You may be obsessed with bringing out the beauty of the grain as you pursue woodworking in your workshop, but your lungs are hoping you’ll pay some serious attention to them, as well. The dust created by using modern woodworking machinery can be at a microscopic level. You may not realize how much of it is making its way into your lungs.

Dust collection goes beyond health considerations. The more of this byproduct you can collect and contain, the cleaner you’ll be able to keep your equipment and the workshop, overall. Many professional woodworkers say that a proper dust collection system is more important than the amount of equipment pieces you have.

Health Consequences

Natural chemicals in wood dust have been associated with serious health issues. Sawing, drilling, or sanding into raw wood can release bacteria, molds, and even fungi. In fact, wood dust is considered as a Group 1 carcinogenic to humans, according to the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC). According to the organization, wood dust causes cancer of the nasal cavity, the sinuses, and the pharynx.

Wood dust can also produce toxic effects to the eyes, nose and throat. It can also create respiratory system diseases that cause decreased lung capacity. The organization says that wood dust created during all stages of processing can create these health conditions.

The Setup

A proper dust collection system for a woodworking workshop in its own building has a main dust collector, an ambient air purifier, and the ductwork that connects it all. A larger workshop with multiple woodworking tools ranging from a table saw to a router and planer will require a dust collection system with sufficient power to accommodate all the equipment.

These dust collection systems are capable of treating over 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute. They’re not cheap. Most cost over a thousand dollars. But if you’re investing in your workshop, this is an important investment in your health.

An ambient air cleaner is the second – and often skipped – step of an efficient wood dust collection system for a woodworking workshop. The ambient air cleaner has the job of removing extremely fine wood particles that aren’t necessarily captured by the main dust collection system which is connected to your equipment using hoses and ducts.

These crucial air cleaners are capable of recycling the air in your workshop dozens of times an hour, removing airborne particles up to the size of a micron – which might otherwise end up in your lungs.

Woodworking experts also recommend that you wear a dust mask – or even better – a respirator, any time you use a woodworking tool that creates dust.

Adding a proper dust collection system can make a small workshop space even tighter. Don’t let the proposition of losing space cloud your judgment about preserving your health. Many property owners turn to metal building kits as a solution that provides ample space for workshops, but at a highly affordable price. These pre-fabricated buildings are made for DIY construction. Miracle Truss® designs offer high ceilings that allow you to take advantage of vertical space. Learn more about our design and the advantages it creates here.

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