How to keep your workshop dust-free

While woodworking and sawdust are inseparable, years of site visits have convinced us that the most successful workshops are generally the cleanest.

There are good reasons for that correlation. Dust slows your work and compromises your output (have you ever had a spattering of sawdust ruin an otherwise immaculate coat of paint?) It's a significant fire risk. Lastly, and most seriously, it's a major health hazard.

The first two points are self-explanatory, but the last is not so obvious. Any process that generates sawdust will also be releasing invisible clouds of PM2.5 particulates – tiny airborne wood fragments that you inhale and can't always cough up. These can cause asthma and other respiratory diseases.

The most basic anti-sawdust measure is to sharpen your tools and invest in a plentiful supply of high-quality abrasives. Redwood's partner company, Sia Abrasives, offers a wide range of products that are all designed to minimise the release of airborne dust. Replacing old, clogged sandpapers and sanding belts is always a smart idea.

But what else can you do?

1. Declutter

Sawdust, like snowfall, forms drifts. Tools left out on worktops or floors make it harder to tackle the mess. You can simplify the process of dust management by hanging your tools from the walls or ceiling using baskets, loops, dedicated brackets or magstrips. Have trouble putting things to bed at the end of the working day? Try the old trick of outlining the tool's dedicated spot with a marker p