Searching for a good respirator

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Paul Montgomery
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Searching for a good respirator

Post by Paul Montgomery »

When milling wood, I know I should wear my respirator more, but I don't because of all of the usual reasons (inconvenience, fogs the glasses etc) but I think I've found the solution with the Resp-O-Rator. A video is worth a thousand pictures, so I made a quick one to show what I mean.

https://youtu.be/Z3rl67MEbuc

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Bryan Bear »

I'll be following this closely. I need to break down and start wearing a respirator. I recently used Katalox for the first time and learned that I cannot tolerate the dust from this wood. I'm looking at the 3M mask (and now the Resp-O-Rator) but would love to hear opinions about what type of filters I should be using for what operations. And how often to change them/ how to know they need to be changed.

Fortunately, I don't have a drop ceiling in my shop so I typically only drop wood on my feet and not my head <G>
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Bob Gramann
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Bob Gramann »

I’ve been using the standard N95 mask with the valve (https://www.lowes.com/pd/3M-10-Pack-Dis ... sk/3691678). The valve makes it a bit more comfortable to wear. When I start feeling pressure on my face when I inhale, or when I notice some drag on the inhale, I replace it. When it gets that way, the mask is noticeably discolored. With two hours a day in the shop, it generally lasts a couple of weeks or more.

I have a Dylos 1100 pro particle counter. It counts .5 micron particles in the air showing the number on .01 cubic foot. When the count exceeds 300, I put on the mask and turn on my air filter. Generally, I have to wear the mask when I’m making dust and for a few minutes after I stop making dust while the filter clears the air.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Barry Daniels »

I used to work in the environmental industry and was responsible for purchasing respirators and managing the breathing protection program for my staff. The Rest-O-Rator is a cool design but is not compliant with industry standards so it is a bit iffy. The only reason I would recommend this would be for someone with a beard who couldn't get a proper airtight fit with a real half face respirator. If you are clean shaven I would definitely go with a name brand unit like North or 3M. Use P-100 filters for wood dust and other particulates. Use an Organic Vapor cartridge for paint and solvent fumes.

You change filters on a particulate cartridge when you feel some resistance on taking a breath. An organic vapor cartridge is done when you start to smell or taste the solvent (known as break through). Let me know if you have any questions.
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Bryan Bear
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Bryan Bear »

Great info Barry! This may be a dumb question but how do I know what size 3M respirator I need? My gut says Medium but I do have more chin than most. . . is there a measurement or rule of thumb to make an educated guess?

Also, I see that 3M has a p-100 with organic vapor protection (# 2097) is there any advantage to buying these or am I better off having separate filters and use them appropriately? I would rarely be making dust at the same time as using solvents save for using naptha to admire the grain while thickness sanding.
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Barry Daniels
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Barry Daniels »

It is more about the shape and width of your face. There is no good way to know which size will fit you best until you try it on and do a self fit test. That is done by taking the cartridge off and covering that hole with your palm. Then take a deep breath and see if you can feel the respirator sealing itself off and sucking into your face.

I would use separate cartridges. The combo cartridges are more expensive and when one half is used up then you have to throw the whole thing away. The combo ones are really for someone who is exposed to particulates and organic vapor at the same time.
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Bryan Bear
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Bryan Bear »

Thanks! I suppose I'll pay my money and take my chances that I won't have to buy a different size.

The more I think about the organic vapor filters the more I think you are right. Other than using naptha occasionally, the only time I am using solvents is when I do epoxy pore fill and sometimes I FP with denatured alcohol instead of everclear. I won't really be doing any of those in a dust envorionment. Would these filters help with CA fumes?
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Barry Daniels
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Barry Daniels »

Yes, the organic vapor cartridge would be good for CA fumes. The activated carbon in the cartridge will adsorb most organic chemical fumes.
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David King
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by David King »

I really like the 3M silicone 7500 series respirators that run about $17 along with the smaller rectangular p100 plastic cartridges that stay clean and don't get into your field of view. Their plastic masks that run $8 cheaper always break down and start oozing oily residue after a few months. I always keep some organic vapor filters on hand but once you open them you need to store them in a ziploc plastic bag preferably with a desiccant pouch or the activated charcoal inside will fill up on water vapor and cease to be effective.

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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by David King »

For everyday use I use the 3M 8511 disposable masks but am often frustrated that the elastic straps are cut too short from the factory. I only use the top strap anyway and wear them until they are filthy and then wash them out for another month's use. I keep them hanging all over the shop with the safety glasses and ear muffs so i never have to hunt them down.

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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Steve Sawyer »

I have dust-collection all over the shop. A big 3HP Oneida cyclone for the jointer, planer, band saw and table saw, and a HEPA shop vac permanently dedicated to the spindle sander, miter saw and drill press. I also have a Jet ambient air filter that runs continuously on low speed all the time I'm in the shop.

But I know I'm not getting it all. The housing on the cyclone is black, and after a few months if I look closely, I can see a light film of dust on it. I wish I could see my way clear to spring for a particle counter to monitor how well I'm doing, but damn, are they expensive!! I've thought of using a respirator, but we all know all the "arguments" against that... A particle counter just might convince me to put up with the inconvenience.

Barry - what about the Resp-O-Rator is non-compliant with industry standards?
==Steve==

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Barry Daniels »

Everything. The design is novel but that is not my biggest concern. They do not appear to state NIOSH approval which all other respirators have to live by. So they just target the DIY guys. Not saying they are not effective, just that there is no confirmation by a governing authority.
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Bob Gramann
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Bob Gramann »

The particle counter costs $261 at Amazon. That’s a whole lot less than a medical oxygen tank for COPD.

The only tool I have that provides total dust collection at the source is the drum sander. The air near that is cleaner than away from it when the machine and the dust collector are running. Thickness sanding actually reduces the dust count in the shop. All of the other tools—The belt sander, the band saws, the table saw—emit dust in spite of the dust collector. I run a filter box when the count gets over 300 in the room. Just running the filter box is insufficient—the count goes up for a while when using the dust emitting tools. I wear the mask when the count is up.

Until you get the counter, you won’t realize all of the things you do that make dust. (Things like walking in the shop that has a fine coating on everything will raise the count.)

David King
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by David King »

That Resp-o-rator nose clip should have everyone shaving their beards in short order. If you need to have a beard perhaps you should consider having it tattooed on? A tattooed beard won't ever turn grey.

Paul Montgomery
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Paul Montgomery »

There are videos out there that answer all of your resp-o-rator questions better than I can, and here's one where the guy puts standard filters on the resp-o-rator.

https://youtu.be/6e20RahnaNg

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Barry Daniels »

That actually looks like a good solution. The only other alternative for a bearded guy is a powered air purifying respirator with a full hood. I have one but they are not cheap.

https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/46721353
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David King
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by David King »

I picked up a used full hood supplied air respirator from a bathtub refinisher on craigslist for a tiny fraction of the new cost. It basically uses a small vacuum cleaner/HVLP triple stage motor and some braided food-grade hose with fancy clamps. You can buy just the 3M or equivalent replacement hoods for much less. I think I paid $50 for a new tyvec one at the local safety supply house. It included the harness that has the hose fitting. I took that to the local hose fabricator and they made me a hose with the connectors for maybe $40. You are mostly paying for the testing and stamps of approval.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Barry Daniels »

David, do you use filter cartridges with that or just set the blower inlet in fresh air outside of the contaminated zone?
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David King
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by David King »

Setting it outside has been fine for all but the coldest and hottest days. A three stage blower heats the air somewhat which is usually nice especially as the inlets is right at the back of your neck. The vane compressor doesn't heat the air much and also is a lot less portable but it sits in a closet with some dust filtering. The 3 stage came with a VOC cartridge that screws onto the inlet but that was way to small in my opinion to cope with the volume of air pumping through it so I never would count on it. I only use these systems for spraying in the booth or finishing floors etc. A 30 foot hose is plenty most of the time to get to clean air.

Paul Montgomery
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Re: Searching for a good respirator

Post by Paul Montgomery »

Today I got to spend more time in the shop and use the Resp-O-Rator longer. It pretty much did what I hoped it would do. First off, I kept it in my mouth for a long time after the saw cuts just because I was focused on my work and not the respirator, so I forgot it was there. Dust floats around the shop long after the cut so that's a good thing. When I didn't have it in my mouth it was right there on my shoulders so I could use it right away without fussing with straps, glasses, and hearing protection.

Sadly, if it isn't convenient I tend not to use it. A full face shield is better protection but mainly I like a face shield because I forget it's there and I am not tempted to do a small job if I have to go get safety glasses. Roll up ear plugs are better than muffs, but I won't use them because I have to take them out when I answer the phone.

...and so it goes...

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