Cedar Dust

Lew's Canoes

Canoe Builder
Aside from the obvious drawback to breathing in lots of sawdust, is there anything particularly hazardous about cedar dust? Even with a dust collection system, I can generate lots of airborn dust when resawing, sanding, etc.. I would appreciate any thoughts on how best to minimize dust in the first place, but more specifically, what type of mask , respirator, or other protection to use. Thanks.

I can't talk to white cedar, but reactions to red cedar dust is well reported/documented on building sites.

As for me, I discovered, on my 3rd stripper, that I get a reaction and can't hardly breath after just 15-20 minutes of exposure to sanding dust, even when wearing a dust mask. Forgot, my throat closes up and feels like something is stuck there, and I can bearly breath, it takes about 4 hours to get back to normal again.

I now use a vac on the sander which collects almost all dust and haven't had a problem.

My workshop is in the basement of my house, so I am pretty sticky about dust. I ALWAYS wear a respirator when doing anything that generates dust. If there is one thing I learned while researching a dust collection system its that anything that is affordable does a horrible job at stopping the particles that do the most damage to your lungs (and even some that aren't affordable are just as bad).

I wouldn't know anything about different species and their relative harmfulness, but assume that they are all just as damaging and take the proper precautions. A respirator doesn’t prevent the fine particles from getting into the air, but it prevents everything from getting into your lungs, which is the most important thing.

Some years ago I did some checking on this question on one of the woodturning sites. Folks recomended the Racal mask. It was just shy of $180. I've been using it for years and have been 100% satisfied with it. It's a self contained face shield with a battery powered blower in the top of it. It sucks the air in through something that looks a lot like a lawn mower air cleaner and blows a nice stream of air across your face making it comfortable and pleasant even in hot weather. It came with its own nicad batteries which run about 8 hours on a charge.

Unfortunately the Racal is no longer available. Woodcraft Supply sells something that looks almost identical called the Trend Airshield. Unfortuanately it sell for about $279. That's a pretty hefty chunk of change, but it's cheaper than medical treatment or a replacement lung. The nice thing about it is it is comfortable so that you don't hesitate to use it when necessary.

Since I haven't researched this issue for some time, you might want to check the American Association of Woodturner's website. It's similar to this one and easily searchable. Those guys are always concerned about dust since they probably generate a lot more of it than we do. The web address is: www.woodturner.org.
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Good evening guys. Concerning the cedar dust, I simply use a respirator. In the same time, I have a dust collection system running. When it runs, I close the doors of my shop and the machine takes care of the air inside the shop only. I get the dust only when I use the band saw and the planer. Normally, I do hand sanding. Takes more time but much less dust. So that's it. Bye for now. Sandpiper