Lung Cancer and Air filtration #1: Request for shop made air filtation system suggestions

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Blog entry by Toolz posted 12-11-2011 05:59 PM 2566 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Lung Cancer and Air filtration series Part 2: Good News, Bad news, Good News, Bad News, ZGood News, and finally Home »

I was diagnosed with stage one lung cancer last Tuesday and will be having the top lobe of my lright lung removed shortly. Yes I was a smoker for 49 years. The CAT scan and PET scans show that it has not spread and is only in that one spot so the prognosis is great. I am staying positive and have been “smoke free” for almost a week now. I do need to come up with a really good airborn dust management system for the shop after my recovery period. Anyone who has a really good setup or suggestions for a large shop (24×44 with high ceilings) please.feel welcome to suggest your solutions.
Thanks, Larry

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

13 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3138 days

#1 posted 12-11-2011 06:05 PM

I’m so sorry. That’s flat-out horrible to hear.

Aside from a relatively well-performing Harbor Freight 2HP DC that I’ve modified, I also use a 3M 7500 half-face respirator, a JDS 750 air filtration unit, AND a shop-built air cleaner with 12hr timer. I find the combination works quite well.

Best of luck to you !

-- -- Neil

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4125 days

#2 posted 12-11-2011 06:11 PM

I can’t help you with the air filtration but I can send good thoughts your way for a speedy and full recovery.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2847 days

#3 posted 12-11-2011 06:30 PM

The most effective way to keep the air clean in your shop is to effectively capture it at the source, ie. before it is spewed into the air. Even with the best air filter, you’re going to be breathing in the dust for awhile until the air filter is able to capture it. I don’t use an ambient air filter as the DC does a great job in collecting the dust before it is shot out into the shop. Bill Pentz is a WW who developed serious lung problems from wood dust; here is his DC solution:

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View nikko18's profile


15 posts in 2656 days

#4 posted 12-11-2011 06:41 PM

I’m sorry about your diagnosis, but at stage 1 your odds are so much better. About dust, + 1 on reading Bill Pentz’s web pages. Also I would caution you to never trust manufacturer’s specs. Even if they do do through testing, which most don’t, they do not report ranges. I would test your equipment in your shop and make sure youare picking up fine dust. Also wear a mask working with hand tools, there is still dust, less, but still there.

Good luck to you.

-- Time flys like an arrow, fruit flies like a bannana

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3707 days

#5 posted 12-11-2011 06:52 PM

Thanks folks, I do have a decent dc with chip separator for the big machines and a shop vac with a cyclone I use when sanding. I do get most of the bigger stuff but was thinking of something to hang from a ceiling as well as maybe a downdraft sanding table. At this point I am just gathering information and thoughts. I don’t have time before surgery to make anything and it may be spring before I will be able to get back into the shop. Thanks again for the suggestions.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3273 days

#6 posted 12-11-2011 07:04 PM

I have four air scrubbers in my shop since i do alot of grinding and sanding that my cyclone cannot capture. One is a store bought Jet aid cleaner and the other three are ones I built from squirrel cage blower units that came from central air condition units. It is easy to build a plywood box to house it and use a good filter on the intake side. The ones I made have wheels so i can roll them around the shop.
Cost to build is only the cost of plywood and the filter. I use a washable electrostatic filter in each one so I don’t constantly have to purchase replacable filters.
They work great.

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 3599 days

#7 posted 12-11-2011 07:16 PM

Apart from all the good suggestions above perhaps you might look at the Trend air shield.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2982 days

#8 posted 12-12-2011 01:19 AM

I would suggest a couple of air cleaners hung from the ceiling on either side of the room so the air will circulate in a circle around the room and the filters will pick up quite a lot of it. I have a Jet and a 20” x 24” shop.

Good luck on your recovery!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2654 days

#9 posted 12-12-2011 04:51 AM

My thoughts are with you during this ordeal. After your are recovered I would look into a mask/filter type set up as I don’t think you can create a dust free environment in a wood shop. You’re going to inhale some before the dust filter can grab it. Those masks are cumbersome but are said to offer the best form of protection. Good luck and best wishes.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View 58j35bonanza's profile


395 posts in 2657 days

#10 posted 12-12-2011 04:57 AM

Hope you have a speedy recovery.
I also quit smoking. I am going on my second month now. It is hard but worth it.

-- Chuck

View dbhost's profile


5705 posts in 3196 days

#11 posted 12-12-2011 11:46 PM

First off, my prayers for your speedy recovery and absolute remission. Secondly, it all depends on your budget, and how much effort / cost you are willing or able to spend for dust collection efforts…

I have a Harbor Freight 2HP DC with a spun bond poly filter and separator system per Bill Pentz suggestions. Now this is a BARE MINIMUM setup, and far from ideal…

If money were no object, I would go with a 3HP single phase ClearVue Cyclone and an ambient filter system.

For my ambient filter I use a Grizzly G0572 fitted with a PSI first stage filter and am very happy with the results. I hung it near a corner by my biggest dust producers (Table saw and miter saw) at an angle so that the air flows in a circular fashion. It works quite well, although I do need to keep working on my dust hoods…

You will end up having to modify / build dust ports / hoods for your equipment. Pretty much everything on the market stinks as far as dust collection is concerned. Miter saws are about the worst offenders… I HIGHLY recommend you keep a keen eye toward improving the ports / collection points at the tools. The less dust that escapes the tool itself, the less chance there is to breathe that dust.

One upgrade you may not have considered, is a dust port equipped blade guard. The finest one on the market I know of is the Shark Guard…. Check out Lee’s work, I am sure you’ll be happy with it…

I quit smoking twice. Once in 1994 when my ex told me I couldn’t do it (“I’ll show you who can’t do what!”) and the second time in 2005, after picking the habit back up during the divorce… I got sick as a dog with pnuemonia and couldn’t smoke for a month…

Funny thing. The first time I quit, I always had the craving, the second time, not a single craving after that first month… I wish you the best of success with your quit smoking efforts…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3116 days

#12 posted 12-12-2011 11:58 PM

Here is some very good information on Air Cleaners from Fine Woodworking.

They published an article about air cleaners, with corrections after some tough criticism.. Its available for free.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2640 days

#13 posted 01-25-2012 09:12 PM

I have been a proponent of a home made unit that utilizes filters that can be purchased locally and relatively inexpensively. I think the filter inside that cheaper filter should be rated for the half micron dust that really harms us. Those are not so cheap but then neither is your health. A good central collection system should be imperative. Bill Pentz probably has the best design on this unit. Clear Vue uses his design in their units and I see that they are not anymore expensive that the other people for the same HP ratings. They just don’t sell the cheap lines. Sanding tables such as the one found in Lumber Jocks and built by David Grimes are a must. That is the dust that we cannot expel from our lungs. Having had a family member that smoked and had cancer I will say that he could not be around smoke after surgery. One of those things his body couldn’t tolerate any longer. I think the suggestion of the half mask is good. You would probably do well with a mask that pushes clean air into it.
We will keep you in our prayers as you recover.

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