I have known for years that fine sawdust is detrimental to my health. At a meeting of the Alabama Woodworkers Guild, a guest speaker who is knowledgeable about such things made this sobering comment: extra fine sawdust can be breathed into your lungs and can be so fine, that it never gets expelled from your body.
You would think that would be enough to cause me to upgrade my dust collection equipment, but it wasn’t until something my wife recently read that was the kicker. While reading on her iPad, she said, “This article says that sawdust can cause cancer.” Me: “Yea, I think I have heard that before.” Somehow, my wife telling me this was more shocking; like a little woodworking secret had been revealed and I had to do something about it (read more about the ill effects of sawdust here and here).
After the Guild meeting mentioned above, I looked into making my own filtration system like other woodworkers have. A typical design includes a narrow plywood box with spacers for a series of removable filters on one side and a box fan on the other side. Some use a commercial fan instead of a box fan and there are other variations to be found on YouTube (Jay Bates’ example is here).
As a woodworker, making one of these seems to be basic woodworking, but the YouTube videos I viewed included comments about better ways to make such things. “You should have used better filters.” Or, “Your spacing of the filters needs to be better.” In some videos, the maker even offered ideas for more effective units: “If I were to make this again…” For those of you who have made one of these, you are awesome; but I didn’t want to go through a learning curve on an important item like this. Since Woodcraft has a store which is almost in walking distance of my home, I visited them and bought the Jet AFS-1000B.
What I like about the AFS-1000B – I have owned this unit for a few weeks now. An item like the AFS-1000B pretty much does just one thing – move air through a series of filters trapping fine dust. Some info from the Woodcraft website:
The Jet 3-speed air filtration systems clean and circulate the air in your shop while you work, filtering 98-99% of all particles, five microns in size and 85% of particles one micron in size. And with the timer, you come into your shop, set the timer for two, four or eight hours and forget it. The system automatically shuts down at the time you’ve set.
Model AFS-1000B is 1044 CFM and has 3 speed: 550, 702 and 1044 CFM. The AFS-1000B can filter the air in a 20′ x 20′ x 8′ shop in under five minutes, and filter the air in that size shop a dozen times an hour.
The unit is heavy which tells me it is more substantial than something I would build using a low-cost box fan as a motor (which is commonly seen on YouTube). So, I feel I got a quality product with known ratings for effectiveness. I like the fact that I can set a timer and allow the AFS-1000B to continue filtering the air after I leave my workshop. It comes with a remote control which is handy – remember when a remote control was rare and a deluxe item? Also, the AFS-1000B was on sale.
Yesterday, with my wife’s help, we managed to hoist the AFS-1000B into place. I wanted it near my Delta dust collector which does not trap fine dust. Also, it is near one of my main dust creators – my table saw (the other being my miter saw which has its own dust collector). By the way, my wife is becoming a regular shop helper and I could not have lifted this thing into place without her help.
This is not a sexy purchase like other things on my woodworking wish list: a Powermatic floor standing drill press (I consider Powermatic to be the Harley Davidson of woodworking), a Veritas low angle jack plane, a Lie-Nielsen router plane, or a Grizzly 8″ jointer. But there is now a comforting hum in my workshop which tells me I’m working in a cleaner environment; a good feeling for sure.
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