Home Made Tool to Help Eliminate Frustrations

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Blog entry by lew posted 08-04-2011 04:06 AM 2797 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Until recently the dust collection system, in my basement shop, consisted of a broom, dust pan and window fan. Then a really good Craig’s List find and some some subtle hints from Mimi (”YOU do the dusting and you’ll see just how bad it is!!”) has upgraded the old way. Although the system isn’t the most powerful- 1 1/2 hp- it has really made a difference; especially when I remember to open the correct blast gate. One thing I discovered is in order to maintain peak efficiency, the blast gates on the equipment not in use must close completely. Sanding doesn’t present a problem but when planing, jointing, sawing or general cleaning- larger chips find their way into the sliding gate tracks and prevent the gate from closing completely. To clean the tracks, I’ve tried unbent paper clips, opened safety pins, small scratch-alls but nothing seemed to really do a good job.

Well here’s my answer to the problem-

This is nothing more than a old U-bolt (1/4×20 thread) with one leg cut off. Bent to form a right angle then heated and flattened to fit the blast gate slots. It could have been ground flat but fire was more fun. The end was ground to a rounded point to get into the corners of the tracks. The handle was made from a piece of Sapele from member “Karson”. Drilled a hole with a #7 bit, turned/sanded the handle on the lathe then just threaded the bolt into the hole letting the bolt threads cut their way into the wood.

The length of the “blade” is long enough to reach into the corners of the tracks.

And the lanyard- that’s in I get clumsy and drop the tool. At least I won’t have to tear apart the hoses to find it.

Thanks for looking!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

13 comments so far

View KylesWoodworking's profile


281 posts in 2688 days

#1 posted 08-04-2011 04:22 AM

Looks great lew! Thanks for the tips and I like the lanyard idea.


View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3299 days

#2 posted 08-04-2011 04:43 AM

now that is putting you joint to work…lets see lew…your …joint… joint….ok….i quit…you get the jest…lol…glad you found a way to solve a problem, im wondering why your having that problem…i have metal blast gates and they dont do that…i wonder if that is what is causing your problem…plastic verses metal…maybe ask around and see if others with metal blast gates have the problem…i would figure it a pain to take your system apart and clean…how often do you have to do this..??.......well im glad you have a system going…much better then a broom and dust pan…...enjoy the new set up…and thanks karson for helping our good bud lew…your all the cream of the crop ..ya know that dont ya…well im tellin ya…you sure are….grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3299 days

#3 posted 08-04-2011 04:46 AM

well i just thought of why its doing it lew…because i have the metal…its much thinner then the plastic and so the groove on your plastic ones is larger…and allows the chips to fall into the groove…so i bet if you upgrade to metal blast gates…you wont have this problem…thats my guess….grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4396 days

#4 posted 08-04-2011 04:48 AM

Cool Tool Lew. I’ve tried all kind of sharp, bent items and never got complete freedom of movement. I’ll have to try some of this Idea and I’ve got some Sapele to make the handle.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1285 posts in 3732 days

#5 posted 08-04-2011 05:31 AM

You will never need to clean out blast gates again if you buy these from Lee Valley. Been using them for years. Well worth the investment.,42401,62597

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4072 days

#6 posted 08-04-2011 05:38 AM

nice arm—-is that mimi?

nice solution!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View ksSlim's profile


1275 posts in 2885 days

#7 posted 08-04-2011 05:43 AM

I think you’ve just re-invented the “New Yankee Weeder”. Might want to check with Dr. Google on that.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3497 days

#8 posted 08-04-2011 07:22 AM

Looks like the right tool for the job Lew… Very Resourceful!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View shakeyhands's profile


8 posts in 2483 days

#9 posted 08-04-2011 01:14 PM

I reckon I should introduce myself first thing this morning. I woke up early (before time to get up) thiis morning and was surfing around on the computer and found this website. I need to explain that I am 79 years old and not so very swift on the computer but I do have fun when it is to hot to be out in the shop. Mentioning the shop——-that is another story. Following retirement I built a small shop in my back yard and stocked it with a few tools. Shortly thereafter we had what was termed an “inland hurricane” which put a very large hackberry tree directly across the top of my shop, pretty much flatening it. OK so there is another years work cut out for me. Now fast- forward two years and I now have the shop rebuilt (12’ X 24’) and quickly discovered it to be far to smalll——but it will have to do. I like to make an assortment of items——-whatever strikes my fancy.

I will be looking forward to checking in here on a regular basis. Richard

-- So live that those who know you but do not know God will come to know God because they know you.

View sedcokid's profile


2731 posts in 3594 days

#10 posted 08-04-2011 02:25 PM

Lew, I Love It!!! Necessity Is The Mother On Invention!!! How true always.

Thanks for sharing,

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3751 days

#11 posted 08-04-2011 04:28 PM

Kyle- Thanks. I lost a couple of paper clips while cleaning the tracks with the dust collector running. Didn’t want this to end up the same way.

Grizz and John- I forgot to mention that the Craig’s List dust collector score included the blast gates and a whole bunch of other stuff. I can see now the metal gates would clog less and those Lee Valley ones are really nice!

Karson- Thanks! This Sapele was from a short piece I had cut for some pens.

Matt- Thanks! My arm- some folks here think I am just a computer generated PIA (education label).

ksSlim- After you said that, I went and looked at out garden weeder. It is the same!! SOB! thought I’d invented something :^)

Mike- Thanks

shakeyhands- Glad to have you here. Looking forward to seeing some of your projects.

Chuck- Thanks!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3668 days

#12 posted 08-06-2011 06:35 PM

Neat idea, Lew.

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3751 days

#13 posted 08-06-2011 06:41 PM

CJ- Thanks!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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