Danger Will Robinson! Danger! The importance of good air and PPE in your shop

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
Just thought I'd give everyone a reminder about the importance of good PPE; especially masks for your lungs.

I ended up in the hospital last week for three days from an unknown lung problem. First diagnosed as Pneumonia it turns out they do not know for certain what I had, other than I most likely breathed it in. They ruled out Covid and the Flu quickly and were left with a big unknown.

It's possible that I could have breathed dust, or something else, in from other sources than my shop, but I think most of us are aware of the history of lung problems among knife-makers.

I've always been reasonably vigilant about using a mask, and a reasonably good one at that. I've been using a 3M half Mask with P100 filters for sometime now. However when I've been in a hurry to fix something really quick, say for 10 seconds or so, I haven't put my mask on.

I think many of us have done the same. So unless you want an Oxygen level of 60% and the feeling you're going to die any minute please wear your mask!!

Good shop air and filtration is also important. If your shop has dust hanging in the air, and you remove your mask, you've just defeated the whole purpose of the mask. As a result I've installed a simple box fan with two air filters attached to the input side to clear the air in the shop. It works very well and is cheap. Money well spent

My pulmonologist has now banned me from my shop for three weeks. Then I get a CT Scan to see if I can return safely to making knives. I certainly hope so.

Not trying to scare anyone....wait yes I am. So please proceed safely

Any questions or comments are welcome
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
Damn Sean, I hope everything clears up for you. your right, a good mask is an absolute in the shop.
years ago a very good friend of mine who was one of the knifemakers that taught me how to make liner lock folders came down with lung cancer.
during my last time talking with him I asked him if he thought if knifemaking had anything to do with it, his answer was, definitely. he also thought G10 contributed to it. he was a good man.
I'll never forget that conversation.

As for losing breath, I had a collapsed lung from a major surgery about 14 years ago, I thought I was dying, I couldn't breath.
the next morning I went to the hospital, they stuck a one foot needle in my back and removed two and a half liters of fluid that had built up behind my lung. it was caused by Ascites, that was the third time I had to have that done in as many weeks. that was a bad year for me I saw the Reaper a few times.
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the replies everyone. While I'll never be a great knife maker I'd like to settle for being a decent one. I really enjoy the process. If I can't so be it, but I will surely miss it if it comes to that.
However my breathing is almost at normal capacity again. So hopefully that's a good sign.

I'll keep you guys posted.
 

REK Knives

Well-Known Member
Wow hope your back up and running soon! That has got to blow no matter how you look at it.

Yeah I've gotta be better about making sure I don't do those 10 second grinder hits just because it's "real quick" - thanks for the reminder.

It also reminds me I need a good dust collection system this year at some point!
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
Wow hope your back up and running soon! That has got to blow no matter how you look at it.

Yeah I've gotta be better about making sure I don't do those 10 second grinder hits just because it's "real quick" - thanks for the reminder.

It also reminds me I need a good dust collection system this year at some point!
I'm going to be researching dust systems quite a bit now. However I've read warnings about too much metal/wood dust collection may not be a good thing. A risk of fire.

So again a trade-off between your lungs and setting your garage, shop, etc on fire. Since I'm somewhat side-lined I'll be researching options. I'll post what I find out. Probably in a separate thread.
 

coachk

Well-Known Member
I installed a 2hp dust collector and vent it straight outside into my back yard...has worked pretty well for me! I'm the worst about not using a mask even though i know i should be...need to get back to wearing one and i'm gonna try the box fan idea too. Hope ya get back to normal quick!
 

chrisstaniar

Well-Known Member
I have a small enclosed shop and have a similar dust problem. I hooked up a duct fan that blows directly outside through a one-way vent. I was also concerned about the fire hazards of the dust collection systems.

It works pretty well, I can feel the breeze coming through my shop door so I know it's getting the bad stuff out and reducing dust all over everything in my shop.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
That has crossed my mind. I haven't made any folders as yet. But that's a possibility.
Steve has a great point. folders are a great change of pace. It’s a lot more like tinkering than building. It’s a much slower, more thoughtful process and a ton less grinding. Great way to convalesce.
 

vlegski

Well-Known Member
I concur with Seans point about fires in Dust removal systems. I concocted a system based on several ideas from various forums. Seemed to work until one day while grinding I smelled something and happened to look down outtake pipe. Large glowing ember of metal shaving slowly cooking a hole on the pipe. Needless to say that systems gone.
 

CDHumiston

KNIFE MAKER
Thanks for the heads up! I work out of my garage. I always leave the roll up door up. I also have all my machines on wheels. I move them right to the edge of the open door and sometimes even outside. When grinding steel, I use a lot of water and even a mister a lot of the time. This helps keep the metal dust and particles down.

I think I'll invest in one of these air filtration things anyhow...I'm also going to get a monitor to see if it helps.
 
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