The American Craftsman WorkShop #25: Dust Collection

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 03-14-2010 07:42 PM 8845 reads 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 24: Mobile Parts Cart Part 25 of The American Craftsman WorkShop series Part 26: Video Update »

I often get questions about my dust collection set up and so I thought that I would share it with everyone. The dust collection in my shop is simple and may even be a bit of a disappointment to see. But the reality is that it works pretty well except for a few shortcomings.

Currently I am using a single stage, 2hp, 1500cfm rated dust collector wired for 220v. It is a 110/220v motor, but when wired to 110v it would dim the lights every time I fired it up so 220v is the best option.


The dust collector came with a 30 micron cloth bag that worked OK for sawdust from the planer and tablesaw, but it just about killed me when I started using it on the sanding machine. The finest dust that comes off of the sanding machine would pass straight through the bags and go into my lungs. Using the original bag filter would result in three days of hacking up brown goo from my lungs, so I purchased a retro fit 1 micron pleated filter from Penn State Industries. These filters are well worth the money, they are amazing in comparison to the cloth bags.

You will notice that I have to use duct tape to seal the bottom bag onto the DC unit. This is one of the drawbacks if you purchase a dust collector and then a retro kit. The original setup was not intended to be used with the plastic bags and their particular needs for attachment. But this works OK, I just have to keep duct tape on hand. The retro kit did not come with a means of holding the bag and the metal band that was with the original cloth bag was a piece of junk.


The dust collector is located closest to the sander because this is the most difficult machine to collect dust from. It has two ports and requires the most CFM. The 2hp motor provides enough suction but the biggest problem is that the dust collector is a single stage unit. For a sanding machine, a 2 stage DC unit is really necessary because it would help keep the filter clean for a longer period of time. I have plans to buy a cyclone but they are on hold at the moment. I know that I could use a garbage can with a cyclone lid and I may resort to this option.

The CFM requirements for a surface planer and tablesaw are not as great as the sanding machine. A tablesaw is difficult to collect from if you do not leave the dust collection shroud around the blade. I do not have the shroud mounted on mine so I get a certain amount of dust that comes off of the tablesaw. With this understanding, the dust collection from my tablesaw is quite satisfactory.



The jointer has it’s own dedicated dust collector. It is a small 3/4hp, 660cfm unit with the cloth bags. This works good because the jointer does not produce fine dust overall, it produces shavings.


This small dust collector was actually my original. The bigger one came later but I kept the small one because using it worked out best for my shop layout and dust collection needs. I was glad that I kept it because a couple of times I hauled it to a remodeling jobsite. It’s mobility has been a great asset to my business.

The dust collection system would benefit most with a smooth pipe run, but for the short distance I have to run a DC line, the corrugated hose works sufficiently without causing too much drop in the suction. I have a blast gate located at each tool and for my small system this works fine, I do not need to shut down whole runs to increase flow elsewhere.

Both of the dust collectors are activated by remote control units. I find that these are a great investment for the shop. I have the Woodcraft and ShopFox brands and they both work great. When you make the purchase, just be sure that the remote unit will handle the HP load of the dust collector.

SV103391 SV103386

Dust Collection From Small Tools

I collect dust from my electric hand tools like the random orbital sander, belt sander, and biscuit joiner. But I will have to cover that setup with photos and a full write up at a later date;)

That is all for now.

Your friend in the shop – Todd A. Clippinger.

Share the Love~Share the Knowledge

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

10 comments so far

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3417 days

#1 posted 03-14-2010 08:03 PM

Looks good, Todd. Have you tried to use weatherstripping around the bottom of your dust collector? I was getting some dust blowing out of the connection on my lower bag. I used 3/4” weather stripping between the clear bag and the metal strap. It formed an air tight seal and now I don’t get any dust coming up from the lower bag.

Thanks for posting. i always enjoy reading your blogs.


-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4098 days

#2 posted 03-14-2010 08:05 PM

Cory – there is no metal strap. It did not come with the retro kit and the one on the original bag was a piece of garbage.

I have a couple of elastic straps that hold the bag in place until I seal it with duct tape.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3671 days

#3 posted 03-14-2010 08:12 PM

Todd, the dust collection system looks great.

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4399 days

#4 posted 03-14-2010 08:51 PM

Todd: I bought this cyclone attachment on ebay

It works great.

-- 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 MercerRemodeling's profile


47 posts in 3610 days

#5 posted 03-14-2010 10:32 PM

Awesome! I have a 3/4 Jet unit w/ pleated filter that I use for everything at the moment but haven’t thought about taking it to sites. When I do upgrade I probably will hold on to it for that reason. A couple of other questions, do you use shop vacs attached to smaller tools? And how about the scms?

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3307 days

#6 posted 03-14-2010 10:51 PM

Instead of using grey tape you might try using a webbed ratcheting strap. I had used a 1” one on my bag type dust collector and it worrked fine and was easy to put on and take off. I have since purchased a 1440cfm. cyclone and it is great.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4098 days

#7 posted 03-14-2010 11:36 PM

Greg – You know I thought of using a webbed strap at one time and never followed through with it. I will have t reconsider and give it a shot.

Crankyrocker – I use the shopvac attached to just about everything whenever possible. In my shop I also use the Dust Deputy but I don’t see using that in the field so much. Remodeling bathrooms in a house with people living in them is a crowded scenario already.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View charlie48's profile


248 posts in 3168 days

#8 posted 03-14-2010 11:56 PM

Todd, have you tried using the Dust Deputy on the big sander? just wondering if the big sander would overpower the Deputy ??

-- Charlie............Only time will tell if it was time well spent.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4098 days

#9 posted 03-15-2010 05:04 PM

Charlie 48 – The big dust collector would not be able to pull the necessary volume of air through the Dust Deputy.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View MercerRemodeling's profile


47 posts in 3610 days

#10 posted 03-17-2010 11:04 PM

I will have to look into the dust deputy. I have a dedicated shop vac for miter saw, pocket hole jig, and one for sanders/ biscuit joiner. For the larger tools with more chips I use the Jet unit.

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