Severe/Cronic Asthmatic and Woodworking

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by Steve posted 11-07-2012 11:39 AM 2914 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Steve's profile


16 posts in 3746 days

11-07-2012 11:39 AM

I enjoy woodworking, but have recently discovered that I am severely allergic to every wood imaginable to man. This sets off a severe asthma attack. Does anyone have any hints/suggestions on what to do to prevent this from happening. Any suggestions on a air filter/dust filter system? Thanks, Steve

10 replies so far

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2962 days

#1 posted 11-07-2012 12:19 PM

I don’t know what to suggest other than a souped up air filtration system, Festool HEPA vacuum to attach to all your powertools and this, or something similiar

The reviews are worth a look.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3230 days

#2 posted 11-07-2012 12:55 PM

I have allergies and get an allergy shot every week. I’m not allergic to wood, but I wear a respirator that I bought at an auto-parts store that was for painting cars. It’s supposed to block vapors, so microscopic wood particles should be blocked. It took a while to get used to wearing it, but it’s much better than the health issues that might develop from woodworking. The most used tool in my shop is a carving duplicator with an exposed router bit that spews wood chips and dust in all directions. When I run it and most other tools, I also wear a full face shield and ear muffs.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2103 days

#3 posted 11-07-2012 04:03 PM

I have the Triton respirator. It takes some time getting use to the weight but it works very well in dusty environments. The biggest disadvantage is that the battery pack is not removable.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View JuniorJoiner's profile


486 posts in 3433 days

#4 posted 11-07-2012 04:24 PM

get the best dust collection and ambient air cleaners you can for your power tools(wynn filters would be a good upgrade), and try to stick to hand tools when you can. It’s hard to breathe in a shaving.
I use a confo II mask and that works with my beard if i keep it short. fairly cheap.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3129 days

#5 posted 11-07-2012 05:40 PM

Some people construct a Thien separator appropriately sized for their DC and then exhaust the DC directly outside without any filter whatsoever and report that they don’t see any accumulation of sawdust outside. Apparently the small amount that doesn’t get trapped by the Thien separator simply blows away. This won’t work for every situation, but if it works for yours it minimizes cost and maintenance and maximizes airflow. Also, no chance of recirculating dust that passes through the filter back into your work space.

You still might need a powered respirator though.

Bill Pentz has posted a lot of info on dust collection. He also seems very sensitive to wood dust. Many people do just fine without working as hard on dust collection as Mr. Pentz suggests, but in your case it might just be worthwhile to try his ideas.

-- Greg D.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3681 days

#6 posted 11-07-2012 10:19 PM

A Homepathic friend of mine suggested this product for ALL of my allergies , and it hasn’t failed me yet.
I was just working with some Jatoba that made my skin crawl , took two of these and in no time I was back to my project. : ) No side effects !!
I also have asthma and I take this at different times of the year to ease allergy related asthma symptoms.
I also use a great dust collector and have 3 dust filters running in my shop while working there.
Sometimes I use a mask depending on what I’m working with just for added insurance : )
They recently changed the product name , but still the same great , all natural ,non-drowsy formula : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Thermaloy's profile


21 posts in 2021 days

#7 posted 11-08-2012 12:34 AM

If you consider wood carving you will reduce the amount of wood dust in your atmosphere to almost zero, until you start sanding the product. When my mind turns to carving the tools are all hand-held, extremely sharp and honed against jeweller’s rouge on a leather strop. Again, zero pollution. Thin gloves to protect your hands without reducing the ‘feel’ of your work, and as good a breathing mask as you can find and afford. For me, carving is non-machinery time and sitting comfortably.

-- Thermaloy

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2991 days

#8 posted 11-08-2012 01:10 AM

Switch to hand tools. It stops being a primary respiratory problem.

That said, don’t push your luck if it is a real allergic reaction rather than just being an irritant that you are sensitive to. It can escalate to a full on anaphylactic reaction that can really mess up your day by killing you. If you are really allergic and going to take the chance anyway, talk to your doctor about getting some epi-pens to have around the shop in strategic places.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29212 posts in 2331 days

#9 posted 11-08-2012 02:26 AM

There are various resirator masks that can do it. Many are pricey, but it beats no shop. Hopefully it is strickly breathing and not skin contact.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2876 days

#10 posted 11-08-2012 06:47 AM

Sorry to hear about your allergies. You’ll find a lot of different solutions here on LJ’s, I’ll share mine: I developed a chronic cough when I started doing ww. My first attempt at dust collection was a 1.5hp canister dc with a 0.3 micron filter. This was definitely better than nothing, however I still had my chronic cough and was blowing sawdust out of my nose at the end of the day. I did a lot of research on dust collection and ended up buying a 5hp cyclone from Clearvue Cyclones. This dust collector basically keeps my shop dust free when using my machinery. The biggest improvements in DC was with my TS and MS. I have a particle counter that measures the dust content in the air, and the air quality in my shop is better than in my house! Check out Bill Pentz’s site:
He is a hobbiest woodworker who developed severe lung problems from the dust. He’s put together a bunch of information on optimizing dust collection and on calculating out your dust collection needs. The cheapest option is one of the small, disposable dust masks or the Trend Air mask; I like not having to wear a mask while I woodwork though…

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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics