Dust collection | Workshop | How To

Last week Rob wondered what your solutions are for dust collection, and many of you share the brief (and extensive!) details. – Editor

“My JET 1hp dust collector is the best tool in my shop. I installed it after a year of spreading sawdust everywhere. Wow, what a difference!” Phil Zoeller

“I use a Grizzly dust collector, a shop vac and a Grizzly ambient air filter.” – Art Abrahamson

“I have a JET Vortex set up to collect sawdust from my lathe, and it has a gate that I use as a vacuum to clean up the floor and tools. I have a Jet re-circulator and a Wen recirculator. I also have a RIGID vacuum with dust gates to my smaller tools. My planer and joiner are moved to an outlet that utilizes the Vortex so all of the chips produced get sucked directly into its bag.” – Cindy Navarro

“I have a central dust collection system that works very well for me. I save the shavings, dust, etc., and add them to my shelled corn when I fill my bins for the winter. I heat my house and my shop with a boiler that will burn wood pellets or corn. I figure why waste the BTUs from the shavings? The corn burns hot enough that I have very little creosote build-up from the wood.” – Dave Palas

“My dust collection consists of a broom and dust pan, a shop vac with a Dust Genie Cyclone attachment and a larger dust collection bag unit with a large Dust Genie Cyclone attachment. I’m now considering adding a dust collector that hangs from the ceiling as an additional measure of reducing shop dust.” Daniel Raffety

“My shop is only 18′ x 18′, and instead of doing a fixed system I have a Dust Right Separator paired with a Jet DC-650M dust collector. Both are on casters, and I can roll them around as needed. I settled on this pairing because while the JET is a great unit, it doesn’t really like wood turnings, and the process of dumping the collection bag is a serious pain. The plastic drum of the Dust Right is much easier to dump, plus it keeps the JET from getting clogged.” – Robert Garrott

“I use the Rockler wall-mounted collector. I had it all plumbed up with gates and branch lines, etc., but I’ve found that just a single direct hose with no gates or branch lines to the machine I’m using works the best. It doesn’t take any more time to move my hose than it did to set gates and clear branch lines when they became clogged.” – Ken Bayer

“I use a portable JET 2hp cyclone dust collector, although it is kind of permanent. It’s in the room (garage) next to the shop with 6” PVC piping going through the wall to the shop. Some piping is under the floor (raised via 2×8 joists off the concrete) and some hidden behind the workbench on the floor. Then 4” PVC comes up through the floor in five places for the table saw, band saw, planer, jointer and one extra for whatever. I can’t imagine not having a dust collection system. I use the box fan/furnace filter-type air filtration, and it works well. Although it is nothing like my friend’s dust collection system (3hp Powermatic) who poured his concrete floor over the 6” PVC with risers to his various machines and automatic open/close blast gates as machines are turned on, but then you could eat off the floor of his shop.” – Randy Walter

“Here’s what I use: 1) Broom and dust pan; 2) Two shop vacs connected to small machines and one mobile vac; 3) Box fan enclosed by four large filters on shop floor; 4) Clear View Cyclone 5 hp with 6” pipes. My shop stays very clean now.” – Mike Renfro

“I have a small shop (one stall garage size) with my dust-producing tools along one wall. Most are connected with PVC to a small cyclone and a shop vac. In addition, I have a box fan situated above a furnace filter close to the ceiling. It’s not perfect but works pretty well.” Chuck Albright

“I have a mobile Oneida 3hp dust collector connected to my large machines. I use a shop vac with an Oneida Dust Deputy on sanders, routers, etc. I also have a ceiling-mounted dust collector. Then there are brooms and a vacuum sweeper. I still have dust, just somewhat less. The only escape is not to make sawdust, but that ain’t gonna happen.” – pwhite4383

“I use a dust collector on casters for the stationary machinery with 4” dust ports and a Festool shop vac for portable machinery. It all works pretty well, except for the wood explosions caused by routers and the particularly odd placement of the dust port on my Grizzly planer. That’s collected the old-fashioned way — with a broom and dustpan or a broom and shop vac.” – Alan Gesler

“I have an Oneida SuperCell hanging on the wall and drag the hose from machine to machine.” Gerald R. Jensen

“My career was in chemical industry manufacturing, and I spent a major portion of my time making sure my folks were kept safe, even when they didn’t want to be. So I take dust control seriously in my shop for myself and any visitors. When I built my shop four years ago, I decided to forego a central system with ducts and to use a portable Mini-Gorilla from Oneida Air Systems. With only one machine in use at a time, this works well as I use a section of flex hose to connect to each machine. This serves my larger generators well (table saw, planer, jointer, etc.). For smaller generators (sanders, drill press, etc.), I use a large shop vac with a Dust Deputy from Oneida attached. I have added four hanging air filters to the shop over the years. Although I initially doubted their effectiveness, due to dust still collecting on the tops of everything in the shop, I now am sold when I see how much is trapped in the filters. Although my woodworking friends say it can’t be, I am sensitized to walnut dust. I’m not allergic to walnuts or walnut oil, but walnut dust causes an asthma-like reaction. When turning, I wear one of the air-filtering helmets and have begun to wear it more often. It’s much more comfortable than a dust mask or respirator.” – Jay Simmons

“My dust-collection solutions run through a plethora of tools. Since my shop is in the basement of our home, keeping the dust under control is important so we have a healthy environment. I have a 3hp Delta dust collector with a 4″ inlet.” – Tom Fuchs

“I guess I have four dust collection systems in my shop. My main system is an Oneida Air Mini Gorilla that I connect to my larger tools via a flexible hose. I connect my shop vacuum to smaller tools, mostly my palm sander, via a Dust Right FlexiPort hose system. I have two shop-made box fan/air filter assemblies that I use when I’m sanding larger pieces. I also have a ceiling-mounted dust filter that I run on a timer when I’ve generated a lot of airborne dust. Collectively, these work well for me.” – Gary Petersen

“First, ‘Form follows function.’ My shop is a single 20′ x 40′ room in an old farm shed/barn (formerly occupied by mules until the arrival of Massey-Ferguson). We’ve been here 32 years. The building is rickety; the tin roof doesn’t leak except when it’s raining. There’s no heat/AC and ‘ambiance’ aplenty! In spite of its spaciousness, there’s not enough room to permanently mount my floor-standing machinery, so over the years I’ve ‘castrated’ two table saws, two band saws, one heavy 5hp planer, a jointer, a two lumber organizers/racks, router table, belt sander, maple workbench, shop vacuum, etc. In short, everything is on wheels, except for a few tools that can live permanently mounted to a wall. Vacuuming the entire floor is easy with a few shoves. I’m using a relatively small Grizzly 4″ intake wall unit. I use a chain tightener to raise the entire dust collector just enough (about 1″) to loosen and free the dust barrel. This makes emptying all this built-in apparatus much easier. I have a smart-home switch that activates the dust collector. ‘Alexa, start the vacuum,’  or ‘Alexa, stop the vacuum.’  It works. There’s a 4″ Y connector at the vacuum’s intake port. Each branch has a blast gate that I have to set whenever I get ready to use a specific tool. One branch goes directly to the compound miter saw setup, while the other branch goes to the 20′ of 4″ hose with a quick-release connector at the business end. (All my large dust makers are ducted for 4″ vacuum hose connections). Since these tools are on casters, the hose will always reach wherever I want to use them. An Oneida dust centrifuge separates the particles and sends them into a barrel with a plexiglass window I crafted, so maybe I’ll know when to empty it. After separating the dust, the system exhausts outside. There is no bag and NOTHING has ever collected on the wall, shrubbery or ground around this exhaust port. So the Oneida dust centrifuge WORKS! Thankfully, we have no neighbors within 1,000 feet to complain about noise or dust if it didn’t… Overall, I’m fairly happy with this rig. When running the planer and jointer, I often wish the barrel was much larger. Connecting the hose to each piece of equipment is sometimes a pain. Storing 20′ of 4” hose by draping it over the unit is an annoyance. But the voice-activated On/Off switch eliminated my biggest user complaint when the rig first began to work. And I LOVE to clean the floor at the end of a job. I studied central dust collection systems and even have the ceiling space to accommodate one. But I’d still need some 4″ flex hose to make the last few feet of connection to my mobile equipment, so I opted to horse around 20′ of flexible piping instead. I THINK that was the right move (I KNOW it was the cheaper one), but I’m willing to learn otherwise. Anyway, you asked for it. So here’s my cut on dust collection. I STILL have and use a shop vacuum on my few tools that don’t have 4″ ports installed. Net result: I still have a dirty shop that NEVER will become a Better Homes photo shoot, but it’s not hip-deep in sawdust anymore!” Richard T. Rodgers

“The easiest way to deal with sawdust is to use hand tools.” Peter Fabri

“I have a Rockler Dust Right wall-mounted vacuum with a cyclone dust separator. I also have a shop-made fine dust filtration box with four 16″ x 20″ disposable filters. All working together with a recently installed one-ton mini-split A/C makes woodworking in south Louisiana enjoyable.” – Lynn Barbier

“I still use mostly an old-fashioned broom and dustpan for most my dust collection and a shop vac to get in the machines and tight spots. My next shop (hopefully not too far down the road) will have a dust-collection setup, but I imagine my trusty broom won’t be too far away.” – Bill Koski 

 

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