219 – Safety Gear Upgrades (Bluetooth Hearing Protection)

December 31, 2019

Voiceover:The Wood
Whisperer is sponsored by Powermatic and Clear Vue Cyclones. Marc:On today’s show, it’s all about safety gear. Because that’s exciting, right? Right? (upbeat jazz music) Well it’s pretty obvious to most people that you shouldn’t stick your hand into a spinning blade. But there are other issues in the shop that may not be so obvious, and those include your eyes, your lungs, and your ears. Right, and this isn’t an area that we see a lot of innovation in, obviously there are pretty simple ways to protect yourself, and you should take those precautions, but occasionally a new product or maybe an improvement on an old product comes out, and I think you should know about it. And I’ve got a few of those here to show you today, so let’s take a close look. For years now, I’ve been wearing pretty standard safety lenses, like this. They’re not super comfortable, especially when used with a respirator and some sort of ear protection. The plastic really does dig into the side of my head, and kind of hurts my ears. So this is an area where I encourage you to look at some of the newer options
that are out there. For instance, this pair
has flexible sides. Right, they’re very thin, very very lightweight, so this is something that would be really comfortable for long term use, but you still have a pretty basic plastic set of lenses. Now stepping up from there, if you need a little more protection, as you know, these lenses
don’t cover all the way to your cheeks and around your eyes, so you could still get debris going inside there. So if you have fine dust, maybe you’re doing power carving, you may want to upgrade
to something like this which has a nice rubber
gasket around the eyes. But still, a lightweight
set of protective lenses. You can go up from there to goggles. These have a nice flexible strap, and this is going to do a better job of hugging your face and really closing off any possibilities for debris to get in there. Alright, so some cool improvements there. But I’ve got one really nifty product to show you here. Now if the feeling of safety lenses between your head and your ear muffs really really bother you, this is something you might consider. It’s Full Pro protective lenses. Now a friend of the show, Adam, sent these to me and I think they’re awesome. They come with a couple of Velcro dots that you put on the outside of whatever head gear you want to use to protect your hearing, and the lenses themselves
have Velcro straps that just strap on like this. So let’s take it for a test ride. So I’m just going to rest the lenses on the bridge of my nose, and pull the straps back, and that’s pretty nice. There’s no weight on my face, there’s nothing between the headphones and my head, super comfortable, you
could wear this all day. Now let’s talk about
protecting those lungs. For years now, I’ve been recommending the 3M 7500 series respirator. Super comfortable, very lightweight, and has a down firing exhaust, so you keep all that hot, moisty breath off your protective eyewear. You don’t get fogging. Alright, and I don’t know
if this is a new product but it certainly was new to me, this is 3M’s 6500 series. And what’s different about it, it has all those same features, but has one additional feature. With this little clip down here, it actually serves as a quick release. So whereas on this unit you’ve got to take the strap off your head if you want to remove it temporarily, maybe someone walks in and you need to have a conversation, this one has a nice
quick release mechanism. You drop it down the face mask itself drops a little bit, and you can have that conversation. And quickly you put it back in place to protect yourself again. Alright, so I think from now on, the 6500 is going to be my recommendation. Now the final set of
products I want to show you deals with hearing protection. And it’s not so much focused
on the protection side as enhancing the experience of hearing protection. Now I don’t know about you, but I love to listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, all
kinds of audio content when I’m in the shop. Especially during a long sanding session, or a long milling session. But I don’t want to take
off my ear protection to do these things. I want to make sure
that I’m nice and safe, so Bluetooth is the answer. The problem is, Bluetooth headsets, the ones that really protect your hearing at the same time, are extremely expensive, and they’re not really appropriate for what we do. So I cobbled together a little solution that allows me to use Bluetooth with just about any device
that has Bluetooth on it, and still protect your
ears at the same time. And you’ll be able to keep the audio at a nice level that
doesn’t hurt your hearing. So let me show you what I came up with. Now this is a pair of
Howard Leight ear muffs. What makes these special, aside from the fact that they will protect your hearing, is that they actually
have speakers in them and a port here so you can plug in whatever music source you want. And what makes these different than, like, the i-work style headphones, well, these, although they do have a port, they require extra batteries and I really don’t want more
batteries to worry about. The batteries also make the headset a little bit heavier. Alright, so this is completely passive, the music will still
go through the speakers and you don’t need batteries. Now to get the sound into the headphones, you could simply run a
wire from your device, put that in your pocket and run the wire into the headphones. But I really want to eliminate wires for safety reasons, I don’t like the fact that they can get very easily caught on things. Alright, so what I went to was a Bluetooth adapter. This is the Outdoor Tech Bluetooth Adapter and you can see it’s
got a little plug here, that if I wanted to, I could also, again, run a cord from here to here, but instead, I just bought a little five dollar male to male adaptor that I plugged in like so, plug into the headphone jack, and boom. Totally lightweight, no wires, and it interfaces perfectly with the Bluetooth on my phone. Now here are a couple other cool details. Because it’s Bluetooth, and it’s interfacing with your phone if you’re using your phone, you can actually get your text messages and your phone calls through this thing, and if you wanted to take the call, it’s got a built in
microphone right there. For me, I usually take
it as a notification that when I’m done what I’m doing, then I can go back and check my phone. It’s just nice to know
that a call came in, or a text message came in. Such as, “Marc, your coffee is ready!” Which is always appreciated. The other thing is talk
time on this thing. You get about nine hours. So for me, just listening
to podcasts all day, I can certainly have enough juice in there for one if not two work days. And it’s very easy to recharge. It’s got a little cord that comes with it, plugs into a USB port, so there’s no batteries, you just recharge directly
with the built in battery. Pretty cool. Now, for the folks who say “Why don’t you just wear ear buds?” A couple reasons. I don’t want the cord, number one, and even if I had wireless earbuds, or Bluetooth ear buds, I don’t want the earbuds in my ears at the same time as I
have those headphones on. I get very uncomfortable with that after a few minutes. Alright, so for me, this solution for about 80 bucks roughly, I think is a great way to get Bluetooth functionality
into protective ear wear. Now I realize that safety is not the most interesting topic in the world, but if you stuck with me this long, here’s your reward. Go to and sign up for your chance
to win two great prizes. First of all, we’ve got from 3M, a safety pack. It contains the 6500 respirator that we talked about, some ear muffs as well as eye protection, a variety of things in there. It’s going to set you up for shop safety. The other thing we have available in the name of safety is from Festool. And this is going to be pretty incredible. We’ve got a ETS 150 sander, and also a CT33 vac. Now I use this on every single project, and if I didn’t have it connected to a dust extractor, all that dust would be in the air. Now, I’m okay because
I’ve got my respirator, but honestly, it’s better to keep that
stuff out of the air from the beginning. So if you can collect it at the source, that’s the way to go. And this combination of a Festool sander and a dust extractor is
one of the best ways, if not the best way to do that and keep that dust out of the air. So again, and enter for your chance to win, and thank you to Festool and 3M for offering up these awesome prizes. Now one last bit of news. About five years ago I started this thing called Safety Week, trying to encourage other bloggers to write about safety. And it was a very different
environment back then there weren’t a lot of us to do it, and now something like that is a little bit harder for me to organize. And I think it’s best to pass it off to folks who specialize in organizing community efforts like this to my friends at the Modern Woodworkers Association. So from now on, Safety Day, Safety Week, whatever they plan to do with it, it’s in their corner. I’m passing the baton, and letting those guys take it over. Alright, so this is a
safety themed video for May, which is in line with what we normally do for Safety Day, but we’re going to trust the Modern Woodworkers Association to take care of it from here on out. So go to and they should have all
the details concerning this Safety Day, and any Safety Day that comes thereafter. It was a fun ride, but I’m ready to pass
it off to someone else. Alright, thanks for watching, everyone. Stay safe in your workshop. We’ll catch you next time.

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