New Dust Mask in the shop

I purchased this dust mask at Woodcraft last week. I got the mask and some replacement filters. So far I like it. I have a full beard that is 4-5 inches long so I do not get a great seal. I figure the whiskers work as a supplemental filter. Check it out. I thought it was comfortable and easy to use. If a safety device is not easy to use people won’t use it.

I had a Dust Bee Gone that was washable but it is worn out. Nothing lasts forever.

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If you are not getting a good fit due to the beard, you are not getting the benefits of the filter. Really.

I have a full beard, and have since I was a teenager (many, many years ago). When I need to wear a mask, even a disposable, nuisance dust type, for work, I have a required fit test (for leakage), and for any non-mouthpiece type, this requires shaving where the seal will seat on my face.

The beard does not provide any filtering. It only provides a path for air to bypass the filter. You only get one set of lungs. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are protecting yourself when you aren’t.

I own a mouthpiece-type (similar to a diving mouthpiece), but they are tough to find-- most filter units are rated for escape use only, not continuous use-- and require a lot of maintenance compared to a standard face seal type (clean the mouthpiece EVERY use, disinfect, and so on, plus the same as the same needed for the face seal type, as mine has a mask component). Unfortunately, I am not permitted to use mine on the job, but, fortunately, I rarely need one on the job these days.

(For reference, safety and compliance is 25% of my job-- general industry, construction, and shipyard)


Follow up: This is one of the better summary documents available

The least expensive mouthpiece unit I find in a quick search is about $US55 (Resp-o-Rator JR-7), but I can not attest to it’s quality. I see no indication that it is certified, but did not contact the manufacturer. They claim it for particulates only.

The one I use is no longer available, but takes standard 3M cartridges (particulate or chemical) and is usable in most cases where sourced air is not required. It does not meet the current NIOSH cert requirements, though, which is why I can not use it at work.

Other options for the bearded are positive pressure hood type (PAPR), but that is getting into real money, and can be fairly intense on maintenance. They are also awkward in some uses, but may be a lot cooler and more comfortable to breathe with than a standard respirator. If used, proper training is important, or they can kill you (not trying to stoke fear, but there are several hazards that are not present with other non-supplied air types. Some of these apply to any respirator that draws air via a tube rather than directly at the face)

Take an hour and dig through the North, the 3M, the MSA, and other catalogs.

If you are feeling morbid, dig through the US OSHA incident reports. I recommend an adult beverage and strong stomach, though.


Thanks for the advise. I was only kidding about the beard filtering. I have one of the Resp-o-Rator JR-7 units that I use when I turn exotics on my lathe. It is a clumsy and awarkward to use. The Resp-o-Rator has a mouthpiece and a nose clip and the filters are over your shoulder on your back. This design keeps the filter away from the source of the dust. But as I said above it is awkward and you have to wear a nose clip. When I turn I wear a full face shield called a Uvex Bionic. It covers me from forehead to below my chin and the new mask will fit inside the face shield. I use good dust extraction on my Shapeoko but while baby sitting I am sitting right in front of it and wanted something to keep from breathing fine dust. I also have a Jet Air Filter I run when sanding to keep the fine dust collected and not falling around my shop. I get what you are talking about, safety is important.

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Yep, at my workplace, if you need to wear a mask, they require you to be clean shaven to have a sealed fit with a respirator.

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