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Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About #39: What Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant taught me about dust collection...

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 04-04-2013 08:36 PM 2327 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 38: Stumpy Nubs and Charles Neil singing- now THAT'S a good weekend! Part 39 of Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About series Part 40: Stumpy Nubs: Troll Hunter (They taste like chicken) »

Recently we did a series of episodes on dust collection, discussing everything from filtration through mustache cultivation to industrial sounding words like “cyclones” and “pipe”. We spent four episodes on it, and how those long winter weekends flew by as you gathered the family in front of the computer screen with cups of hot coco and excited giggles of anticipation.

But I’ll be the first one to admit, this stuff all gets a little confusing. Dust collection is a lot like professional wrestling. (Stick with me on this…) Everybody wants to show off their muscle, scream a lot, and maybe throw a folding chair or two. But it’s mostly a lot of hype. I grew up thinking Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan were both good guys who always teamed up to fight the evil forces of Jake the Snake Roberts and the Junkyard Dog. But then the Hulkster fought the Giant in WrestleMania III and the next think I knew Hogan was wearing a black bandana and Andre was the retarded giant in The Princess Bride. My whole world was turned upside down!

What were we talking about? Oh, yah… dust collection. You see, I started woodworking with a dust collection system that included a broom and an air gun on my compressor. That kept the chips from piling up around my ankles and the fine dust was collected at the end of the day in a tissue when I blew my nose.

From there I upgraded state of the art system that included a shop vac and a series of 2” tubes with blast gates to hook up my machines. Fine dust? Who cared, it was harmless as long as you didn’t breath. Next thing I know I’m told I need to go bigger, and bigger, and louder and bigger. One group is screaming about cubic feet per minute, the other shouts back about micron filtration. It’s enough to make me turn that air gun on myself and end it all.

The “chippies” are on the one extreme. They say you don’t need any dust collection as long as you can keep your head above the sawdust pile. Their ideal system is a snow shovel to clear the woodchip drifts out of the way once a year.

On the other extreme are the “dusties”. These are the guys who believe the tiniest spec of dust will kill you faster than an anthrax scratch-n-sniff sticker. Their ideal system includes an F-5 tornado encased in a giant steel cone with ducts that a child can crawl through hooked to every machine, and the dog just in case it sheds.

As the mad woodworking scientist who brought the wooden “Franken-cyclone” to life (Episode #31), I take great pride in my dust collection prowess. I’ve studied the subject from every angle: upside down, right side up, backwards and the other way too. I have tried everything, spent a small fortune and a good part of my woodworking career trying to achieve the perfect solution. Besides the broom and the shop vac system mentioned above, I’ve tried a series of four shop vacs, a trash can cyclone, a single stage dust collector (Harbor Freight), TWO single stage collectors, a homemade cyclone, and a state of the art, five horse, super sucking machine. I’ve used vacuum hoses, plastic pipe, four inch PVC and six inch wooden ductwork. I’ve had furnace filters, Hepa filters, bag filters and five feet tall cartridge filters. You name it, I’ve bought it, tore the shop up installing it, and ripped it back out to try something else. I currently have TWO full sized, ultra efficient cyclones powered by a total of eight horses. I have an ambient filtration unit that cleans all of the air in the shop once every two or three seconds. And, you know what? My shop is still dusty.

How is it that I, owner of what I think is the best possible equipment a small shop could ever hope for, have dusty floors? Simple- you have to turn the stuff on.

The fact is, it doesn’t matter if you have a cheap shop vac or a $2,000 cyclone. It’s useless if you don’t use it. Now, don’t get me wrong. My collector runs quite a lot. But how many times do we find ourselves making just one quick cut here, boring one quick hole there, without bothering to turn the thing on? It happens all the time, and the dust builds up. Then, you go to rip a couple of boards and you see all the dust already there and you think “what’s the point”, you may as well just work with the collector off until you get a chance to vacuum this mess up anyway…

Whether you’re into dust collection to save your lungs, or to save your broom, it’s not really about the equipment as much as it’s about the way you work. If you have a routine that includes opening the blast gate, turning on the system, making the cut, turning off the system and closing the blast gate, you’re golden. But if you don’t discipline yourself to follow each of those steps every time, you’re wasting your dust collection dollars.

Just as you must develop the habit of donning safety gear before using a machine, operating the dust collection system must be second nature. Otherwise you should just save your money and buy a good broom. Sound like a hassle? It is… at first. But why’d you go and spend all that money if you’re still snorting dust and sweeping up chips? They say it takes forty days to develop a habit. If you’re a weekend woodworker, you may need a year to get in your forty days. But, in time, using your dust collection system will become as natural to you as a triple-suflex-body-slam was to Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

CHECK OUT THE NEW WEBSITE- Read more blogs, watch full episodes of Blue Collar Woodworking, see video tool reviews, tips, and a whole lot more!

And now, take a sentimental journey with me to my childhood… ‘cause “Hulkamania is runnin’ wild!”

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com



17 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11457 posts in 1753 days


#1 posted 04-04-2013 08:49 PM

Stumpy you sir, are a Real American fighting for the (woodworking) rights of every man. Say your prayers and eat you vitamins Brother!

Whatcha gonna do when Stumpymania runs wild on youuuu.

BTW – i skipped to the bottom to watch the hulkster slam the giant. ;)

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4163 posts in 1603 days


#2 posted 04-04-2013 09:28 PM

Jim that is a sweet looking new web site
Just glanced over it, I shall now peruse it further.
Jamie
P.S
Cartoon is great idea :)

Auto dust switch

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

14558 posts in 1422 days


#3 posted 04-04-2013 09:43 PM

Stumpy,
If I turn on my “Hot Rod” HF 2HP DC all the time….
My electric bill will go up, UP, UP!!!

Then I won’t have the money for my mandatory health insurance….
If I have to pay for health insurance….
Then they can clean out my lungs….
I’ll wade through the chips, because I hate sweeping!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View woodcox's profile

woodcox

705 posts in 759 days


#4 posted 04-04-2013 10:15 PM

Always was a Hacksaw Jim Duggan fan myself.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1547 days


#5 posted 04-04-2013 10:36 PM

Hey Jamie- Thanks for the email you sent through the new website! I’ve never been to Scotland, but I’ve been to England and they don’t seem to like you folks too much :)

I’d love to come for a cup of tea sometime. But when I was in Eastern Europe I learned to drink it and my coffee with the grounds floating in the cup. If you’re into that, I’m out.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4163 posts in 1603 days


#6 posted 04-04-2013 11:22 PM

Jim, I like my Jamaican Blue Mountain freshly roasted then course ground
put the an organic paper filter. The aroma is to die for and no bits in site.
Tea I’m less fussy over. I’ve about 20 odd different ones, depending on
my taste. Though mostly it is a strong breakfast tea in the bag which we
went through 400 bags in 5 days. The scone count is a secret as is dog
biscuits consumed by the shop dogs. Our shop gets a fair mix of Scots English
plus about 1/2 dozen other nationalities.
You need to write a book then you can do a tax deductible book signing
round the world. Perhaps *The Big Coloring in Book Woodworkers” that
would sell well, you could even do a “Sticker Book for Galoots” the potential
could be phenomenal.
Jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1547 days


#7 posted 04-04-2013 11:25 PM

Ok Jamie- I need you to tell me right now, in writing, that you won’t sue me when I take your Woodworking coloring book suggestion and run with it!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4163 posts in 1603 days


#8 posted 04-05-2013 12:01 AM

Jim, consider it a gift
Just wait until I do my next hand cut dovetail
Then I’ll sign in blood

Jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5342 posts in 1589 days


#9 posted 04-05-2013 01:07 AM

What’s wrong Stumpy? You made perfect sense. LOL! And there is an issue of a powerful system cranking up the electric bill. Your air filter should help a bunch. I sometimes wear a mask and run the air filter while working.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1547 days


#10 posted 04-05-2013 01:40 AM

I am not talking about leaving it running all the time. I just mean I have a tendency to not turn it on if I am just making one cut, especially if a blast gate was left open on the other side of the shop. But one cut here, another there, suddenly I have a mess and I’m breathing dust again! You have to be committed! :)

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View FreshSawDust's profile

FreshSawDust

66 posts in 1076 days


#11 posted 04-05-2013 01:48 AM

I’d buy a Stumpy Nubs coloring book.

-- TJ - Perryville, Missouri

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

14558 posts in 1422 days


#12 posted 04-05-2013 01:50 AM

Stumpy,
I agree, completely!
YOU should be COMMITTED!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1547 days


#13 posted 04-05-2013 01:53 AM

Good one, Randy. I knew I was right when I told them we should keep you around!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

14558 posts in 1422 days


#14 posted 04-05-2013 02:18 AM

I am a PERECT example of…..
A BAD example!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Roger's profile

Roger

15280 posts in 1551 days


#15 posted 04-05-2013 11:52 AM

A very fine, newly designed website, Stumpy. Keep on, keepin on. Don’t ever fire MustacheMike.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

showing 1 through 15 of 17 comments

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