Keeping dust in control as best we can is another very important part of woodworking. Making dust control easier encourages us to use it more and helps keep our workshops and our lungs more dust free. In this video, I am sharing just a few of the things I do that makes using my dust collection system and workshop vacuum more convenient and allows them to share accessories.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/_B9pnCpXhP0
In a previous workshop, I had that was quite small, soon after setting up and ripping some wood, I soon noticed the shop was getting filled quite quickly with dust in the air. Rather than use a dust mask and keep on working, I simply left the workshop and shut the door and allowed the dust to settle and came back to it the next day. It was lesson dust control and when I returned to the shop it was with a single stage dust collector to see how much it could help dust control in my shop ...
Between using a good quality dust mask and the dust collector, I managed to keep a pretty good control of the dust in my shop, but along the way I discovered a number of things I could do that would make dust control even better
Dust Bag Removal and Sealing
Removing the dust collection bag from a dust collector is often messy work. We collect all the dust and chips in a bag but it's messy removing and replacing the bag and if it's not fitted correctly it leaks dust. To fix this problem I collected a couple of rather large old school magnets, one from the base of a portable light the other I from a tape measure, and it still has the belt clip on it to this day. These magnets become my "third hands" when installing new bags and ensuring that the band goes around all the plastic and there are no leaks.
And speaking of no leaks ... these heavy gauge plastic bags sometimes get caught on machinery or other pointy parts and can result in small tears and cuts. Rather than throwing out these bags, I discovered the best way to seal them is with something called Tuck Tape. It is often used in house construction to seal plastic vapor barrier and it sticks like crazy to plastic, and it lasts a long time. Tuck Tape is an excellent product, not cheap to purchase, but for me, it lasts a long time and I find it useful for many other taping jobs that require a high-quality tape to seal and adhere. You can find this tape a pretty much any home reno store.
Remote Control Dust Collection
I don't have a series of dust collection pipes installed that runs between machines and there are 2 reasons for this, 1) I seem to keep modifying how my shop works so installing and uninstalling piping is a lot or extra work and 2) the more pipe that is installed the less efficient the dust collection becomes. So, because of this, I have dust hoses that lay on the floor that I need to step over on rare occasion, and I'm OK with that. What I hate, is having to walk back and forth to turn the dust collector on and off and so I have a remote switch for that. The next problem, of course, is where is the remote control switch?? Because I move my dust collection hose from machine to machine, the remote needs to go with it and because my shop has a suspended ceiling with metal supports I can use one of the magnetic hooks that I talked about int he past video and hang the remote from the ceiling at whatever machine I am working it. It's stunningly easy, I never lose the remote, it's easy to find and use and can move anywhere in my shop.
Remember too, these remotes come in both 220 Volt OR 110 Volt
Adopting Standard Sizes and Using Adapters
Dust collection has evolved in such a way that there are a wide variety of hose sizes of hoses for shop vacuums and dust collection systems as well as dozens of adapters and connectors so that no matter what smaller hoses you have, there will be some sort of an adapter or 2 that you can use to convert it up or down in size. Of course, converting air down is size means you are reducing the amount of air, but in many cases, this is secondary to the main job of drawing dust and chips away from a cutting blade or bit. In my shop, I adopted 2 sizes 4 inches and 2 inches. This way all my adapters and accessories can be fitted to either my Shop Vacuum of my Dust Collector and it just makes using these items more convenient.
Work Shop Vacuum Modification
One of the things that is very annoying to me when using a Work Shop Vacuum in my shop to clean up is that as soon as I turn it on, no matter where in my shop it is located, it blows the dust that is on the floor or small amounts of dust that have settled on machinery, up into the air and is a bit contributor to making an otherwise dust free environment back to a dust one. I tried a few modifications but the easiest was to have someone make a "sock" from a porous cloth material that fits over the exhaust of my work shop vacuum, This instantly prevents the vacuum from blowing dust all over the workshop and helps keep dust out of the air. Yes, it does slightly reduce the efficiency of the vacuum but for me, that small loss is still a huge benefit to having clean air to breath as I clean up the shop. Other items that may work as well or even better include the nylon stocking or some sort of dust screen that could be adapted ... anything that buffers the exhaust without directing it straight out the back of the work shop vacuum would be a benefit.
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Copyright Colin Knecht