I started this project a year or two ago when I read about the benefits of a two-stage system. I purchased a Woodstock lid type separator for a five gallon bucket and when I filled it up too fast I cut a hole in the bottom of the five gallon bucket and put it on top of a Rubbermaid bin. Big mistake.
However I was using the shop vac all over the house, most of the time by itself so I never really tested the efficiency of the system until the other day. While it was collecting most of the big stuff, it wasn’t really doing anything for the dust. I cut the hole in the middle of the five gallon bucket and I didn’t seal up the lid for the Rubbermaid bin, both caused lots of problems.
After doing a bunch of research I came to the conclusion that my best option was to start over with an Oneida Dust Deputy on a new five gallon bucket. I figured I would keep the old system around as a third stage for when I was doing large tasks like planing, or cutting dados. And even though I don’t think I will use it much I decided to modify it towards a Thien baffle design. I stayed as simple as possible, a scrap of half inch plywood, a few cuts with a jig saw, three screws, and some silicone caulk. I think this may be the cheapest Thein-type system out there when you factor in build time.
Then I did a test between the homemade Thein and the Oneida. I was very impressed with how well the Thein worked. There was about an inch of dust in the bottom of the Rubbermaid bin and just a bit of dust in the pleats of the filter.
However after filling half a 5 gallon bucket with sawdust with the Oneida there was nothing visible in the filter pleats and only the slightest amount of dust came off when blown with compressed air. Now I’m going to put in a HEPA filter and start to draw up plans for a mobile cart to keep it all together.
-- J Azuma