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  • dust mask

    Hello' first I want to say this is an excellent forum,especially for a rookie like me. I would like to know about dust masks that are very comfortable and actually do what they are intended to do for a reasonable price. Any opinions or advise would be appreciated.



  • #2
    Depends on how much protection you want. For full protection, you want one NIOSH rated at P100 (that is a HEPA grade filter that will remove 99.9% of the particulates). P95 will remove 95%. P95 will work for most woodworking applications unless you are sanding very hard wood with very fine sandpaper. That said, if you are working with a toxic wood or have asthma or any lung impairment, go for the full HEPA rating.
    The ones with the little elastic band are light, but will leak. For good protection and comfort, get one with a silicone rubber face piece and replaceable filters. The silicone rubber ones are more comfortable than the harder natural rubber. 3M makes a variety of very good ones but they aren't cheap.
    If you also plan to use it to protect from paint fumes, the filter will need to be rated for OV (organic vapors) as well.
    After using it, if you find dust/paint mist on the bridge of your nose under it, the mask is too large or sitting too high off your nose. If the dust/paint mist is at the base of the nose around your nostrils, the mask is too small or too flat for your nose.
    IMHO, if it doesn't have a NIOSH rating on the box or filter, it isn't worth what you pay for it, regardless of how inexpensive it is.

    Practicing at practical wood working


    • #3
      I wonder how my plaid hankerchief would rate?


      • #4
        IMHO, better than nothing, When I first started painting acft 38 years ago, (before even the DOD supplied respirators for the workers) I was advised to take up chewing tobacco, because spitting the stuff out was better than swallowing it (we sprayed a lot of zinc chromate). I used a bandanna for a lot of years but didn't have any plaid ones (Hope you don't wear striped shirts with that!!) According to some studies, I was dead 10 years ago!!
        I don't want to belittle the importance of the topic, as you only get one set of lungs and they have to last all your life. I have worked with people who would not get near a smoking area due to second-hand smoke, but wouldn't wear their respirator when sanding boron composites, because it was "too hot" or "too restrictive". Some will live to a ripe old age and some will die young.
        The best advice I have is: Learn what you can about the hazards you are working with and then use common sense. Your brain is the best safety device you have, but you have to use it for it to be effective.
        Last edited by Gofor; 12-28-2006, 06:14 PM.
        Practicing at practical wood working


        • #5
          Try going to an automotive paint supply store if you don't like the selection at the local hardware store. They should have several different types and sizes and should have some good incite into what you want. The hazards facing auto painters and refinishers are much worse than most things you'd run into woodworking.


          • #6
            I like this one

            I just got a respirator for sanding and glue vapors while doing cabinets refacing. I have used a few that were rated for asbestos in my time, and they are usually hot and heavy in a bad way. This one is pretty good though, and I convinced my girlfriend to cop for it since she got me to quit smoking so the price for me was just being a manipulative jerk .
            But seriously, it is as comfortable as I have tried and the drop down feature is really good for giving the ol' face piece a rest every now and then. I am glad I got it and use it every time I should so far. It also makes a good seal even with my facial hair and glasses work with it too.
            It is a bit pricey but I think I have spent as much on dustmasks that got crushed or thrown away after being used once or twice for sure.

            Here is the link

            A good carpenter makes few mistakes, a great carpenter can fix his own.


            • #7
              Also try looking for Industrial Supply Houses or places listed under Safety Equipment. If you have any coal mining in your area they know all about the hazards of fine coal dust and should be able to help.


              • #8
                The best protection...

                In one of my OSHA HAZMAT recertification classes, I had an instructor who offered some invaluable advice. According to him, the best protection is the protection you wear EVERY time.

                I've got enough resperatory protective gear to get me through the next 3 or 4 Biblical plagues, but I ALWAYS wear that plaid hankerchief when I'm in the shop. I'll put on a proper resperator or at least a paper mask when I'm sanding down the filler on a piece of red oak, IF I remember to grab the thing off the shelf. More often than not, I'll get busy doing or thinking about something else until I get the first whiff of dust, then I'll think to drag the ol' plaid hankerchief up across my snoot so I don't choke. That plaid hankerchief has filtered more dust than any other piece of equipment in my shop. It's the protection I always have with me, even if I'd be better off using something more sophisticated.

                I just need better habits, not better equipment.


                • #9
                  I have the same AO Dual Pro and it came with the p100 catridges. I like the drop latch feature. No more strangling mask hanging around my neck. I picked it up at Lowes for $40.


                  • #10
                    Re: dust mask

                    I have one of the junky ones and keep it on my toolbox latch.


                    • #11
                      Re: dust mask

                      Here is the one i use when doing any woodworking indoors. Its comfortable, fits well (no leaks), is relatively inexpensive (20.00 CDN), and is NIOSH approved for N95.



                      • #12
                        Re: dust mask

                        I used to use a simple dust mask that was rated for sanding dust. But a) I have kind of a big nose and it was leaving gaps where dust was coming in (and dirtying the area near my nostrils) and b) my shop is very small and dust just lingers. In recent projects I was seriously feeling like I was coughing up a very nasty small fish, I has so much dust-induced phlegm.

                        So I picked up a Trend Airsheld ($$$$!!!) It fit and was comfortable, and I like that it covers the whole face and was also a face shield... BUT, my ceilings are low and the head band touched the ceiling. Also, for nearly $300 it had pretty shoddy fit & finish (lots of plastic connectors... felt flimsy).
                        So I returned it and got this powered respirator from Woodcraft

                        Cost a bit over $60. Has a silicone mask, replaceable pre-filters, replaceable main filter and runs on normal AA batteries, with very unobtrusive head bands. Honestly, I'm not sure of the micro-level of filtration, but I'm satisfied with it. All in all I like it, and my family has even commented that I'm sniffling a lot less after working on things.


                        • #13
                          Re: dust mask

                          I am a believer in quality respirators, safety/industrial supply houses will have the largest selections. Some brands that come to mind that I have used in the past are WILSON, NORTH, A/0 & 3M.

                          By all means, get something comfortable or you will find yourself not wearing it as you should.