ScrollSaw Information and Resources #23: Sound Level Reduction

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Blog entry by jerrells posted 01-26-2012 02:42 AM 5810 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: What a Difference a Scrollsaw Makes Part 23 of ScrollSaw Information and Resources series Part 24: Next Steps - or which way is up »

OK Scrollers, and anyone else, I need some help and information. I went to see an ENT for one of those check up things. After a lot of questions he was none too happy that I scrollsaw or anything else related to power tools. Now I use a DeWalt (52DB there) and a bucket head vac. but I can find its noise rating. I have been wearing the over the head earmuffs (with a 25DB noise reduction rating). Today after a lot of research I purchase some of the foam inserts as a second level of protection.

Now the question, in general, is “what do you use” and “have you experienced any issues with hearing while prolong use of a scrollsaw. My ENT’s suggestion was “give it up”. Well I will give up most any tool in my shop however he is going to get a fight over the scrollsaw.

On solution is that I could turn off the vac. until the very end and then clean up the area. That would reduce the exposure to that noise level.

A second idea is that I could enclose the vac. in some sound damping material or case to help with its noise.

I read online that only noise above 90DB for prolonged periods is harmful. Well what is one to do – any input would be greatly appreciated.


-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

7 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2944 days

#1 posted 01-26-2012 02:59 AM

I don’t know, Jerrell. I don’t use the vac the whole time I am scrollsawing. The only time I would maybe consider doing so is if I am cutting something really ‘dusty’ like MDF or something with a larger blade that will kick up more dust. I find the dust minimal and just pull the ole shop vac out of the closet when I am finished (or when I get up to stretch or get something to drink if it is a long project) and that seems to do the job very well.

Many times I use cordless headphones with my favorite music playing (which can be anything from Mozart to Pink Floyd) and I don’t hear any saw noise. I don’t know what the DB levels are, but I never experience any problems or have any hearing loss when last checked.

Are you having issues with your hearing? Just wondering and I hope you don’t mind me asking. It seems pretty extreme for him to just say “give it up” when I think it is one of the quietest tools in the shop. I don’t get it. :/


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 2944 days

#2 posted 01-26-2012 04:24 AM

I would expect that while cutting you are getting far louder than 52 db with the scroll saw but my guess would be that with 25 db of protection from the earmuffs you should be well within safe range. (Even better with the foam inserts added) For that matter I can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be able to use nearly all power tools as long as you can find good ear protection. It seems to me that your doctor was being quite ignorant. That’s just my 2 cents.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View simarilan's profile


145 posts in 2537 days

#3 posted 01-26-2012 05:06 AM

Am going to have to go with Keith – If you think you need to go see another ENT

-- Quality is easy to see - but hard to explain

View Nighthawk's profile


556 posts in 2381 days

#4 posted 01-26-2012 05:10 AM

I just normally wear standard ear muffs when using most of my power tools, however will admit I don’t withthe scroll saw… hmmm maybe I should…

-- Rome wasn't built in a day... but I wasn't on that job? ...

View ScrollSawVideo's profile


46 posts in 2933 days

#5 posted 01-26-2012 05:16 PM

Using a vacuum the whole time is useless for me. Right next to my scrollsaw I have an air filtration system (JDS ). The air intake is approx 15 inches away from the ss table. This will get most airborne dust while you are scrolling. The noise is about 1/4 of a vacuum. After every 20-25 cuts I will use a 1 gallon wet dry vac to get all the heavier debris. The 1 g vac sits perfectly on the Dewalt stand and out of the way. You can see my setup in one of my videos, here’s a link…

The JDS air filtration costs around 275.00 and the one g vac about 20.00. Look for similar air systems for cheaper prices, I have seen the Delta version as low as 129.00. My scrollroom is a converted basement bedroom approx 14×16. The dust doesn’t leave that room.

-- Karl. N. Atlanta

View Warren's profile


81 posts in 2360 days

#6 posted 01-27-2012 04:51 AM

my scroll table has a hose running to it to lightly blow the dust off my work

-- Warren, Cambridge,OH.

View paul44224's profile


68 posts in 2528 days

#7 posted 01-27-2012 01:02 PM

I just use a pair of foam ear plugs, and sometimes a pair of headphones over them for some music. Works great even if I am scrolling with my Craftsman saw. My Hawk is much quieter. I also don’t run my shop vac while scrolling. But every break or when I’m done for the day, I vac.
I went to an ENT guy about a year ago. Told me the same thing, quit woodworking. I do wear the earplugs all the time now, though, while woodworking.

-- Paul,

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