Some of the best money I ever spent for work was the nine bucks I paid for my 3M plastic face shield. I thought I’d use it just once, but as it turns out, I’ve used it so many times for so many things, I forget the original reason I bought it. It’s one of those things that I thought would occupy a shelf for most of my working life, but instead has become one of those things about which I find myself saying: Hey, I could use the face shield for that.

I know I used it on an ill-fated job stripping paint from an old door for a quirky remodel I was doing. I wanted to protect my face from the projectile layers of paint that I had planned (wrongly) to rotate out of existence with my angle grinder. The door turned out OK—and nothing touched my face, thanks to the face shield.

It’s great for insulation, too. During a basement remodel, I had to stuff fiberglass batts into the ceiling joists of an old house. The bays were filled with ancient dust, so I used the face shield to keep it out of my eyes. Well, it worked, but even better, it kept the dust out of my hair and off my face. Ditto for drywall sanding above my head.

The OSHA-compliant polycarbonate window is tough. After seeing a photo on Facebook of a guy with a failed grinder wheel severing his safety glasses, I know I’ll never run an angle grinder without wearing my face shield.

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