My Woodworking Dust Mask/Respirator

Article - August 1, 2007

This week’s question comes from Tom and he’s asking about my my woodworking dust mask/respirator. He writes:

Did Fine Woodworking require you to wear the respirator? I wear one as needed but not for every operation. I don’t recall seeing you wear it in previous episodes. Norm doesn’t regularly wear one. Just curious.

And here was my reply:
My Woodworking Dust Mask/RespiratorI wear my respirator just about any time I make dust in the shop. I never wear a paper dust mask simply because the respirator is more comfortable, the filters last longer, and it’s much more effective at keeping the dust out. Some may consider it overkill, but there’s nothing wrong with a little overkill when it comes to protecting your lungs. One quick bit of advice: I definitely wouldn’t use woodworkers on TV (or the internet) as a model for your personal safety habits. I recommend doing your research and deciding for yourself how much protection is necessary. I tend to be a bit of a hypochondriac and I think my safety habits reflect that.

The respirator I use is the 3M 6500 with the quick-release mechanism. The size that fits my face is a Large. The filters I use are the P100 Particulate w/ Organic Vapor Relief (good for light fumes). For heavy fumes and spray finishing, I use these Organic Cartridges.

If you use a respirator regularly, you should adopt a routine cleaning regiment. Here’s how I clean mine: Clean & Maintain Your Respirator


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