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Thread: Shop noise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Mt. Pleasant, MI

    Shop noise

    I temporarily liberated a digital sound meter from work and did some quick checking in the shop.

    Using the 85 dB as danger level I determined that almost everything in the shop is above that level. Some very much above 85dB.

    I don't have the ducts hooked up to the planer or drum sander yet but so far the levels are.....

    DC running - 78 dB (+/-)
    T/S while ripping plywood - 103dB
    Ridgid 6" ROS while sanding - 101 dB
    SCMS while cutting - 109 dB
    15" stationary planer (G0453) running - 89 dB
    Ridgid 13" lunchbox planer running - 101 dB.

    I didn't check the jointer without the DC running (it is under the DC level) with the Shelix. I wish I would have tested it before installing the shelix since it is much quieter now.

    I am seriously considering getting some electric in ear plugs.

    Once I get the duct's hooked up I will post back with the noise levels of the two planers and the drum sander.

    Sound intensity doubles with every 3dB which also cuts the time of exposure in half. It would be unusual to be exposed to a couple hours of constant cutting with a SCMS but a few hours on a sander isn't anything unusual.

    For best results, try not to do anything stupid.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum - Vegetius De Rei Militari III (paraphrased)

    "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith"

  2. #2
    I use Pelton earphones. They drop everything by 29db. I can hear myself breathing while using the tablesaw. Work well with glasses too. About $20.'s talks about your car. It's screaming "Wash me, please!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Howard Leight ear protection is what I have.

    Good prices here, good service.
    Wood: a fickle medium....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Griswold Connecticut
    Thanks Joe. That's a nice reference you provided.

    I always have ear plugs in when working with the machines. I'll double them up ( put ear muffs on additionally) when I'm using the planer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Rutherford Co., NC

    I use a set of 'reusable' plugs similar to these. They're lightweight, and cut the high pitched whines that do most of the damage, but I can still hear the radio and most other noises - like when the machine doesn't sound right. Plus, when I remove them I can rest them around my neck until I'm ready to make more noise. My only complaint is that I wear them around the back of my head and sometimes the plastic bar rubs my collar and they transfer that noise into my ears just like the stethoscope - but that's minor.
    "Live like no one else, so later, you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!"
    - Dave Ramsey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Glenmoore, PA
    Nice reference. Just curious, did you happen to test a router or shop vac. Those two are the ones that get to me the most for some reason. Must be the pitch.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Mt. Pleasant, MI
    I was actually thinking about the in ear electronics but they all seem to only kill compression noise (around 105-110) and are really only good for what they are designed for. That being amplifying existing sounds and shutting off gunfire. I know someone who used the extensively in the military and they were great for daily wear.

    I have a couple routers and two shop vacs, I will run them and get some readings.

    What was interesting about the dust collection is that the noise is all from the air in the pipes and the filter. The cyclone is in the adjacent room.

    For best results, try not to do anything stupid.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum - Vegetius De Rei Militari III (paraphrased)

    "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Portsmouth, VA
    Joe, back in 2004 I posted a similar test:

    My results were:

    Jet DC-1100 dust collector: 82 dB
    Jet JTAS-10XL 10" table saw: 84 dB
    Jet JJ6CS 6" jointer: 88 dB
    Jet JWBS14 14" bandsaw: 90 dB
    IR SS3L3 compressor: 92 dB, goes down to 84 dB at 6 feet.
    Ridgid 13" planer: 104 dB
    Excel 10" miter saw: 105 dB
    Craftsman 5 gallon shop-vac: 123 dB

    Pretty similar to your results. Please note, all of mine were taken with the machine running, under no load.

    What amazed me the most is the 5 gallon shop-vac. People use these things all the time in their house around children. At that level double hearing protection (ear plugs and ear muffs) is required. My military training has me wearing eye/ear protection at all times. But prior to this testing I never wore anything while using the shop-vac. I changed that VERY quickly after the test. I have since upgraded to a Ridgid shop vac with a muffler on it. I wear hearing protection when using it, but haven't tested it yet. I have some other new tools so should probably test them as well. I'll post an update when I do.

    Be well,


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Monroe, MI
    Wow--very suprising. I wouldn't be suprised to see the sound level on the planer jump significantly with the DC hooked to it. There seems to be something about pulling all that air past the spinning cutterhead that really makes them scream.

    Honestly I usually only wear hearing protection when using the planer and router, but it looks like I should really reconsider. I use a pair of ear muffs intended for shooting which are comfortable and easy to use. I think they were about $30 at Cabelas. I'm not a big fan of ear plugs. I need to wear them frequently for work when I visit manufacturing facilities and find that they are much more sensitive to how you put them in, when you take them out you need to put them somewhere, they get dirty, etc. One of the other nice things about ear muffs is that when I wear them when I'm on the tractor mowing, I can wear a pair of ear bud headphones under them and listen to my iPod.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Portsmouth, VA

    Updated Sound Levels

    OK, ran out to the shop and just started testing everything. Here's a pretty comprehensive list of my noise makers and where they faired (sorted by level). I didn't retest the ones from my original post.

    Skil 14.4v Cordless Drill: 68 dB
    Milwaukee 18v Cordless Drill: 71 dB
    Dewalt 18v Cordless Drill: 73 dB
    Delta Hollow Chisel Mortiser: 74 dB
    Jet 22/44 Drum Sander: 75 dB
    Ridgid OSS/Belt Sander: 76 dB/78 dB
    Jet DC-1100 Dust Collector: 82 dB
    Jet JTAS-10XL 10" Table Saw: 84 dB
    Ridgid 5HP/13Gallon Shop Vac: 84 dB (91 without muffler)
    Porter Cable Narrow-Crown Stapler (pneumatic): 85 dB
    Porter Cable Upholstry Stapler (pneumatic): 86 dB
    Jet JJ6CS 6" Jointer: 88 dB
    Porter Cable Brad Nailer (pneumatic): 89 dB
    Jet JWBS14 14" Bandsaw: 90 dB
    ShopFox Moulder: 92 dB
    IR SS3L3 Compressor: 92 dB, goes down to 84 dB at 6 feet.
    Craftsman 113.29461 (1969) 10" Radial Arm Saw: 92 dB
    Bosch 4212L Compound Miter Saw: 100 dB
    Porter Cable Finish Nailer (pneumatic): 101 dB
    Craftsman Hand Held Belt Sander: 101 dB
    Milwaukee Jigsaw: 101 dB
    Porter Cable 343 Random Orbit Sander: 102 dB
    Milwaukee Sawzall: 103 dB
    Ridgid 13" Planer: 104 dB
    Dewalt Bisquit Jointer: 105 dB
    Hitachi M12V (in router table): 105 dB
    Porter Cable 690 Router: 110 dB
    Porter Cable 7518 Router: 113 dB
    Craftsman 7 1/4 Circular Saw: 118 dB
    Craftsman 5 Gallon Shop-Vac: 123 dB
    Porter Cable Framing Nailer (pneumatic): 125 dB

    Check out the levels of the hand-held tools that many of us often use without even thinking of.

    Again, all of these measurements were taken from the "normal operating" position/distance with the meter held at ear level. None of the machines were under load and I allowed them all to run for about 30 seconds. For the pnuematic nailers I was firing the largest staple/nail they can hold into a 2x4.

    Be well,


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    Don, I’d be curious what the noise level of typical household vacuum is. We have a Dyson and while it’s the best vacuum we’ve ever had, it ain’t quiet. I always put my Bose on.
    Please help support the Creek.

    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. - Steven Wright

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Portsmouth, VA
    Bruce, ask and ye shall receive.

    Most data tables list a vacuum at 100 dB.

    We have the Dyson Animal and I just tested it: 88 dB at my ear level. When I "search" the vacuum with the meter, I can get it up to 94 dB.

    Be well,


  13. Funny you should bring up this topic right at this time. I am in the middle of a sound cancelling earphone test. Santa Claus brought me a regular set of headphones, a nice pair of Sony's that are studio grade, but not noise cancelling. They do have large earmuffs that blocks out some of the sound.
    In the audio world, everyone talks about the Bose Quiet Comfort QC2 and newer QC3's and there sound quality with the active noise cancelling feature. They cost 300 and 350.
    What I just came across, and have on order, and they are in transit are a pair of Logitech Noise Cancelling Headphones. The crazy thing is that they are listed at $162.19 at Amazon, and only $39.99 at Tiger Direct.
    Here are the rest of the listings from
    The following is a direct copy and paste from the site
    Where to buy Logitech Noise Canceling Headphones
    for Logitech Noise Canceling Headphones from online stores:
    $39.99 - $178.99
    $39.99 | In stock: Yes
    $162.19 | In stock: No
    $178.99 | In stock: Yes
    $149.11 | In stock: Yes
    $159.26 | In stock: Yes

    Check out the top price at TigerDirect. I just ordered a set. I called TD and asked them if these are refurbs, returns, seconds etc, and they said no, we bought these in bulk and have a lot of them, and they are covered by the full factory warranty, in factory sealed boxes brand new. I know from computer sales, sometimes a large company, or distributor goes belly up, and they then auction off their stock to liquidate for the creditors, and don't care what they get for them, oftentimes way under normal cost.
    Check the factory part number, they are the same on all of them. 980409-0403
    Ok now onto woodworking. I know there may be some who are concerned about possibly not hearing something while it is running. I will let you know. From what I read, they say they block differing percentages of sound, ranging from around 80 percent, down to less than that for people's voices. Low rumbles get blocked out more than voice levels.
    I was scouring Amazon for a cheap set of ear muff headphones to listen to my iPod while doing lawn work, trimming bushes with a gas driven loud trimmer, leaf blower, lawn mower etc., then I came across this deal. It is unbelievable at $135 off of regular selling price. I paid 39.99 plus 8 something for standard ground S&H for a total of $48.48 from Tiger Direct. You can see them by clicking on the price for them in the list above. At this price, you don't mind getting them dusty, or in the case of working outside in the summer, sweaty.
    Ok the sound quality is excellent with boomy bass, and the highs and middles are not as pronounced as the $300 or $350 Bose QC's, but for 40 bucks, I bet is sounds mighty sweet.
    So I thought it timely that you posted the DB levels. I have been wearing sound deadening headphones when I run my planer, but now I realize most of the shop is too noisy. Plus the tunes on the iPod will prevent me from blaring the stereo to be able to hear it, or having to miss it while running a tool. A word of caution, with the sound deadening turned on, (and you can turn the sound deadening on or off on these which is unique) and the music turned up, you may be in a total sound limiting environment.
    I am sure with so many at SMC, there are others who have experience with sound cancelling headphones in the shop, I am curious to hear their advice. I will be getting mine on Tuesday, and trying them out in the shop on Wednesday.

    Here is a copy and paste from the first review at Amazon.
    Superb heaphones, January 12, 2008
    By J. Norwood (Orange County, California) - See all my reviews

    I just rec'd the headphones today (shipped via UPS) and they work great. They fit perfectly right out of the box. I am currently wearing them right now while I type this and listening to music (who says men can't multitask ?). I will comment on them regarding both aspects - with and without audio. I first tried the headphones on while I was in my living room sitting next to my wife and father-in-law who were having a full blown conversation (about what you ask, I don't know - I couldn't hear them!) right next to me. In addition to them talking, my TV was on and the volume was set to a "normal" level. With both of these distractions in the room, the headphones cut down on the noise considerably. I'd imagine they'll work just as well at drowning out the engine noise on all the flights I'll be using them on. Just that aspect (without the audio) itself is nearly worth the $40 I paid (however, don't let the relatively low price make you think you are compromising on quality). Now, add the ability to listen to music and you have yourself one great noise canceling headset. I must admit that I am no audiophile, but audio quality of this headset is among the best I've enjoyed. I have had the headset on for well over an hour now and they are still just as comfortable as when I first put them on.

    One final comment. I am excited about getting these headphones, and the possiblities they have. I am not selling anything, at least not in the literal sense. I do not stand to make anything, not a penny, even if people clicked on every link, and bought from every source. As usual I am getting excited about something that I think some others may want to get excited about also.
    I am curious about what to watch out for when using noise cancelling headphones in the shop. Any suggestions?
    Bruce I noticed that you have the Bose that you put on with the louder Dyson vacuum. Do you use them in the shop?
    Last edited by Bob Feeser; 01-13-2008 at 12:53 PM.
    "Fine is the artist who loves his tools as well as his work."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Mt. Pleasant, MI
    Looks like most of the others have been answered but the DC does increase the noise considerably.

    With 10' of flex pieced together to test it the noise went from around 88 to 95 with just the DC running and hooked up. It has to be the air moving past and would make sense why the spiral heads are so much quieter. There isn't a single blade to slice the air.

    My tests are not nearly scientific and just a couple feet makes a huge difference in noise. Sound drops off fast in air.

    I got 100 for a 5.5 peak craftsman shop vac and 81 for a CT33E festool vac. 100 for the TS55 EQ saw.

    After doing some reading last night I need to add ears to several processes that I haven't in the past.

    FWIW, my shop dog CASH (Rottweiler) can bark at 101 on command without trouble.

    For best results, try not to do anything stupid.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum - Vegetius De Rei Militari III (paraphrased)

    "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Some where between Buffalo and Rochester NY
    Any chance of you testing the planer with a 6-8" board going thru it? I know my grizzly lunch box planer can be heard in the aparment on the second floor(shop is in the basement). My kirby vac is right around 80dB, which I wearear plugs when using.

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