I won't work with G-10 because it is SO NASTY. You better wear a respirator and have a dust evacuation system!
Micarta is almost as bad, but instead of it being resin impregnated fiberglass like G-10, it is resin impregnated canvas, linen, or paper. All of it is bad for your lungs!
You should wear a respirator when sanding or cutting pretty much anything. Most of the things we sand, cut or grind in our shops, we shouldn’t breathe. Wood dust and carbon steel may break down somewhat in the lungs, but stainless steel and the synthetic particles like micarta, G-10, plastics, & even bone don’t decompose in your lungs. Unless you can cough it out, it is there permanently.
The stone & steel dust is what gave the old time knife grinders what was called “Grinders Lung,” an occupational hazard of knife grinders.
There is an interesting article online about Grinders Lung from the Provincial Medical Journal of London, dated 1843; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... 17/?page=1
Some grinding occupations were more hazardous than others.
Fork grinders seemed to die between the ages of 28 to 32.
Razor grinders tended to die between 40 to 45 years of age.
Table knife grinders, who worked on wet stones, usually died between 50 to 60 years of age.
In 1822 there were “inquires,” (apparently their word for “studies”), into the mortality of 2500 grinders.
The results speak of severe occupational hazards:
1. Less than 60 (of the 2500 grinders) reached the age of 45.
2. Fewer than 35 of them reached the age of 50.
3. Of the 80 fork grinders, not a single one reached the age of 36.
A later study showed that within the Kingdom at large 296 out of 1000 people (from all walks of life) would die between the ages of 20 to 40.
Within the Grinding Trades (fork, razor and knife grinders) 885 out of 1000 people would die between ages 20 to 40. That is 89% of the grinders, (rounding up the ½ percent). Obviously they didn’t have OSHA!
Why this rabbit trail?
1- Because I like rabbit trails.
2- Because it shows how dangerous the airborne dust particles that result from knife making can be.
Consider this; in the 1800s they were using mostly natural materials to make knives. They didn’t have micarta, or G-10 or some of the more nasty (to the lungs) synthetic materials we make knives from today.
Moral: Get a dust evacuation system, even if it is just a Shop-Vac at your grinder or sander to suck up the majority of the dust. Get a respirator and WEAR THE DARN THING!
Really you should!