A journey into the workshop. #53: Lost suction in my dust collector. Something to look out for!

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 03-23-2010 06:17 AM 2509 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 52: Projects at a standstill. New shop items on order, by order of SWMBO... Part 53 of A journey into the workshop. series Part 54: Mor progress on the insulating and HVAC front. »

So I was continuing with my planter box build tonight, and would up thinking, gee the air coming through the quick connect is sort of weak tonight, and I was verified when I made the first pass through the planer and the hose clogged up. Shut the system down, and started tracking down the culprit. It would appear that a single plastic Home Depot Bag got sucked up, somehow made its way past the Thien separator, and up to the cross piece in the impeller grate. Some cleaning was in order, and a quick blow through to get the lines cleared sucked stuff past the baffle and into the DC bag. So I emptied the approximately 2 gallons of debris, including packing peanuts, and lots of curly shavings from the planer. This all got emptied, the bag reseated, and the separator cleanred. I completed my runs with the rest of the lumber, made my needed cuts, and have since glued and pineed the assembly together,

I cut the cross piece out, not sure how smart that was, but in theory, if stuff like bags, and curly shavings don’t get caught on the impeller itself, they SHOULD get passed through to the bag. I must say to those using a single stage DC with a separator like a Thien , if you lose suction, it may be something slinky enough to bypass the separator (plastic bags, LONG shavings etc… that has the inlet jammed up like Houston traffic… Check that first!

I have options for finishes, and am undecided, I can paint, use the Red Cedar fence & deck stain, I can rub it down with BLO, Tung Oil, or even Watco Danish Oil….

So many finishes, so little time…

If LOML would let me do what I WANT to do, I would leave it, and let it get a natural patina. I am / was aiming for rustic after all…

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4 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3157 days

#1 posted 03-23-2010 03:45 PM

I forget what the final conscensus was but it seems to me that Thompson’s Water Seal on the outside and one of the non-toxic oils on the inside might give you the best bang for the buck. Or leave the inside unfinished. Oh well, finishing is always an issue.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View bayspt's profile


292 posts in 3697 days

#2 posted 03-23-2010 04:00 PM

I have found the same results with my home made cyclone type seperator. shopping bags and really long plane shaving make it past the cyclone. Mine is hooked to a shop vac so the plane shavings aren’t a problem, but those plastic shopping bags wrap around the filter and cut suction off really quick.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 3030 days

#3 posted 03-23-2010 06:48 PM

Almost the exact same thing happened to me the other day, though I don’t have nearly as nice of a DC as you! I was sucking up long shavings from a hand plane (just cleaning the top of my bench off) and some of the fluffy shavings sucked straight through my first stage and got caught on the guard right in front of the motor. All power and suction was gone, and it took me a second to figure it out! After that, I too pulled the guard from the front of the motor, figuring anything light enough to make it through my first stage wouldn’t damage the motor (especially since I only use the DC for dust collection, and not vacuuming the shop floor.)

I’m not sure if this is really wise, but considering how many long shavings I generate with my planer and hand planes, the annoyance was a real factor.

-- David from Indiana --

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3188 days

#4 posted 03-23-2010 07:00 PM


We use Thompson’s Water Sealer on most of our outdoor projects at the ranch. The sealer comes with several colors also and we have used a lot of the cedar colored sealer with great results. We bulit some pressure treated steps, for the pool, which get sun, rain, chlorinated water, etc. and have not had to reseal after three summers.

Good luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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