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Help The Noob Before He Kills Himself!


ShadesOfGrey
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Hi all!

Let me start with that I pretty much searched this forum and many others, and even Google wasn't really helpful.

So apologies if the answers are right under my nose.

Also, some questions might be excessively obvious and stupid, but I'd rather be 100% and safe then 90% sure and 10% in danger.

I am pretty much a total beginner when it comes to guitar building or woodworking.

I do believe in 'safety first', so I'm not going to start with my project as long as there are certain concerns that I'm uncertain about.

So 'kay, "what are those stupid questions the guy wants obvious answers for?" I hear you asking.

They are mostly concerning air / breathing safety.

So I bought some of those disposable white dust-masks a little while back.

I know they only protect against dust and really against vapors, and seeing as I want to invest in good protection, I was thinking about a more permanent (cartridge) respirator.

I don't know if there are models that protect both against particles and vapor, if they use different kind of filters, if there are filters that protect against both, what kind of model / brand is good (that is available in the EU), and so on.

Is it even possible to protect against chemical vapors from finishing without using a full blown 'hazmat' type closed oxygen supply?

Also, I am going to sand the old finish on one of my guitar bodies. I take it that the main safety concern here is particles, not vapor right?

Also, about dust collecting.. can I just use a good vacuum cleaner for a few small projects, or do I *really* can't go without a professional dust collector?

Are the paint flakes very airborne? Or do they just drop to the ground without much ado?

When finishing the guitar with paint / lacquer, is particle or fume protection the key?

It's important to note that I don't plan on using a airbrush or paint gun.

It'll probably be a spray can or hand painted finish. I doubt that aerosol fumes are very healthy though.

How long does it take for the workshop to be safe for breathing after sanding or sawing? And after finishing? Is it safe to breathe unprotected during curing?

So, taking in account that I'll use a breathing mask, safety glasses, muffin type ear protectors, do I need any other personal safety objects?

Gloves? Liquid resistant for finishing and chemical type jobs, pig-leather for woodmanipulation?

Safety shoes? I have a pair from my old job, they are a size too small and thus very uncomfortable though..:D

Coveralls? Craftsman's Apron?

If woodsplinter raining isn't a big issue, I'd rather just put on the headgear & my bandana and do the whole thing motorcycle shop style :D

Anyhow, thanks to anyone that can clarify this a bit. B)

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3M makes a relatively inexpensive and effective NIOSH cartridge respirator that is fine for both particle and vapor. Depending on the material, the particles and/or the vapor is toxic. That, an old cowboy hat and safety glasses are pretty much what get used here. Of course - the garage is outfitted with explosion proof fans to provide constant ventilation.

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Some other random shop safety tips ...

Don't wear jewelry, rings, etc around power tools

Don't wear lose fitting baggy clothing around power tools

Keep long hair away from rotating power tools

Clamp your work down when drilling or using routers.

Wear approved eye protection

And one of my all time favorites, if you keep both hands on the hammer handle, you can't hit your thumb :D

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Hi all!

Welcome to the club, and say goodbye to all of your free time and disposable income. :D

I'd rather be 100% and safe then 90% sure and 10% in danger.

I agree. It's much easier to play guitar when you have all of your fingers.

So I bought some of those disposable white dust-masks a little while back. I know they only protect against dust and really against vapors, and seeing as I want to invest in good protection, I was thinking about a more permanent (cartridge) respirator.

I use the disposable ones, so I can't comment on the cartridge respirators. I'd rather have a better mask, but this is what I have for now.

Also, I am going to sand the old finish on one of my guitar bodies. I take it that the main safety concern here is particles, not vapor right?

Right.

Also, about dust collecting.. can I just use a good vacuum cleaner for a few small projects, or do I *really* can't go without a professional dust collector?

I would heavily advise getting tools that have dust bags attached already. If they don't have one, look for ones that can have them attached with aftermarket add-ons or be attached to a dust collection system. As for dust collection, there are a dozen ways you can go. Just remember that NO system will get 100% of the dust. For me, I bought a $40 shop-vac whos hose attaches to the dust ports of the various machines. It's also pretty useful for vaccuming the top of the workbench.

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Are the paint flakes very airborne? Or do they just drop to the ground without much ado?

After losing their forward momentum from the propellant, they fall listfully to the ground. And the table. And the chair. And anything else in the room. But that takes a while. They hang in the air for a while.

When finishing the guitar with paint / lacquer, is particle or fume protection the key?

Both. Chemicals aren't healthy to breathe. They get into your bloodstream through your lungs. The paint/lacquer, however, will just collect in your lungs. Wear a mask.

How long does it take for the workshop to be safe for breathing after sanding or sawing? And after finishing?

Hard to tell. There are a lot of variables, like ventilation, ammount of particles in the air, humidity, etc.

Is it safe to breathe unprotected during curing?

Yes. In fact, that's one way to check if the piece is cured: If you can still smell the finish, it isn't done yet.

So, taking in account that I'll use a breathing mask, safety glasses, muffin type ear protectors, do I need any other personal safety objects?

There's nothing more useful or important for your safety than good sense. If it seems that it'd be a bad idea, then it probably is.

Gloves? Safety shoes? Coveralls? Craftsman's Apron?

Aside from the glove (for finishing) or the safety shoes, it's your call if you dork up your clothes or not.

For finishing, it's VERY importnat that the area be well ventilated. I use rattle cans for color and brushes for the clear-coat as well. When ever I spray, I take it outside. Make sure to lay down a tarp of some kind, or your spray area will slowly become tinted with whatever colors you use. After the item itself is sprayed, you can bring it inside. Fumes won't be an issue, as you're leaving them outside. When I'm brishing/wiping on a finish, I'll admit that I don't do it outside, but I DO leave the room for the day when I'm done.

I hope this helps.

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You should be able to find a 3M cartridge respirator (with vapour cartridges and spare P2 dust filters to go over that, prevent the dust from getting into the cartridges) from any decent paint supplies place.

In terms of finishing, unless you have an explosion-proof fan setup, spray outdoors, with a respirator, and let things cure indoors in a well ventilated space. For making dust, a dust collector will do things a vacuum (or shop vac) won't (larger volumes of dust) and vice-versa (shop vac plays nicer with power tools' built in dust collection than a full-sized dust collector). Thing with the dust collector is that you still need the respirator, and you definitely need a dust collector with a microfilter mounted on it, as the ones with 'two bags', if you will, will blow all the really fine dust into the air.

In terms of more protection than ear, eye (safety glasses) and respiratory, it depends on the wood. There are some woods that I know are allergenic and I don't want to risk sensitisation to (cocobolo) that I won't sand indoors or work without gloves.

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My own opinion would be for you to take a basic woodworking class through your local community college or university or

whatever you have available in your area. Power tools associated with woodworking can do significant damage to soft tissue

in a nanosecond. Since you say you are pretty much new to woodworking this is where I would suggest you start.

Just my $.02

Steve

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