760)
  4. Upgrade from the Dyson DC07 to the Numatic NVD750
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3 Responses to Dust strategy – Initial thoughts

  1. Pingback: Dust strategy update | Aggravated Wood Butchery

  2. Do you think you’d be allowed to fix some reasonably substantial timber (say, 3x3in in section) to the drive, so that you could then secure a gazebo (large coach screws and washers?) to those? I can’t imagine that the weight of timber alone would be enough to prevent it from ‘taking off’ in high winds, unless you had a couple of old railway sleepers lying around.

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