§ by Joel Hess on November 8th, 2007
I’m keenly aware of the affects of breathing in too much dust thanks to an unfortunate attempt years ago to carve a duck decoy with a moto-tool! Now, whenever I’m sanding or routing (or doing any job that produces a lot of fine dust) I wear a dust mask. The problem with your typical dust mask is that they don’t work very well.
Believe me, this is not an area where “good enough” suffices. You certainly don’t want to scrimp on dust protection, but too often I’m using an old mask that’s past the point of effectiveness. That’s why I recently spent the money on a half-mask respirator (photo at left). I like this 3M product for several reasons, including the fact that it’s comfortable to wear and economical (they retail most places for around $10 – $12).
But the thing I like best about it is that there are a wide variety of filters available. There are cartridges and filters designed to be used when working with sawdust, as well as fiberglass insulation, pesticides, lawn chemicals, and spray finishes. The respirator I purchased didn’t come with a cartridge included, so I was able to save a little by buying just the ones I needed.