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You don’t have to put up with that irritating layer of sawdust that seems to settle throughout the shop, garage or basement every time you cut and sand a few lengths of trim.
The best strategy is to buy a universal adapter, which is available at home centers and other stores that sell shop vacuum accessories. Buying a tool with a dedicated dust port can save hours of time trying to adapt a tool yourself. These days, most bench-top saws and planers have dust ports, and they make a huge difference in controlling dust, even with a shop vacuum. Don't reinvent the wheel every time you use a tool; make a permanent adaptor so the tool is always ready.
Ideally, tool manufacturers would standardize dust ports so you could swiftly move your hose from one tool to another.
Note: You’ll find that dust collection on miter saws isn’t as effective as on other tools, but this will definitely help.
When you need both hands to hold your work piece, try getting a foot switch to hook directly to your shop vacuum to easily turn it off and on. I purchased my blast gates and quick disconnect fittings from my local Woodcraft store and started the assembly.
By subscribing to the RSS feed you will be notified when new entries are posted on this blog. Kevin- I had originally planned on a cyclone, but decided I’d rather save the money for other (shop-related) things.
Patrick, Yes, I did go to a FVW meeting last summer, it was ok, but have not been back since. DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ.
You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Breathe easier, protect your lungs and keep clean air circulating with an air-filtration system. All the connectors, clamps, elbows and nozzles you need to build a system and maximize its performance. From high-tech to the humble dust pan, extras that make dust collection easier and more efficient. For many of us woodworkers, installing adequate dust collection is the woodshop equivalent of eating our vegetables: We know it's good for us, but other items on the menu seem a lot more appetizing. The good news is that dealing with dust doesn't have to be difficult or outrageously expensive. Rockler also stocks high CFM dust collectors, air cleaners and air filtration systems, as well as downdraft table kits and plans.
Whatever the size of your shop, and whatever the type of woodworking you do, we have a dust solution that’s just right for you. I have been using Rockler for years, your products are always the best that can be purchased and your prices are very reasonable. Even if you can't develop an intricate dust collection system like this, there are many simple ways to improve your dust collector's output. Whether it’s a broom and dustpan or a state-of-the-art central collection system, every woodworker I know has some kind of strategy for dealing with wood waste in the shop. But regardless of the kind of dust control or collection equipment you have in your shop, sawdust can still become a problem unless you learn to use your equipment effectively. Although the steps for setting up a full collection system are well beyond the scope of this article (see my book, Woodshop Dust Control), I will present numerous strategies that will help you get the most out of various dust-busting devices, including air filters, shop vacuums, portable collectors and central dust-collection systems. For portable power tools, try to locate your work surface near the intake side of an air filtration device.
Many woodworkers install an air filtration device (AFD) in order to reduce airborne fine dust in their shops.
If a single AFD doesn’t seem to be doing the trick (fine dust still settles all over everything), there are a couple of ways you can improve filtration performance. If air filtration still isn’t up to snuff — no pun intended — then the best solution (after doing all you can to improve your primary collection system) is to mount a second AFD on the wall opposite the first one, as shown in the drawing.
One easy and useful way of reducing dust production in your workshop is sanding on top of a downdraft sanding table.
If you do a LOT of sanding, especially on materials that produce toxic or irritating dusts (glued laminates, synthetic finishes, exotic woods, etc.), even the best AFD isn’t going to keep your shop air very clean and healthy. If you have a small woodshop, there’s a good chance that you use your shop vacuum for more than just shop cleanup (which is, by the way, much better for your respiratory health than blowing fine dust off benches and machines with compressed air). If you’re tired of swapping hoses between benchtop machines, you can connect several machines to the same vac by setting up a small hose network. A big shop vacuum may have the power to suck away large chips a portable thickness planer (up to, say, 13" wide) produces. Primary collection via a dust collector and ductwork system servicing full-sized machines is by far the best step towards taming sawdust in any woodshop. An auxilliary dust hood can help capture the large chips and dust thrown off by large machinery like this miter saw.
If your central system is already performing pretty well, with collection that’s sub par at only a few machines, here are some tricks to try. Most central collection systems are set up with a main duct that runs out across the shop to feed branch ducts that connect each machine to the main duct. Reducer fittings help connect benchtop machines to a 4" flexible hose by reducing the hose size at the machine.
Shorten and straighten the ductwork between machines and collector: Every extra foot of pipe and hose adds air resistance that reduces collection efficiency. Use as many straight lines as possible, but if you need to make your ducts turn a corner, use more gradual 45° angles rather than a single 90° one for smoother airflow.
Because it’s harder for air to travel around corners and bends than to run straight, try to plan your ductwork to run as straight as possible from machine to collector.
Replace flexible hose with rigid pipe: Despite its ease of use, flexible hose extracts a big air resistance penalty in a collection system.
Make sure all ductwork connections are airtight: You’d be surprised how a bunch of little leaks can add up and reduce the effectiveness of a collection system.
Whether you have a small portable chip collector or a huge centrally installed cyclone system, performance is affected by the same factors.

Replace fabric bags with pleated canister-type filters: This not only reduces the amount of dust that’s blown off the filter each time you turn on the collector, but a large canister filter can also add extra square feet of filter area to your system. A pleated filter on your dust collector will often have extra devices like battons that bump the filters that can be used to keep up good air flow. A larger dust collector with plastic bags and a large pleated canister filter provides excellent coverage for your whole workshop and greater filter usage. Getting serious about reducing sawdust in your shop is a good idea for a multitude of reasons.
Please call us direct at 1-800-732-4065 to inquire on placing an order to your country, or see our growing list of International Resellers, as our website currently does not process international addresses. Professional grade cyclone dust collectors for large workshops with fixed ducting, collecting from multiple tools simultaneously. We run new specials almost every week on a variety of dust collection systems and components. In this article, we’ll show you how to assemble a simple, inexpensive dust control system that’ll suck up most of that sawdust before it gets all over the house. You simply cut the soft rubber with a utility knife to fit the dust port on the tool and the vacuum hose. Please upgrade to a different browser or install Google Chrome Frame to better experience this site. I’ve spent literally months planning out most of the details of my new shop, since before they broke ground. What I discovered during the assembly was that the thicker-walled SDR35 was a significantly snugger fit for the pipe fittings.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that our skin and respiratory systems can become sensitized to wood dust, meaning that further exposure could result in allergic reactions ranging from eye irritation and nasal dryness to dermatitis and asthma. We also carry cyclone dust separator systems, including our Dust Right Dust Separator, which turns your shop vacuum into a two-stage dust extractor.
Ann you have always done your best to make me feel as though I was your very best customer. Of course, some of these methods produce better results than others in terms of fire safety, cleanliness and respiratory health. You’ll find tips for setting up small collection systems as well as tweaks for improving collection in larger central systems. This is a step up from blowing dusty air out of doors with a fan, as an AFD doesn’t exhaust heated or air-conditioned air along with the dust. AFDs don’t have much suction power to draw fine dust into their filters, so it’s important to mount an AFD so that the clean air blown from its exhaust creates air circulation around the shop. First, try mounting a box or circulation fan on the shop’s opposite wall, oriented as shown in the drawing.
A downdraft sanding table is a primary collection device that can do a surprisingly good job of capturing fine dusts before they become airborne. Modern shop vacuums have adequate power for collecting chips and dust from both portable power tools and small benchtop machines. Move big machines closer to the collector: Large chips and shavings collected from big thickness planers, shapers and wood lathes are the most difficult to capture and transport through ductwork.
In an ideal world, the size and length of each duct — as well as the fittings (elbows, Ys, etc.) that connect them — are carefully optimized for airflow and resistance.
One way to achieve decent performance in a small system is to locate the collector closer to the machines. A ductwork layout plumbed with smooth-walled pipe will have better airflow (and hence, better collection) than the same layout using only flex hose.
Here are some strategies and modifications to help you get the most out of the collector you already have.
When the lower bags in a two- or four-bag chip collector fill up, the unit’s filter area is effectively cut in half.
This can improve your collector’s performance by allowing air to flow more freely through the filter, even when it becomes coated with fine dust during normal use.
Up to 99 percent of the chips and dust end up in a drum (not a fabric bag), where they’re easy to empty out. Stray screws, nails and scraps accidentally sucked into the ductwork don’t pass through the blower, where they may ruin the fan or create a spark that ignites the fine dust in the filters, causing a fire or (rarely, but possibly) an explosion. But don’t just rush out and buy a new collector until you’re sure that your main problem isn’t low airflow due to undersized ductwork. While not everyone has a budget that will support all the latest and greatest gadgets — applying these strategies will certainly help you get the best efficiencies from the equipment that you’ve already got. Subscribers get instant updates on the latest deals and promotions and can save anywhere from $25.00 to $300.00! We’ll also show how to assemble a simple, inexpensive dust control system that’ll suck up most sawdust. In the meantime, save time and frustration by installing an adapter permanently on heavily used tools, such as miter saws.
One of the features I was most anxious to include that I was unable to have in my shared garage space was an honest-to-goodness central dust collection system. Fortunately or Un- I was now also paranoid about what I could appreciate was the most dangerous aspect of my dust collection system—a smoldering fire in a collection bag. Also, while a special coupling is required to attach the blast gates to 2729, they fit perfectly in the green stuff.
I still need to build the hoods for the RAS and CMS and work out the details of the fittings for the router table, which will likely take more time than the assembly time to date. It can decrease the quality of your woodworking, too, by wearing on your tools and preventing you from keeping the stock in constant contact with the cutter. Our innovative Dust Right line includes a wall-mounted dust collector that provides plenty of suction without taking up floor space, expandable hose that stretches to seven times its storage length and all the couplers, adapters and accessories you need to bring dust collection to every corner of your shop.
We all know that keeping a shop’s floors, benches and machines clean of sawdust creates a safer environment that’s more pleasant to work in. Although they’re no substitute for “primary collection” devices that capture sawdust as it’s created (shop vacuums, downdraft sanding tables and dust collectors), AFDs are still important tools for ridding the air of fine floating wood powder that’s evaded collection. The drawing below shows that the ideal place to hang an AFD is one third of the way along your shop’s longest wall, with its intake oriented to the closer short wall.
When run on low speed, this fan encourages the circular airflow that moves dusty air towards the AFD. The device is basically a large, flat box or cabinet with a perforated surface on which you do your sanding. The majority of modern woodworking power tools have built-in dust ports that are ready to connect to a shop vacuum’s flexible hose. To assure that you’ll get good suction at each tool, it’s best to keep all the machines in close proximity to each other and to the shop vacuum.
An easy way to increase the unit’s capacity is to install a preseparation unit ahead of the vacuum.

Most small-shop systems that are designed and installed by woodworkers (not dust collection experts) often fall short of their optimal performance.
A relatively easy way to improve collection is to move the machine closer to the collector and connect it with a shorter branch duct, so chips don’t have as far to travel.
If you’ve taken a more “seat of the pants” approach with your ductwork and aren’t getting the collection you desire, here are a few things that may get your pipes humming.
For example, a system might use a very short ductwork system and air gates to control collection at several machines. Rather, turn corners more gradually by using special large-radius elbows or two 45-degree elbows. Keep flex hose used to connect machines to rigid ductwork short (2' to 3') and ground the hose’s metal helix wire at both ends. This not only reduces suction significantly, but the higher air pressure inside the bag also forces fine dust particles through the fabric and into the shop air. You can hire a pro to optimize your ductwork (dust collection specialists, like Oneida, offer system design services). This works best with larger capacity vacuums, because the sawdust and chips from a table saw or planer build up fast!
So, while the 2729 is a bit cheaper and much lighter, I save money overall with the SDR35 since there are no adapters needed to fit the blast gates to the pipes. And even the least health-conscious among us knows that reducing the amount of fine wood powder that floats around the shop and gets into your nose and lungs is imperative for longterm personal health.
An AFD not only makes your shop air healthier to breathe, but also reduces the amount of fine dust that settles all over the shop and needs cleanup. Because fine wood powder can float around in the shop air for hours, you must run an AFD for at least a couple of hours after you’re done making sawdust. Dust is sucked down and away from you (it’s still a good idea to wear a mask during heavy sanding).
Other tools, including routers, angle grinders, etc., may be fitted with optional hoods that allow vacuum hose attachment.
For example, three of my benchtop sanders shown in the photo above are mounted to a worktable with the shop vacuum set nearby.
Oneida’s “Dust Deputy” is a mini cyclone (like the ones found on full-sized industrial style dust collectors) mounted on top of a sealed drum. Luckily, you can usually improve a collection system by altering or upgrading either the machine layout or hood setup, the ductwork system or the collector itself. If the machine can’t be moved, another solution is to disconnect it from the central system and use a small, separate collector or, if the machine is a benchtop unit, even a big shop vacuum located close by to collect the sawdust. When connecting benchtop machines with small 2-1?2" dust ports, run a 4" branch line or hose to the machine, then use an adapter fitting to attach the hose to the port. It’s better to use metal pipe instead of plastic, because properly grounded metal ductwork won’t develop a static charge (common with plastic ductwork) that can give you a nasty shock or even start a shop fire. Or, if you’re not allergic to math, you can do this yourself by following the guidelines in my book, Woodshop Dust Control.
Editing of the time-lapse is ongoing and I will be posting the completed video when the job is done, natch. What’s more, the Dust Right handle and its attachments allow you to use your dust collector as a floor and bench sweep. If your AFD doesn’t have a built-in timer, you can plug it into a electrical timer (available from hardware stores).
Freestanding models have their own built-in fan and filters; benchtop units, like the Delta AP075, connect to a shop vacuum or collection system.
Y-connectors join short lengths of hose coming from each machine to the main hose that goes to the vacuum. You simply connect a hose from the machine or power tool to the cyclone’s side inlet and the vacuum’s hose to the top exhaust port. Make sure there’s enough air passing through the machine and into the ductwork: A common “rookie error” is to seal up every opening on a cabinet-style table saw to try and concentrate suction and improve dust collection. Although they won’t fill up, the canister filters used on collectors such as the Delta 50-850A and Oneida XXP020100 also need occasional cleaning.
Once the ductwork is properly designed, you can select a collector with enough air-handling capacity (measured in cubic feet per minute — CFM) and suction power (measured as static pressure — SP — in inches of water) to suit the system. Plastic air gates (aka blast gates) attached at the port of each machine allow you to concentrate more suction at a particular machine if necessary. But before dust can be captured and transported through ductwork with good air flow, air has to pass through the machine’s hood or enclosed base and into the ductwork. These units feature built-in cleaning systems that brush dust accumulations from the inside of the filter pleats. Don’t buy any collector that doesn’t have a fan graph, a plot of the unit’s actual performance showing the correlation of SP and CFM. In fact, I was pretty darn certain that I couldn’t plan this out to the last screw in advance of ordering the materials.
Shop vacuums with smaller diameter hoses are best for portable tools, while models sporting larger diameter (1-1?2" to 2-1?2") hoses are better for benchtop machines that produce larger chips and shavings, such as portable table saws and thickness planers. Not having to disconnect and reconnect the hose each time you change between machines is really convenient, especially if you’re working between several machines at a time. This not only adds sawdust holding capacity to your shop vacuum, but it also prevents the vacuum’s filters from being clogged by fine dust. In some cases, adding holes or slots on a hood or enclosure will increase airflow and can actually improve collection.
In addition to cranking these at regular intervals, also periodically clean these filters more thoroughly by blowing them down from outside with compressed air. I just knew I’d get half-way done with the install and either change my mind or realize I needed some other type of fitting(s) to finish the job. But to catch chips thrown with great force by the machine’s blade, cutter or belt, try fitting the machine with a second collection hood.
For example, the compound miter saw shown in the photo, previous page, is fitted with a plastic auxiliary hood mounted directly behind the blade guard.
The hoses from the hood and saw’s guard-mounted dust port are both connected to the same branch duct, via a Y-fitting.
You can add an auxiliary dust hood to a shaper or router table by simply clamping the hood to the machine table.

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