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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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Old 06-22-2019, 09:15 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
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Unhappy Respiratory reactions

Long ago I got my first experience with a respiratory reaction after cutting up some mammoth type ivory scales. I'd received a pretty large sized bone and was cutting down to usable scale sizes. The vacuum was on with an HEPA exhaust filter and I was wearing a P-100 cartridge respirator. The dust was fine enough that I was able to smell it which should have queued me in to stop but I kept going. That evening I felt like I was coughing up my innards. The following days were not fun either.

One would think that I learned or so I thought so my next time cutting it I wore an organic vapor along with an additional P100 pre-filter on the cartridge respirator. Was far better but I was able to get a faint whiff so I stopped. Still had a reaction that had me down. Since then I tended to cut and grind wet because the slurry was easier to clean up before it dried to become dust. I don't work any of the ivories anymore.

Over the father's day weekend we visited a relative that had a cat and bearded dragon reptile in the house. It smelled a bit off but I didn't think much of it because I wasn't as aware what that scent was. I didn't handle the reptile either. (I know now that it was from the reptile's enclosure giving off whatever.) By the time I got home I felt the onset of a reaction. This instance I was in the house for 3.5 hours. Been down the whole week.

Love the craft side but some of these materials even when handled in ways we think are safe, the long term exposures do build up. Be safe, respiratory exposures to many of these materials we work with are


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Last edited by M&J; 06-22-2019 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:23 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Don't you use a HEPA filter on your respirator? They block particles to .3 microns and are used for removing asbestos. I can't smell smoke wearing one, that's how efficient they are. I was an EPA certified asbestos inspector and management planner. Also got building inspection and Radon certs plus some OSHA certs too. Nice side jobs.

HEPA filters block bacteria too, but one thing is critical, you must fit the filter mask and this is usually done professionally using ammonia capsules by an OSHA certified expert (me) who uses it around the typical weak points where a good seal is hard to attain. I have never had someone with a full beard pass the ammonia test, ever. Hate to tell you guys with beards, but the fine particles are getting through even though you don't feel it. You need a full face mask which doesn't require a test.

High Efficiency Particulate Absolute=HEPA filter, the violet or purple colored ones; I used to tape a layer of paper towel over mine to keep them from getting too clogged while grinding including ivory and I couldn't smell it or bone either and bone is disgusting. There is one catch and that is if your belts are getting dull or clogged up then you start to burn the ivory and make fumes, it's a particle filter, not a fume filter. I used a belt cleaner every minute when grinding bone or else it burns and I would start to smell it. darn stuff clogs belts in the finer grits quickly and I don't recommend going over 400 grit without a belt cleaner or silicone carbide wet belts. My 1x42 with 8" disk can run wet or dry and is easy to clean up wet grinding slurry, especially the disk which I can get high grits SC from lapidary suppliers. I don't have an exhaust since my grinding happens outside and my grinders are on a cart. Live in an apartment.

Last edited by jimmontg; 06-23-2019 at 03:09 AM.
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Old 06-23-2019, 05:02 PM
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Great advice Jim! These are half masks so a full mask would be better. I'm due for replacements so I'll be looking for some alternates. Timing is good because I'm down to my last few cartridges and prefilters.

My first reaction with ivory I was using a P95 filter. That motivated me to the P100 and I've remained with those along with the appropriate type of other filters including organic and chemical vapors. Dust control is a constant challenge.

I've not shopped in a spell, any suggestions for full and half masks?


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Old 06-24-2019, 10:19 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Industrial supply places that cater to the asbestos removal industry. There used to be one in in City Of Industry, they will measure your face for small medium etc and do a smelling salts test. Look for a place that sell OSHA safety supplies.I used to have a full face, but I gave it to my late son. I shaved off my beard and use a large half face mask. For bone I do wet grinding as it smells disgusting, even this stabilized zebra bone I have. Ivory isn't supposed to be ground without special precautions as it's toxic.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:40 AM
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Thanks Jim!

Been using these Moldex 7800 series:
https://www.moldex.com/product-categ...one-half-mask/

Bone is horrible. Wet dirty dog does not really being to describe how foul it is. There are a few odd pieces of giraffe bone here but I categorized it like the mammoth type ivory, it is a no go material up there with rosewoods.


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Old 07-07-2019, 08:57 PM
Wrankin Wrankin is offline
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How is the fit and seal on your respirator? I have a beard and can have a hard time with leaks around the perimeter. I have seen some resort to nose plugs and a snorkel-like setup to address this.

-b


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