Dust respirator recommendation please

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Forum topic by Jake229 posted 02-25-2021 05:38 PM 760 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 454 days

02-25-2021 05:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: safety respirator mask dust question resource

Greetings! Up until recently, I really didn’t take dust all that seriously. Sure, I have a dust collector and shop vac that kept the shop “presentable “. Allow me to share my situation. I ended up with COVID-19 and was hospitalized for nearly 3 weeks. I got “sprung” with home oxygen and have some pretty severe respiratory issues. I want to get back into my shop, and thus far made the walk and hung out listening to music.

When I am able, I want to continue some projects that I have going, but am really concerned about protecting my lungs from wood dust. I did some searching here and on other forums for respirators for woodworking and found mostly older reviews.

What I am seeking is any recommendation that someone can provide. Something that you trust your safety to.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions, I genuinely appreciate it!


-- Be safe out there

28 replies so far

View JohnMcClure's profile


1221 posts in 1692 days

#1 posted 02-25-2021 05:48 PM

I’m glad you posted this, and will follow with interest. I decided about a year ago to take dust more seriously and committed to buying and using a respirator, but when I went to buy… they were sold out and backordered due to Covid! You’ve reminded me, so maybe I’ll follow one of the recommendations you get here.

I used to work in an un-air-conditioned garage, so the bay door was typically open. Dust was a problem, but not a severe one. Now I’m in a sealed shop and the doors stay closed; I was choking on dust last week.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View LittleShaver's profile


740 posts in 1671 days

#2 posted 02-25-2021 06:04 PM

MSA makes a wide variety of half face masks, you need to get the right cartridge for your situation.

-- Sawdust Maker

View ibewjon's profile


2348 posts in 3845 days

#3 posted 02-25-2021 06:33 PM

The best one is the one that fits your face and head. We had to go for professional mask fit test for work. As stated, respiratory protection is hard to find these days. If a seller has any, many will not sell to new customers. Hope you recover soon. Take care.

View brtech's profile


1117 posts in 3974 days

#4 posted 02-25-2021 06:52 PM

View HarveyM's profile


159 posts in 3074 days

#5 posted 02-25-2021 07:08 PM

Phil Lowe used a single filter respirator regularly. No idea what brand, but I’d love to get one.

-- Just a Duffer

View Jake229's profile


62 posts in 454 days

#6 posted 02-25-2021 07:29 PM

Thank you! I am familiar with fit tests and such. Know that facial hair gets in the way and having the right size is very important. I’ve used MSA masks for tear gas. May see if I have size that I used. Also what is available.

-- Be safe out there

View AlanWS's profile


133 posts in 4610 days

#7 posted 02-25-2021 07:47 PM

I use an Elipse P100 mask with replaceable cartridges in the shop. They seem to be similar to the one mentioned above. These are available from Highland, Woodcraft, and many other places. They work very well—much better since I shaved off my beard. While they filter well enough to protect against Covid as well as sawdust, they have a valve to let exhaled air escape without filtration so they are not appropriate for protecting others from you.

If you wear it while generating dust, you probably should also use an air cleaner to scrub the air of dust. Those don’t seem to filter down as fine, but circulating for a while does eventually take out the small stuff measured by a cheap particle meter.

-- Alan in Wisconsin

View tvrgeek's profile


1749 posts in 2701 days

#8 posted 02-25-2021 08:11 PM

FINALLY, we can buy N95 and N100 masks from Amazon.
When working MDF, I use my big 3M half face respirator. Again, they are available.

View bugradx2's profile


284 posts in 1071 days

#9 posted 02-25-2021 08:17 PM

I use the same respirator and filters. It’s the first one I’ve found that’s actually comfortable to wear, because of that I wear it all the time.

I agree with the guidelines everyone has said about getting a good seal too.

Get a 3M half face respirator, like this:

and then get the P100 filters:

I m sort of surprised these are available, but they seem to be in stock, ready to go, and not restricted to health care front line workers.

You need to make sure you get a good seal. Take off the filters, put the mask on, cover the filter ports with your hands and inhale. If you can get air to come it, it s not sealed.

- brtech

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

View therealSteveN's profile


7468 posts in 1626 days

#10 posted 02-25-2021 09:02 PM

Get a 3M half face respirator, like this:

and then get the P100 filters:

- brtech

This pairing for most any woodworking function is a great start. It will be effective for blocking most airbornes you can make.. If you pair this with a circulating room air cleaner you will probably have a clean nose after a day in the shop.

Know that it doesn’t do squat for 2 other needs in PPE, your eyes, and ears still need something.

For a long time I’ve used a full face respirator, and ear plugs, as well as muffs because I already have COPD and so so lungs, and a demonstrated loss of hearing in both ears.

Since Covid I started out wearing my 1/2 face respirator out to get groceries and such. I noted how much more comfortable it was compared to the full face mask, so I started wearing it in the shop, and I paired it with a pair of Eye Muffs. My Wife surprised me with a pair of G6’s and I am finding them very nice to use.

Chuck Bender did a review of the basic Eye Muffs few years back for Pop WWing

I am planning to do a product blog on here soon for them.

To use them with a half face respirator I first don the mask, then the eye muffs go on easily on top. It give me full protection against all shop hazards to airway, eyes, and ears, and the best part is the eye muffs fit easily over my regular prescription glasses. All 3 items are as comfy as any I have ever worn for the 3, and as we know if they aren’t easily worn, we won’t do it.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Kelly's profile


3494 posts in 3996 days

#11 posted 02-25-2021 09:46 PM

If you are handy, you could build your own. For example, I have an old CPAP machine. Stuck inside a box with a couple MERV 13 filters and some less expensive pre-filters, I could even duct tape the hose to the top of a Harbor Freight face shield and I’d be better protected than with my N-95’s, and even more comfortable.

Of course, something like that is best suited for, for example, something like the lathe, where you aren’t running all over tarnation.

The box for the filters doesn’t have to be heavy and could even rest atop an old office chair base.

View Jake229's profile


62 posts in 454 days

#12 posted 02-27-2021 04:22 PM

Thank you to everyone who responded. I sincerely appreciate your ideas and what worked for you. I think I will take advantage of Amazon return policy and try a couple of respirators in different sizes to find the correct one. Then get the air scrubber (wired for it when I built the shop). It will be a far cry better than what I have currently. Thanks again!

-- Be safe out there

View furnman487's profile


36 posts in 785 days

#13 posted 02-27-2021 04:48 PM

Another vote for the Elipse P100. Finally able to find one in stock a couple months ago. It fits well and pretty comfortable.

View tvrgeek's profile


1749 posts in 2701 days

#14 posted 02-27-2021 06:12 PM

I normally wear a N-95 mask, but when doing MDF, I go to my old 3000 series 3M.

I have an endless supply old C-pap masks, so I thought about a DIY system. They do fit better than the 3M. Might give that Eclipse P100 a try. Last 3M I got was slightly different and not as comfortable. What has stymied me is one that fits under my welding helmet. Bought three advertised as such and no good. So usually just an N-95.

Full beard does make it a bit of a problem. When I paint a car ( if ever again) I have to grease it so the mask can seal.

Most half face respirators should NOT be used for COVID protection as they are vented, protecting you, but not anyone else. I have K-95’s I use in public as they have no vent ( and are not certified) saving my real 3M N95 for my shop use.

View therealSteveN's profile


7468 posts in 1626 days

#15 posted 02-28-2021 05:26 AM

Most half face respirators should NOT be used for COVID protection as they are vented, protecting you, but not anyone else.
- tvrgeek

If you can show me any mask, or respirator that ISN’T vented I would like to see it. A person would quick enough be overcome by Co2 from air they exhaled into a non-vented mask. Even if your mask has no ports, it allows gases to go through the fibers it’s made of, or you would see a pile of Cherry red, passed out, people laying around awaiting death.

Covid protection pretty much starts, and stops at stopping goobers you cough out as wet goblet’s, from smacking directly into someone’s open airway. Gross yes, but in essence that is the mode of transmission, so if your nose and mouth are covered, and you are 6 feet away, you will be ok, even if you encounter someone who shouldn’t be out at the store, shopping around.

If Covid were indeed aerosolized, we’d all be screwed. The particle size is way smaller than any of the masks anyone but the “spacemen” are wearing.

-- Think safe, be safe

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