Friday, October 20, 2017

Clean & Maintain Your Respirator

I’m a big proponent of wearing a respirator in the shop. Dust collection systems are never perfect so it’s important to protect our lungs whenever it’s feasible. There are lots of respirators on the market but I have always used 3M. There are two common models I usually see: the 7500 Series and the 6500QL Series. The only difference I can discern between the two (other than the fact that they have different valves) is the fact that the 6500QL Series has a quick release latch that allows you to drop the mask for a quick conversation or a sip of coffee without completely removing the device. As a result, the 6500QL Series is my preferred model. Both models accept the same filters and cartridges. Incidentally, if you’re having trouble deciding what size to buy, I can give you one data point by letting you know I wear a Large.

There are three things you need to do to keep your respirator in tip-top shape.

Replace the Filters

How often you replace your filters really depends on usage. Mine are replaced roughly every six months or when I begin smelling things I’m not supposed to smell, such as finish fumes or dust odor. I’m not sure how much it helps, but I often keep my organic vapor cartridges in a ziplock bag between uses. I guess I’m hoping that keeps the activated charcoal fresh for a longer period of time.

Below are some helpful links to replacement filters. Keep in mind, when you buy the mask you can usually but it in a kit that comes with the organic filters and the particulate pre-filter that goes in front of it.

Clean the Mask

The inside of your mask can get pretty gross. The mask takes on oil from your skin and is constantly exposed to hot moist breath. When you’re not using the mask, it collects airborne dust as well. I recommend washing your mask and valves at least once a month using warm soapy water. I like to use a soft bottle brush (leftover from my baby bottle-washing days) to get into all of the nooks and crannies.

Replace the Valves

Many folks can go many years before having to replace valves. I was actually surprised to see how bad mine were. I’m not so worried about the discoloration as I am about the wavy shape. Because that mask spent most of its life in the hot dry Arizona desert, I’m guessing that’s the reason it deformed so badly. Dry air, heat, and rubber usually don’t get along. Now that I’ve replaced the valves, it should be interesting to see if they last any longer in Denver. If you need 3M replacement valves check out the links below. But make sure you shop around. They can be tricky to find individually and most times they’re sold in bulk.

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Filing/Honing Guide for #80 Scraper

Watch the video first to see how effectively it works. Go here:   After a class, most times, I notice that  two or three (some times more) of my cabinet scrapers have been filed and honed incorrectly and end up out of square, often with the bevels are far from 45-degrees, often to a bull-nosed […]

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Book Giveaway: Wooden Toys

Wooden Toys

Last night my kids unearthed a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer book for a bedtime story. I desperately tried to steer them back toward our wide selection of Halloween books that I’ve arranged prominently on their bookshelf. But alas, while they’re excited for Halloween, the inevitable holiday season looms large on the horizon like the Death Star in Rogue One. Apparently I need to get my holiday planning underway. And so, […]

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Smart Cars Need Smart Paint

I’m sure you’re aware of the research being done to produce smart cars and trucks that drive themselves. But it may be more complicated than simply designing the sensors for the vehicles. What if there’s snow on the road? Or if the road markings have been worn off, or if it’s raining so hard or so foggy that the sensors can’t see the road? It turns out that 3M has […]

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Video: Circle Jig for the Band Saw

Band saws are great for cutting curves but when you need a perfect circle, you need a jig. I’ve used many circle-cutting helpers over the years and the design presented by Tom Caspar in the video below combines the best features from all of them. The jig is held in place on the band saw table using a bar in the miter slot and it features an adjustable pivot point […]

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Changes

Changing Our Looks and More I know many of you that have been with us through the years have noticed changes to my backdrop and also heard hints of changes yet to come too. We’ve not wanted to be secretive so much as make certain we carried you along the journey with us. Many of […]

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pop Wood Group Project: Magnetic Picture Rails

Last week, Marissa Bowers (our wonderful designer, who’s been helping us out while we seek a new permanent art director) mentioned she had been looking for a set of picture rails – and wondered aloud if it was something we could build in the shop. Ever eager for an excuse to bring everyone out to the shop, we decided that everyone in the office could use their own, and I (Brendan […]

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