Having viewed the potential-workshop a few days ago now, I’ve taken the weekend to step back and decide that I will be going for it – just in case there was ever any doubt! 😉
Things are still yet to be signed, dotted and paid for as I write this but I remain confident regardless. In this post, I’ll be highlighting a few things I’ve since noticed and looking ahead to what will need to be done.
Last week, I found some time to tinker and experiment with the dust extraction setup for my bandsaw. For the last few years, I’ve been using a setup that allows you to connect a vacuum hose to an angled port that surround the blade just below the table. It’s often worked well, collecting a majority of the sawdust and also leaving less to settle on the lower blade guides.
But it’s not always been as effective as it used to be and I think the change occurred once I added a simple dust separator in to the system, which has always been the Triton DCA300 Dust Bucket. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure that another separator (particularly a cyclone) would give better results but the Triton one seems to offer an airflow that’s greatly reduced from the force drawn in by the vacuum on its own.
If you’ve ever tried to connect a vacuum to your portable power tools, you’re likely to have come across one (if not several) where the supplied nozzle at the end of the hose doesn’t even come close to fitting snugly in to the tool’s outlet. Some people will resort to using masking tape or scraps of PVC pipe; worse still (and I’ve been guilty of this many times) is where people decide to neglect the use of dust extraction and then proceed to cut, plane, rout or sand away with fine particles filling their workshops!
On Friday, while I was waiting for the glue to dry on a pair of chess boards (more on the perils of gluing end-grain to end-grain another time), I decided to have a go at making an attachment that would connect my vacuum to my random orbital sander. As you can see above; it works and I got the idea initially from (I think) Chris Pine over on Keek (@cpine).
You basically take two small squares of plywood, drilling one hole in each. In one block, you have a hole sized to take the nozzle from the vacuum; the other is drilled to fit over your tool’s outlet or port. Then, these two blocks are carefully glued together and I rounded the corners off to make it aesthetically pleasing.
It’s a custom solution that doesn’t cost a lot but might ensure you never run out of masking tape. You may still need to manufacture one ‘fitting’ for each of your tools but, if it means you’re more likely to use dust extraction then it’s worth it.
Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve found this tip useful.
I’ve had a good weekend in the workshop so far, which means that my social life definitely isn’t improving… Actually, I still have two days left (thanks to the Jubilee), it’s pretty safe to say that I’ll have the router table completed very soon indeed.
After that most-recent video-tour of my workshop, a few people contacted me asking more about the extraction setup I have.
It’s far from perfect, at the moment… I think it’s close to being very good but, I need to attempt to make some half-decent connections where the waste pipe meets the flexible hose, and vice-versa. I’ll also be purchasing some proper vacuum hose to replace the pond filter hose I purchased on a whim (saving money isn’t always the best option).
Any comments or suggestions you may have are more than welcome. I’m happy to read and hear whatever you may have to say.
I’m sure I briefly mentioned the emergence of a small company in the UK called Cyclone Central, who produce flat-packed CNC-machined cyclone kits that you can assemble yourself and fit directly in to your dust extraction system. If ever you’ve wondered how these kits go together or, exactly how a cyclone dust collection system works then, with the aid of one of their first customers, there’s now a video on YouTube that will tell you all you need to know, without going too far in to the science of it all:
I have no affiliation with either party here; I just thought the video would be of interest to other woodworkers. There are some web pages and other videos that delve in to great detail on the subject of dust extraction, which tends to almost over complicate things and can make it all difficult to follow.
Delivery within the UK and EU is a standard service. If you live outside of these boarders then, it may still be worth contacting them directly, as these kits are flat-packed, after all.
Having recently improved the efficiency of dust extraction on my router table after following Steve Maskery’s suggestion, I’ve since managed to go that one extra step further by ‘modifying’ the door to allow access for the hose, while containing all that noise and any dust that manages to escape underneath.
Being 6mm thick acrylic, the clear panel in the door on my router table was dead easy to drill, even with a 50mm forstner fitted in my pillar drill. That gave plenty of clearance for the hose but, for the nozzle on the end, I had to enlarge the opening by another 2mm using my bobbin sander – what a mess the melted plastic made of the abrasive sleeve!
Dead simple and quite effective. Another option would be to connect the hose through a hole located either in the back or one of the sides of the cabinet.