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Revamping and Updating my Old Shop #8: Benchtop ClampDown Downdraft Table, real Dusty, errrr.....Dusty for real.........

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 10-25-2009 10:12 PM 3760 reads 14 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Prelude to a Project in b# Part 8 of Revamping and Updating my Old Shop series Part 9: Long range planning - how to gain wall space and storage space. »

DESCRIPTION

Sanding downdraft table to be used on a bench or other. 3 perforated top plates, 2 of which can be exchanged out for non-perforated plates to use on smaller objects.

TIMING AND GENERAL FORMAT
I cut this out about a month ago, all but the perforated top plates. Then was going to put it together with pocket screws for practice, but the 7/16 ply is just too thin for reliably placing pocket screws. While getting my Kreg jig set up on a board, I noted my RAS needed tuning, actually a new table. So that, and tuning my, table saw, and a few other diversions…....but I got to the downdraft table this week. Don’t have the time right now to make a floor mounted mobile unit that would double as an outfeed table etc. So bench top looked right. I don’t like the sawdust much, especially the fine stuff, so it was very necessary. In fact I sanded parts of it while having it connected to the dust collector.

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS
Size:
It is 17” x 28” x 6” roughly, a size that just squeezes onto my bench including room for the 4” hose hook up. It is not to heavy, so can be hung on the wall.

Plan:
It is based on a Rockler design for their metal perforated plates. The only way it varies from their design, are:

1) Wings on either end that will allow for clamping [and a hole to hang it up, eventually]

2) The top plates are wood, loosely placed so as to be interchangeable. I made two non-perforated blank plates so that one or two of the perforated plates could be switched out to increase the downdraft if the full table area is not needed. The total area of the holes with all three plates in is slightly less than double that of the 4” dust collector hose feed.

MATERIALS
The body is 7/16 birch veneer ply. The top plates are 3/4 oak veneer ply, left over from covering my bench. The stretchers are some scavanged oak 3/4” baseboard solid wood I installed 25 years ago, and subsequent removed in another remodel but saved for later use. The materials were selected to make it to strong, durable, portable, and flexible in use.

CONSTRUCTION
The parts are connected with screws and glue for the most part. The slanting dust slides inside are glued and nailed from the sides. The bottom is nailed and glued. The outside screws are plugged, nails sunk and covered. Plywood voids and nail holes filled with Elmer’s Wood Filler.

FINISH
The body of the table is my usual black walnut WATCO, doesn’t chip, can always have another coat, and the dirt color of black walnut hides everything.

The top plates, both the perforated and non-perforated ones are covered with 3 heavy coats of Plasti-Dip on the top for friction, and WATCO on the sides and bottom. This is just a curious experiment for me. The major issues with using the Plasti-Dip are unknown wear characteristics, friction levels when coated with sawdust, and cost.

PICTURES

DUSTY ready to go, with two perforated panels in.

DUSTY ready to go, with one perforated panel in.

DUSTY insides.

DUSTY backside.

USAGE AND COMMENTS

I used it some during the construction, and in particular it keeps the sawdust down like it is supposed to. When in use it is connected with 4” hose to my Delta 50-760 1.5 hp dust collector running on 240V. With two blank plates exchanged in it has a very strong, perceptible flow of air, less so with all perf plates in. I have not used it since I put the finish on, completed the WATCO on the plates this morning.

I may at a later date put it on legs and wheels. If I set the height right, the top plates could be exchanged out for a plate with a roller on it to be used as an out or infeed. At this time, I do not have my TS cabinet built, and it probably won’t get done for 6 months to a year, so I don’t know the height of infeed and outfeeds. So in the meantime, the portable configuration of the downdraft table is the best setup.

So DUSTY is officially done. Dark suit, no sport coat and light pants….............(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska



17 comments so far

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5383 posts in 1884 days


#1 posted 10-25-2009 10:39 PM

Now that is pretty cool…

Might have to hit you up for the plan later on…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3659 posts in 1817 days


#2 posted 10-25-2009 11:19 PM

David:

I’ll save the modified Rockler plans. Just let me know if you ever want them.

While reading up on downdraft tables on the net, I had noted people saying that they layed things across unused holes to increase downdraft if only doing a small object. Of course, if you are doing a large object, the object actually closes off many of the holes.

I actually had conceived of a fancier version that would have a lever to move up the slanted board to close off perforations not in use. Then I decided that was overkill, and probably would be likely to have maintenance issues. Then as I was thinking about whether I wanted one big board or not, it dawned on me that unperforated boards would be the no brainer zero maintenance, and easy to do option. By using stetchers, I improved the strength, and gave me more options for other uses, such as outfeed. My little finger fits in the holes to pull out a plate, although a screwdriver or other could be used to lever one up if necessary.

It is desirable to have the ledges and stretchers on which the plates sit all in one plane to close tolerances. The boards should be very flat, no warp, but actually can be a little loose otherwise, the suction pulls them tight.

So I am happy about the design, and we will see about the Plasti-Dip, it can be removed quite easily if it doesn’t work out.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112081 posts in 2229 days


#3 posted 10-26-2009 12:29 AM

Well done Jim looks super.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3659 posts in 1817 days


#4 posted 10-26-2009 01:41 AM

Oh, and Dusty was distressed that we didn’t really let him pose, after all that work. So, like before, a little spit on the hair, sat him up straight, had him smile….....

Now, are you happy Dusty? Just like a kid…..........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile

stefang

13019 posts in 1986 days


#5 posted 10-26-2009 11:44 AM

Nice job Jim. I like it so much that I put it with my favorites so I can make one myself. I especially like your idea with the 3 removable plates and the combination perforated and non-perforated options. Thanks for sharing this.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View dlmckirdy's profile

dlmckirdy

195 posts in 1785 days


#6 posted 10-27-2009 09:05 PM

Great project, Jim!

As I recall, Dip-It is very thick out of the can, so that it puts a heavy coating on tool handles. I can see wood grain on your panels. what did you thin it with, and how was it applied?

Thanks, Doug

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3659 posts in 1817 days


#7 posted 10-28-2009 06:39 AM

dimckirdy:
I used the spray variety, Plasti-Dip, and it puts a thin coat on. I wouldn’t try it until I report back on wear and how the friction holds up in a bunch of sawdust. I will report back on the results.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View patron's profile

patron

13034 posts in 1993 days


#8 posted 04-10-2010 07:09 PM

great dust box jim .
my workbench is 4 cabinets ,
2 on either end of a 4’x8’ top ,
so making my box between the cabs was simple ,
and gives me plenty of infeed / outfeed for sanding longer boards .
http://lumberjocks.com/patron/blog/15042

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3659 posts in 1817 days


#9 posted 04-10-2010 10:37 PM

Patron
Thanks for the view. I have been thinking about putting new tops on my three 2×4 foot DoAll project tables after 20 some years. I think each one is going to have a secondary function, and one of them might make a good downdraft table. The one I am going to cover this weekend will have a kind of clamping and fence jig on the underside. The tops are just sitting on the tables held in by cleats. Had some problems clamping down a tough oak board to route a slot in it, especially since I wanted a sacrificial backer board underneath it. This jig should solve the problem, and be a good clamping jig in general. As I told Dick Cain, if it works out I’ll post it, if not I will pout….......and you will never hear about it….... (-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View twokidsnosleep's profile

twokidsnosleep

1063 posts in 1626 days


#10 posted 06-12-2010 09:12 PM

Thanks for posting this design, it gives me a great starting point for my sanding station.
I like the removable top sections
I will call mine Sandi :)

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3659 posts in 1817 days


#11 posted 06-12-2010 10:26 PM

Thanks for looking. It seems to work quite well. I have had some minor wear issues with the spray on Plasti-Dip, so I would just finish in some other fashion, if I built another one. Otherwise, the removable sections are particularly useful, and one of the best features. The lips on each end to allow for clamping are also very useful, although mine is heavy enough that it isn’t critical. Some non-skid stick on feet might be adequate.

When you finish Sandi, send a picture to Dusty, they might become penpals…...........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dlmckirdy's profile

dlmckirdy

195 posts in 1785 days


#12 posted 06-13-2010 05:23 AM

Thanks for getting back to us about the performance of the Plasti-Dip. Looks like it will be a while before I get around to a sanding table, so I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for other ideas.

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3659 posts in 1817 days


#13 posted 06-13-2010 06:04 AM

Doug
It hasn’t worn badly, but I don’t think it will hold up down the line, and is not worth the extra expense.

Have a good one….......thanks for revisiting…..

Alaska Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View twokidsnosleep's profile

twokidsnosleep

1063 posts in 1626 days


#14 posted 06-27-2010 08:06 AM

Oh dear, Sandi is taking a lot longer to get completed than I had hoped.
She is cut out and dry assembled for the box, vac attachment and baffles. No tops yet.
Do you glue the baffles down??? Otherwise I can envision them rattling around quite a bit and making a heck of a noise.
Really slow finishing her off and making her pretty :(

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3659 posts in 1817 days


#15 posted 06-27-2010 05:11 PM

Scott
Believe I put a wood strip to rest the baffles on, angled surface to conform to the baffle angle, and glued and nailed it into place. I made that before I was into SU. They definitely should be fixed in place.

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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