Dangers of Wood Dust: Close up of a lumberjack cutting old wood with a chainsaw.

How do you protect yourself Dangers of Wood Dust

Dangers of Wood Dust

Health authorities in Canada have warned woodworkers of the hazards of constant exposure to wood dust. As the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety and the International Agency for Research on Cancer put it, wood naturally contains dangerous chemicals such as molds, fungi, and bacteria.

Because of the dangers associated with wood dust, there are certain occupations that are considered at risks such as works in the construction, furniture and wood carpentry, logging, sawmills, and carpenters.

Risks Associated with Wood Dust

  • Dust particle inhalation

Occupational asthma and lung cancer are among the common health problems associated with constant dust exposure. It can start with breathing problems. Here you can learn more https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/wood-dust

  • Eye Damages

Wood dust is a small particle that floats in the air. It is too small that it can easily enter your eyes and cause irritation. Eye irritation can cause eye damage when not taken seriously. Just imagine how much you rub your eyes when it is irritated.
Skin Problems

Constant exposure to wood dust can also irritate your skin. It can cause skin irritation, dermatitis, and ulceration.

How to Protect Yourself from Wood Dust?

In order to protect workers who are in the wood industry, here are some things that they should do (or their company should observe during work hours).

Know your wood – each type of wood has its own type of dust. Knowing the type of wood you are working with will help you protect yourself better against unknown wood chemicals.

Work in a ventilated area – if you are working in a closed environment like carpenters who are in making cabinets in a specific room, make sure that your work area is fully ventilated.

Keep your tools sharp and properly maintained – using dull tools or poorly maintained carpentry tools will only release more dust in the air.

Maintain a clean working station – after each workday, make sure that your work area is properly cleaned. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove even the smallest dust particle.

Wear proper work outfit – wear masks or clothing with respiratory protection to minimize the possibilities of inhaling dust and other wood particles while working. In addition, keep your hands and face clean by constantly washing it with clean water.
Controlling Wood Dust Exposure

Dying and Staining Wood

Dying and Staining Wood

Coloring wood is a process of dying and staining wood. It is an art, a finishing touch to beautiful woodwork. Dying and staining are different processes though and can provide different results. 


A dye can be synthetic or natural. Natural dyes are those extracted from herbs ad plants such as from indigo, beets, coffee, and tea. Mauveine is another popular purple dye discovered in the 1850s. With the popularity of dyes, synthetic dyes were also introduced.

Dying wood is not the same as coating the wood. This process simply allows the dye color to bond with the natural color of your wood to give it a different shade. One thing to remember is that dyes are transparent when used in wood. If you use red dye, it can give your wood a red color unless your wood has a natural color like yellow. When red is combined with yellow – you will get an orange wood. 


Staining Woods For Home Elements
Credit Bradshaw

Staining is premixed colors (solid colors). When used, it bonds with the original color of the wood and covers irregular surfaces such as scratches or wood pores. It is often used to smoothen woods with large pores such as oaks. The pores darken by staining it then it is sanded to make it smoother. 


When to Use Dying?

Dying wood classDying should be used to put emphasis on fine wood grains such as walnut burl or bird’s eye maple. It is also used for dense woods like hard maple. You can also use dying to balance the color of walnut sapwood. Lastly, dying is also highly recommended if you are working with a blotch-prone wood, say pine tree. 

When to Use Stains

Staining is used if you are working on wood with coarse textured grains. It is a great way to put emphasis on the wood’s contrasting color. 

If you are working on furniture that is often placed outdoors, staining is also recommended. The pigments you used will provide more protection to the furniture once placed outdoors and under direct sunlight.

Pros of Using Wood Dye

  • Availability

Whether you need a natural or synthetic dye, you can easily find one. Dyes are available as solvent or binders and in different color or shade. 

  • Very Effective

Dyes work like paint. You can apply the first and second coating and it won’t even affect the color of the dye you are using. The wood will just absorb it all. 

Pros of Using Stain

  • Very Effective 

With stain, you can cover the entire surface that you wanted to cover. Say it is a large pore on your wood’s surface, just stain it completely to cover the pore. 

  • Fast Result

It only takes a few minutes for the stain to dry up and affect the wood’s color. 

The color you get on the first coat is the final color. It won’t go darker because the tannin of the wood has already reacted. Your first coat is also your final coat when staining. 

To dye or to Stain?

Before deciding whether you want to dye or stain your wood, consider a few factors first such as the advantages of using each process, the type of wood you are working on, and the availability of the dye or stain in your market. 

Woodworker working on sharpening tools

How to Sharpen Woodworking Tools – Top Five Sharpening Systems

Aside from skills, woodworkers need a properly maintained and sharpened hand tools in order to produce beautiful wood crafts. Most woodworkers will tell you this – you don’t need expensive and amazing tools – you only sharp ones!

Why Sharpen Your Tools? 

Properly maintained and sharpened tools are easier to use. They cut faster and doesn’t cause resistance. If you are sanding, it will leave a smoother surface. When cutting, it can give you cleaner cuts. Using sharper tools can also mean that you can finish your job faster. 

Top Five Sharpening Systems

Choosing a sharpening system to use depends on the woodworking tools you have. Don’t just purchase a sharpening tool because it might not work well with your tools. 

Here are some of the sharpening systems that you can consider.

#1: Venerable Benchstone System

Benchstone is a traditional stone sharpening tool. It is also called a sharpening stone. There are three types of sharpening stones called diamond stones, water stones, and oilstones. 

This type of sharpening system is very popular because of its ease of use. It can sharpen any edge of any tool. It is also man-made. Despite having an abrasive material when used, Benchstone remains to be one of the most popular sharpening systems in the woodworking world today

#2: Motorized System

Professional woodworkers who love investing with their tools often purchase a motorized sharpening system to keep their tools in condition. This is the most costly among all sharpening systems. 

Unlike a bench grinder, the motorized system works more slowly and doesn’t cause overheating. Over-heating when sharpening tools can affect the hardness of a tool. With slower speed, a motorized system can make the sharpening process easier to control and safer. 

#3: Scary Sharp System

A scary sharp system uses sandpaper to sharpen tools. It is scary sharp because it can really make your tool ‘scary sharp’. You can either use wet or dry sandpaper and some lubricants to start sharpening your tool. 

Scary sharp system is one of the cheapest sharpening options out there. 

#4: Water-Cooled Sharpening System

Water-cooled sharpening system is one of the most popular sharpening system known today because of its reliability and flexibility. This machine can be used to sharpen skews, gouges, and chisels without changing the bevel angle. 

For its price, this system is very competitive in the market. Furthermore, it can be used to sharpen different woodworking accessories without affecting the geometrical cut of the tool. This means every time you are sharpening your tool, your Water-Cool Sharpening System is only removing a minimal amount of material from your tools.

#5: Work Sharp Sharpening System

The Work-Sharp Sharpening System is a new system introduced in the woodworking world. This system is a combination of Scary Sharp and Motorized Sharpening System. One of its advantage though as a hybrid sharpening system is its water-coolant system. 

This system also comes with an integrated ceramic-oxide hence you don’t just sharpen your tool, you also remove burrs from the edge of the tool. 

The pricier WS3000 is better than the WS2000 because it comes with an additional port for chisel and iron tools. Using it is very easy with fast results. 

Are You Ready to Choose Your Sharpening Tool? 

Aside from the type of tools you are using, you also have to consider the ease of use and budget when picking your sharpening system. If you are not sure, it is best to do your research first and ask for help from your woodworking buddies.