While table saws and a lot of other power tools come with an integrated dust collection system, most of them don’t work that effectively. Along with a blade guard, the dust collector system with dust collection hose does its job to a certain degree but it’s not always enough. Even doing a little light woodworking in the dining room will soon result in it becoming sawdust city with wood dust and debris getting all over the dining chair cushions, the dining chairs, and the floor with the air flow becoming affected leaving a lot of vacuuming required afterward. And as any good carpenter knows, keeping the floors and machines in your workspace free from debris is essential for your safety. Not only will it help you see better and be safer as you work but getting the fine dust and particles out of the air is better for your long-term health. So, what are you to do when you want to prevent your workshop or job site from getting covered in sawdust? If you have a shop vac or duct system that just isn’t cutting it, here and five effective tips you can try:
A shop vac is one of the best ways to clean up a lot of wood chips and debris. In fact, a lot of table saws have built-in ports so you can attach a shop vac right to them. This lets you collect the chips as you’re working and, in theory, can save you from making a bigger mess.
As we’ve mentioned, though, these ports are not usually reliable. In fact, even among some of the most popular table saws, inadequate dust collection is one of the biggest complaints. That said, there are a few things you can try to make them more efficient. First of all, get a universal adapter to make sure the connection is secure and won’t leak. Alternatively, you may have to invest in a better shop vac filter to keep collected dust from recirculating.
While an air filtration system won’t do much to collect the large pieces of wood chips that get thrown around, it’s a very effective way to eliminate any fine dust particles floating around in the air. This keeps your lungs safe from breathing in sawdust which could have major health impacts in the long run. An air filtration system will also protect your equipment from being constantly covered in a fine coating of dust, too.
While these devices work hard to eliminate the sawdust from the air, they aren’t quite strong enough to pull in particles from all the way across the room. That’s why the spot where you put your device is so important.
One great trick? Make sure you place it so the exhaust works as a fan, circulating air and allowing the particles to travel to the filtration device rather than counting on the filtration device to suck up all the particles. This is a really economical option because it lets you use something you already own in a new way.
You can also place fans strategically around the workshop to keep the air moving but make sure they’re blowing in the direction of the intake of the filtration system. Otherwise, you’re just blowing the dust around.
Keep in mind that your air filtration device is going to take a while to get its job done. Leave it running for awhile after you’ve finished working. If you have a large workshop or your dust problem continues, consider getting a second device to help clear the air.
If you have the means, installing a dust collection system complete with ductwork is one way to get major results. There are plenty of resources available online that demonstrate how to construct one on your own or you can have a specialist come in and help you set up a professional grade system. If you already have one and are still having problems or if you can’t afford to make such a big investment, you can always try to…
Whether you have extensive duct work or you’ve built a hose system connecting all your tools to your shop vac, where you place your tools around the circuit makes a difference. Try putting your table saw closest to the source of the suction, be it the collector or the shop vac. This ensures that it will get the most powerful suction possible. Chips don’t have to go as far which means they’re more likely to be effectively collected.
After your table saw, prioritize your other tools as you connect them to the system. Anything you use a lot should be closer to the collection system itself why those tools you only use occasionally should be the farthest away. Remember, the shorter the distance the dust has to travel, the more likely it is to be effectively collected.
If you have ductwork in place, check that everything is properly connected. Keep the length as short as you can because the shorter the distance the sawdust has to travel, the more effective collection will be. Not only will debris have less distance to travel, it will also be closer to the collector. Use rigid ductwork when you can because it has less air resistance and won’t kink.
As for the collector, there are a few things you can check to make sure it’s running optimally. First of all, clean the filter as often as you can. Next, avoid fabric collection bags when you can. They can allow more dust to escape back into the air than a canister filter.
Sometimes, there won’t be much you can do to tweak your collector. In this case, you may need to consider getting a more powerful one. It might be worth having a professional come in to make sure your ductwork is adequate. He could also recommend a collector that has the right capacity for your system.
If you have a problem with your table saw and dust collection in your workshop, rest assured: You are not alone. Dust collection ports on table saws and other large power tools are notoriously ineffective. By following these five effective tips, you should see a vast improvement in the way your work space looks at the end of the day. Work safer and breathe easier by making these effective changes and getting your table saw dust collection under control.
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