Woodworking Tips Videos

Cyclone Dust Collection Upgrade

dust collector systemCollecting Dust or at least preventing the distribution of dust in the workshop has been an active topic among woodworkers for a long, long time and I expect it will continue to be as new information, changes in the industry and new methods continue to evolve.
The one thing that hasn't changed is that we all pretty confident that wood dust is not good for us to inhale. We seem to be at odds about how much is safe and which dusts are worse than others, but the safe rule of thumb is NO dust is good and ALL dust should not be inhaled. I think every woodworking shop I have been in has some amount of dust in the air, what we all do is strive to reduce this dust as best we can. One way of reducing dust is with dust collectors.

 

For smaller shops like mine, a typical dust collector is often a 1.5 and up to a 3 horsepower electric fan that draws dust from our machinery and deposits the dust it into a plastic bag while using an upper cloth bag or composite canister to filter the small particles of dust and return fresh air to the room. These are often not the best, but for many of us they are best we can afford and install, and in recent years they are actually doing a pretty good job. These units with collect and expel dust in one unit are called Single Stage Dust Collectors ...

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Dust Control Options in the Workshop

There is lots of good information on dust control all over the internet so this article is more about what I do in my workshop than it is about getting into the specific details and health hazards of wood dust which is already covered in detail on many other websites.

The most central part of my own dust control is my dust collector, which operates on a 110 volt system and consists of one filtration bag and one plastic reservoir collection bag. The dust collector is only turned on when I am using a woodworking machine and I have to manually plug it into each machine as I use that machine. It is the most manual system for dust control, but it works, and in my small shop it is not that big a bother to me. I have retrofitted the dust collector with a One Micron filtration bag and compared to the bag that was on the dust collector when I purchased it, the new bag does prevent the finer particles of dust from escaping the the collection system, I can see the difference.

The same dust collector is also used on my bandsaw, router table and reciprocating sander by using a 4 inch to 2 inch step down adapter to accommodate the 2 inch collection port on those tools.
The only tool that is still waiting for a more effective dust control system is my sliding mitre ... and I now have a solution, all I need is a bit of time to implement it. 

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Setting Up Your Workshop

Workshops often grow organically ... by that I mean, you start off woodworking with a few tools and a workbench. Later on you get a few more tools, maybe some machinery and they a placed within the shop where there is room. Next thing you know it is years later and you have acquired many more tools and machines and they don't always seem to be in the best or most convenient spots.
Has this ever happened to you?  I has to me which is why I always stop and take stock of how my shop is set up at least once every year. I am also influenced by other shops that I visit and by seeing their ideas and set-ups and sometimes I can use their ideas too in my shop to make it better for me.

There are many reasons that we need to re-evaluate our workshop space from time to time, and it's not just for convenience. Even more important is our own safety. A workshop that is properly laid out can be safer to work in just because it is easier to clean for example, or perhaps there is less chance of tripping over things like cords, dust collection hoses or running into edges of machinery.

The more we can do to make our workshops more conducive to work in, the more we will want to work in the and be safe, and all that means is there is more opportunity for us to do better, more enjoyable work.