Simple Jigs and Techniques #6: Fresh Air Supply Without Breaking the Bank

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 04-26-2014 12:35 AM 3996 reads 6 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: All Wood Button Catch Part 6 of Simple Jigs and Techniques series Part 7: Veneer Matching Mirrors »

Back in my boat building days I periodically had the need to spray some very toxic paints. A fresh air supply is highly recommended for these occasions but they are very expensive for infrequent use. I found this today as I was doing a deep spring turf-out of my shop and thought it might save someone a few bucks.

This is what I came up with to save my lungs without the cash outlay for a compressor operated one with filters and coolers. (The filters and coolers are to remove the oil and heat that the compressor adds to the fresh air it takes in.)

Photo #1 shows the heart of the “system”, a cheap bathroom exhaust fan. In this case it is attached to a plywood disc.

Photo #2 shows the same thing from the back with a length of 3” dryer vent hose attached.

Photo #3 is one of the back doors of my current shop. The portlight is plexiglass and can be unscrewed and replaced by the plywood fan mount.

The last one shows a two filter respirator with the other end of the hose attached. The other side of the respirator is sealed off by simply putting a piece of plastic film over the base and then screwing the filter in.

This is the system that I used to paint Friendship with nasty linear polyurethane paint. In practice it works very well. The large bore hose is a little more trouble than a small pressurized one would be but it is very light and not much of a problem at all.

When you turn on the fan the respirator is filled with fresh, cool outside air with just a slight positive pressure. Excess air goes out through the exhale valve (and any minor leaks in the seal) and there is no way any ambient (poisonous) air is getting in. The air in the shop may be thick with nasty solvents and overspray but you are smelling the daises outside the door. Of course there are other concerns such as eyes and skin contact that also have to be dealt with but this one will keep your lungs safe and happy.

The total cost, aside from the respirator which you should already have if you spray paint, is about $30.
I’ve always mounted them in some exterior surface like a door panel but it would work just as well if you just took it several feet outside the door and left it on the ground.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

22 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2713 days

#1 posted 04-26-2014 12:48 AM

Paul, You never cease to amaze! And your ‘fixes’ are always low budget and practical!

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

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 1640 days

#2 posted 04-26-2014 12:53 AM

That is ingenuity in action. Impressive.

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2698 days

#3 posted 04-26-2014 01:01 AM

Looks like a great low cost life saver!!!
I can see many an LJ copying your setup.
Kudos, for passing on the knowledge.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3326 days

#4 posted 04-26-2014 01:43 AM

gee and i thought you were coming up with a new space age bong…with this set up, that would have been quite a hit…LOL…what a great set up paul…you are a smart cookie my friend….keep your lungs clear

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20589 posts in 3129 days

#5 posted 04-26-2014 02:14 AM

Neat ideas!!................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 3389 days

#6 posted 04-26-2014 02:50 AM

Good idea. Kind of like a CPAP machine but without the humidifier.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3947 days

#7 posted 04-26-2014 02:58 AM

Home run on this one. Is it a problem keeping the mask on with the weight of the hose? Don’t get me wrong I can live with it being my electric bill was over four hundred dollars the month I did a lot of spraying because all my heat was being sucked out side, there was no snow behind my shop even when we had 8” of the white stuff.

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3184 days

#8 posted 04-26-2014 03:28 AM

Very clever.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2821 days

#9 posted 04-26-2014 03:34 AM

Bob, the hose Is really light and I usually run it over my shoulder and then attach it to my belt so I’m not towing the entire hose around with my mask.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Larry's profile


24 posts in 2710 days

#10 posted 04-26-2014 04:27 AM

Looks good, but I have a simpler solution I use. As a sleep apnea patient I get new equipment through my insurance and keep the old. I just place the pump unit out of the general area and hook several hoses (6 ft) together with pvc pipe pieces with an old mask on the end and I have positive pressure breathing air system. If you want one I see alot of the equipment on Craigslist all the time very reasonable, just make sure you clean the mask with alcohol and soap and water before use. Instruction for setting pressures are readily available for most equipment on the internet.

View Druid's profile


1766 posts in 2818 days

#11 posted 04-26-2014 05:24 AM

Great idea Paul. This would be a lot quieter than running an oil-less compressor to supply my air.
I’ll be passing this blog address along to some of my friends. Thanks.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View GnarlyErik's profile


310 posts in 2157 days

#12 posted 04-26-2014 12:47 PM

Paul, you are really quite the innovator. I’ve always thought individual boatbuilders are some of the most clever guys around to figure out how to do something without breaking the bank. You are living proof of that!

Did your house rattle during the Port Alice quake? How far do you live from there?


-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2821 days

#13 posted 04-26-2014 03:46 PM

Thanks Eric, I always said that building wooden boats nowadays was an exercise in creativity because so many of the bits and pieces you need or want aren’t available any more. I guess I’ve developed the habit of making things I need out of things meant for other uses.
No, we didn’t feel the quake here in the south but my old shop in Port Hardy would have received a good shaking.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3357 days

#14 posted 04-26-2014 07:13 PM

Great idea Paul. Innovative and cheap enough to leave no excuses for not working safely.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View tinnman65's profile


1357 posts in 3437 days

#15 posted 04-26-2014 08:14 PM

Wow Paul This is a great idea!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

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