• If you smell it, you are breathing it. Wear a respirator, or at least work outside!
  • If you anticipate a lifelong passion for making—years of weird glues, working with fiberglass, or tons of sanding—I cannot overstate the value of a brand-name full-face respirator such as the 3M 6000 Series. Do not be tempted by cheaper no-name alternatives…this one truly is an investment:
  • Offered in three different sizes (6700, 6800, 6900 models) for best fit.
  • Extremely durable, made from chemically inert silicone. Can be fully dismantled, washed and reassembled.
  • Every single little piece can be individually ordered and replaced, and will be available probably forever. Mine’s only needed new valves, still available after 20 years.

Filter cartridges should be replaced at least yearly, more with heavy use. Get the correct type(s) for different materials — particulates, organic vapors, etc. Store in zip-lock bags when not in use.

  • Pets are a fraction of your body mass and much more sensitive to chemical exposure. Keep them away when working with paints and adhesives!
  • There’s a persistent myth that fumes from lead-free solder are necessarily more toxic than from leaded solder. This is incorrect. Two solders with the same flux (e.g. “rosin core”) will have similar safety profiles…except one has lead. If unsure, any branded solder will by law have a corresponding PDF safety data sheet (SDS, or MSDS) available for download.
  • Teasing or belittling others for being conscientious of safety—using eye, ear or breathing protection, or favoring less hazardous materials—is a fantastic way to get kicked out of my workshop and never invited back. Drop the toxic bravado and focus on the work. Not a cosplay hack, just setting the bar.

This guide was first published on Sep 06, 2022. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Shop Safety) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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