Garage Re-Do #15: Coughing - Gagging?

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Blog entry by MyOldGarage posted 02-24-2009 11:27 PM 1748 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Super Sucker Success (Try saying that three times!) Part 15 of Garage Re-Do series Part 16: Air Filter Arrived! »

At first I thought it was just my imagination. I took some deep breaths this morning and felt very constricted and tight in my chest. I was just coming down the hall when I heard my wife Peggy also blowing her nose and sounding congested. We talked and neither one of us was experiencing any symptoms like that until last night’s cutting on the garbage can holder.

We decided that the bag filter system was definitely next on the “must-do” items to help our health. Today I called Wynn Environmental and placed an order for a 9E300BL that I will be retrofitting on to my Grizzly 1 1/2 horse dust collector. I plan on taking a lot of photos of the conversion and any pitfalls I run into. I’m also thinking about that machine placement also. I might have to give-up my current chop-saw location (hot sparks) but I think moving and having one collector pipe might not be a bad thing.

-- Bradley Miller, Blue Springs, MO -

17 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3786 days

#1 posted 02-24-2009 11:44 PM

look forward to seeing the pics look get yourself checked oput if you have tightness in your chest.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3946 days

#2 posted 02-25-2009 12:22 AM

The lower cost dust collector bags don’t do much for the fine dust. I replaced the bags on my Shop Fox DC with some shaker felt bags from Penn State Industries. This difference it makes is unbelievable.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3929 days

#3 posted 02-25-2009 12:48 AM

do you know how many microns the grizly started with? I think I’ve heard 25 microns. I think 1 micron is reaonable for an amateur that plans to work regularly, but I think the filters are even better than that.

View 8iowa's profile


1587 posts in 3962 days

#4 posted 02-25-2009 12:58 AM

Some types of wood dust are very toxic. Our lungs have about four acres of surface area, thus anything toxic that we breath in goes into our blood stream very fast.

Get a 1 micron bag. I just put the 42” 1 micron bag on top of my DC3300.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3643 days

#5 posted 02-25-2009 05:16 AM

Never mind yourself, how could you let all that dust get on the MG!!!!!

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3815 days

#6 posted 02-25-2009 05:53 AM

Yeah, right! Last night’s cutting on the garbage can holder must be the problem!

Like one project’s cutting leads to that kind of problem! Let’s be real, here! Most people suffer these kinds of problems after years of exposure to wood dust. How much of this is psychosomatic? I saw your project – is that enough to cause this? Probably not! See a psychiatrist before you blame it all on woodworking!

I’m not saying that breathing wood dust is not problematic. I am saying that one project – particularly of the scale you are talking – is not enough to cause these problems! You people have a problem, all right, but it probably doesn’t have anything to do with wood working. See someone about your messianist tendencies before posting again!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View MyOldGarage's profile


93 posts in 3629 days

#7 posted 02-25-2009 01:47 PM

It’s not just the cutting—the bags on the dust collector are very porous and I suspect that the amount of tme I had it on (45+ minutes) made the air very laden with not only what I had cut but the past ?? years worth of dust still lurking in that bag. The workshop that the dust collector came out of was coated EVERYWHERE in dust very thickly. Now if anyone wants to argue the virtues of a dust collector as mainly a big fine dust pump—go right ahead. I’ve paid attention to a lot of photos and setups on dust collection and the common thing I see in photos is no chips, but very fine dust particles everywhere. I know also real symptoms and when I can blow my nose and get goobery icky looking stuff after just blowing out dust from a piece of machinery—that’s proof enough for me.

-- Bradley Miller, Blue Springs, MO -

View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3815 days

#8 posted 02-25-2009 02:58 PM

Maybe, and I emphasize maybe , the accumulation of sawdust over many years in a used dust collector could contribute to this. I see continual harping here about the dangers of sawdust and what a health hazard it is. What a load of bull – most people who suffer from sawdust inhalation work at it for a living – 40 hours (or more) a week for many. many years OR had an underlying health problem that contributed (asthmatics are particularly sensitive) before there are any ill effects. The normal weekend woodworker simply does not generate enough sawdust to cause these kinds of problems. Most would be better off worrying about being hit by a meteor. My grandfather worked in a small shop without any dust collection for 30 years without suffering any ill effects. My father had his woodshop in the basement of our house with no dust collection for 20 years, raised 7 kids and smoked. I myself ran my woodshop, with no dust collection, in the basement of my house for 10 years before moving to the garage. I raised one child and a multitude of cats in this environment and I smoke too. Three generations, at least a dozen people that would have been affected and none of us ever suffered the symptoms you spoke of.

I only recently started adding dust collection to my tools because I got tired of sweeping it up NOT because of any health hazards. There is one exception that I do get real nervous about – treated lumber. When I built my deck a few years ago out of treated lumber, I did all the work outside, wore a mask and cleaned/disposed of the sawdust every day. Anything that is deliberately treated to kill insects probably will do a good job on humans too.

If your dust collector causes these problems then I think you are better off without no dust collection at all.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View MyOldGarage's profile


93 posts in 3629 days

#9 posted 02-25-2009 03:58 PM

@EEngineer—I would suggest perhaps doing some research rather than just implied data from your own anecdotal experiences. My wife used to be in an environment with cats/dogs and this year she’s not missed any work due to sinus/congestion problems. As for me, the dust collector upgrade + purchase price will still be less than what some people are spending on brand new equipment and it’ll be ALOT better at filtering than that. It sounds like with your logic if you let your kid/family/etc.. run across a highway and they never get hit—it must be a great idea for everyone to do that. My grandfather had a small workshop and ran his own garage/farm implement business . . . he was around a lot of things that now are probably proven to cause cancer in mice in California. God knows our timeline. Bottom line is if you dismiss the issue as trivial are you putting someone at risk? Let’s err on the side of caution especially if a good compromise is pretty cheap. As anyone who’s been to a doctor and medication recently can relate—$85 for an improved filtering system is pretty cheap insurance. To each their own, but I suspect that one person’s “load of bull” is hardly going to change the opinion of the people that consider the enjoyment of their hobby. I never said “stop woodworking” . . . just enjoy it healthier. :-)

-- Bradley Miller, Blue Springs, MO -

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4076 days

#10 posted 02-25-2009 04:48 PM

I think that in a lot of ways, no dust collection is better than the bag-style collectors. If you have no collection, the dust and chips are kicked into the air by the tool, and then fall. With a bag-style collector, the fines are continually blown into the air, creating a constant dust cloud for you to breathe.

-- -- --

View MyOldGarage's profile


93 posts in 3629 days

#11 posted 02-25-2009 04:55 PM

I agree to a certain degree on the bag-style collectors also—that’s why it’s worth it to me to change to a cannister style with finer filtering. I’m very anxious to see how things improve with it especially when it comes to sanding. It was interesting looking at the one page and seeing how much particulates are put in the air when the blade is burning wood, another good reason to make sure your tools are in tip-top shape and alignment.

-- Bradley Miller, Blue Springs, MO -

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3850 days

#12 posted 02-25-2009 05:19 PM

I have to disagree to a certain degree with EEngineer on this one. As always – when we deal with generalizing anything, we cannot use individual cases as proof that the general concept is false. generalizing deals with statistics, and accumulation of a vast number of cases that all paint a ‘general’ picture.

some people are more sensitive then others, and in this case I do agree with EEngineer – many of us (heck, maybe even me) are also phychololgically sensitive to things that our body is physically NOT sensitive to.

With that said, and with what we know today to be hazardous, I’d rather be cautious, and use preventative measures than to say “I wish I did” 20 years from now.

As you can see in my blog – I did replace my crappy 30 micron dust bags with a 0.3micron filter from Wynn Env. I notice a night-and-day difference! Thank you Wynn Env. :) shame on you everyone else that even sell 30 micron bags to the mass market… It seems counter efficient.

After taking the original 30 micron bag off, I dusted it off, vacuumed it, and air blew it – it was amazing how much dust was coming out of it (took me 30 min to change it’s color from beige/cream – back to white)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3815 days

#13 posted 02-26-2009 07:19 AM

MyOldGarage -

Collect all the facts, eh? Fact is, I have researched it. Can you point me to one double-blind test about sawdust inhalation? No. Most of the info on the web is self-serving anecdotal evidence – usually by some enterprise or person that makes a lot of money from dust collection systems. Pardon me if I take that with a grain of salt. As for your personal anecdotal evidence – I don’t buy it! My personal anecdotal evidence contradicts it. The fact of the matter is, all the votes are not in on the dangers of breathing sawdust.

PurpLev brought up an interesting point – “As always – when we deal with generalizing anything, we cannot use individual cases as proof that the general concept is false.” The converse is also true – we cannot use individual cases as proof that the general concept is true either. And that’s what you are asking – that we accept your personal case as proof that sawdust is harmful. That way leads to peach pits for treating cancer and Mexican clinics that make vast fortunes while doing nothing to actually treat cancer.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4076 days

#14 posted 02-26-2009 04:03 PM

I love this thread! It’s just hilarious! Who knew there was an argument about whether we should want to breathe sawdust? Who knew it would upset someone else if I want to do a better job of collecting the dust in my own shop?

And I’m just envisioning taking EE’s advice and making an appointment with a shrink … so I would walk in and say, “Hi, doc … the trouble is that everytime I breathe a bunch of sawdust I start coughing, but I’m sure it must be psychosomatic because there’s never been a double-blind test showing that sawdust makes you cough.” I’m sure I would be under a psychologist’s care for a long time after that!

So let’s just say that it is psychosomatic: I cough because I think it’s bad for me, not because my lungs are actually reacting to an irritant. Two options: 1) I can get dust collection that I think is collecting the dust, then I will think I’m not breathing the dust, and I will not think that I need to cough; or 2) I can go see a shrink to try to get them to convince me that I don’t need to cough when I come in contact with dust. Hmmm … a few thousand for a shrink who will probably decide I’m crazy when I state my problem, or a few hundered for good dust collection that will also help keep my shop clean … tough choice!

Thanks for this thread! I’ve had a really rough couple of days, and I needed a good laugh!

-- -- --

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3639 days

#15 posted 03-08-2009 12:08 AM

I wasn’t getting enough sawdust in my system the old fashioned way, so I now have a healthy serving for breakfast. I’m even considering putting a few handfuls in my HVAC ducting so I get the treatment while I sleep.

All this concern is hogwash. EE is a genius. Though I bet I bring the oxygen bottle home first.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

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