For your safety: 3M Respirator 6211
Above: Adjustable straps and a soft contoured face profile give a very good air seal.
Review and photos: Raf Nathan
A reusable mask with filter cartridges is pretty well essential nowadays given the level of protection they offer to woodworkers against hazardous dust and fumes.
This 3M mask uses twin organic vapour filters as well as fibre pre- filters. The latter are there to keep the main filters clean. It is rated by 3M as suited to paint spraying, solvents and pesticides. Woodwork dust and fumes fall under these categories. For trade or part-time woodworking this mask is very suitable when working in spray booths, sanding or machining wood as well as applying various polishes.
Pre-filters fit over main filter cartridges.
The way the mask fits with adjustable straps and a soft contoured face profile means the air seal is very good. These masks are cumbersome to wear and on a hot day can be a sweat box, however the superior air filtration is worth any minor discomfort. They are not recommended for those with beards! The cartridges are positioned to the side and so allow quite good vision compared to simpler masks that have one filter in the middle.
Whilst I no longer spray finishes this mask is still highly useful for applying all sorts of hand and brushed-on wood polishes as well as wearing when machining and sanding wood. This particularly applies when working with known irritant woods.
Initially I wore the mask while using a carnauba based wax which has an offensive smell on application. Fitting the 3M mask gave instant relief from all odour and I now regularly wear the mask for a range of jobs.
Vapour filters have a limited life on exposure to air and therefore need to be stored in an airtight container such as a simple kitchen plastic type. The outer pre-filters can be changed when visibly dirty. The vapour filter cartridges can be changed on a set schedule or as soon as any odour or taste is detected through the respirator. Build quality of the mask is good and should last a part-timer a few years if cleaned and maintained between use, however be aware that sweat left inside the mask can corrode the plastic.
Raf Nathan is a tool reviewer and designer maker who lives in Queensland. See www.interwoodshop.com.au
Available from Bunnings Warehouses
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