A leaf on the wind

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I love the way leaves tumble in a strong wind. Sometime this week leaves, and anything else not nailed down, will start tumbling out of my shop.

My shop is pretty clean these days. I installed and then quickly upgraded a really nice dust collection system last year, and then added a wall-mounted air cleaner over the winter. It’s amazing just how much difference that makes. But dust is incorrigible. We don’t get rid of it; we can only minimize it.

For that reason, once every other year or so on a really nice spring day, I do four things. The first three involve opening stuff -- I open the shop window and turn on the fan (on high) so it blows outward, then open the door going into the house, and then open the back door to create a fresh-air draft from the house through the shop. Then it’s time for the fourth thing, which is the most fun.

With my leaf blower revved as high as it goes I create a tornado in the shop, aiming the blower at every possible surface that can collect dust. The dust collector and my own regular cleaning gets most of the low stuff, so I’m talking about on top of cabinets and lights, shelves or things hanging on the walls, and even the walls and ceiling themselves.

Within moments it’s like a desert windstorm: zero visibility and the fine crunch of grit in your teeth. After about 10 minutes or so of this I let the fan do its thing for a half hour. Then repeat once, and a half hour later repeat a final time.

You wouldn’t believe how clean the shop is after that. And this year, what with all my newly installed dust collection, I expect it will stay clean a lot longer.

Best part is that my wacko lawn-mowing neighbor is downwind.

A.J.

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