Safety and Health During the Project

The question of safety is one that merits a little discussion here.  Obviously, undertaking a project like the Glissando renovation creates exposure to certain health and safety hazards.  The main concerns are centered around working with the resins and, especially, the dust created when sanding or grinding.

Epoxy resins can cause skin sensitivity issues with some people, and you should supposedly wear gloves and prevent direct contact with your skin.  Yeah, right.  The resin doesn't bother me, and I have had my hands immersed in a pot of resin or epoxy putty many times, with no ill effects.  However, others may be different, and care should be taken until you find out your own reactions--or lack thereof--to the epoxy resin.  Epoxy does not create strong vapors while curing, so there are not air quality issues while laminating with the product.  Polyester resins release styrene when curing, which is unpleasant and unhealthful to breathe.

Grinding fiberglass, whether polyester or epoxy, creates very fine dust that is harmful to breathe and will probably cause you some skin-based discomfort or rashing.  I am not too bothered by the dust, although it tends to be a little itchy afterwards for a little while.  I always wear a high quality respirator when grinding fiberglass; it's nuts not to.  A good respirator is not all that uncomfortable to wear, and eventually  you forget it's even there.  I also wear good safety goggles--you only get two eyes--and hearing protection when using power tools, too, or as otherwise necessary.  The noise of a sander is at the very least annoying, and at worst causes long-term hearing damage.  (Huh?  What'd he say?)

Working with Awlgrip or similar linear polyurethane topside paints brings up other concerns.  These products are extremely harmful if breathed or ingested, and forced fresh air supply is necessary if they are atomized in a spray gun.  For brushing or rolling like I did, a quality respirator is required any time the cans are opened or the product is worked with.  The respirator is also crucial when sanding any of these products.  I do not use gloves or other protective gear when painting with Awlgrip, as the paint on my skin or the solvents to clean it does not seem to bother me in any way.  I find working with gloves or other skin-protective gear very awkward and avoid it whenever possible.

Below are the safety products I used for many, many days during various parts of the project.  I highly recommend all of them.  Your small investment in safety gear will come in handy time and again, and you will never regret the minor expense. 

3M 7000 Series Respirator (Half-Mask)



3M 7000 Series Respirator (Full Face)

Update:  I upgraded to a dedicated supplied-air respirator system, which I now use for most sanding and all paint spraying tasks.

Click here for details.


Safety Goggles--Regular and High-Dust

Hearing Protection



Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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