Dust collection is a very important issue in the shop. It is critical to health and general safety. Dust collection adds to the efficiency of the shop because the dust goes straight into the collection container and does not have to be swept up after being worked in and around. It is achieved in as many various ways as woodworkers can think up. Here is how I have chosen to do it in one shop. These views are from my brother’s shop in Ohio where I am currently working.
Point of Use
This is where the dust collection is close to the tool and the dust is collection is pretty much dedicated to it. It is sort of like point of use water heaters for a sink.
Here you see the dust collection to the table saw. It is activated with a remote control switch that I keep on the fence. The short run of flex hose does not diminish the small collector’s power and it does an ample job for the table saw. The small collector tucks nicely into the small space against the wall. It is easy to pull out and empty.
The jointer does not require much for dust collection and a small horizontal bag dust collector will lay just under the outfeed table and stays out of the way. This is easy to empty and is run by a tool activated switch. I can mill a lot of wood and only need to empty this two or three times in a day.
The chop saw can be used with the factory bag or adapted to the shop vac hose for dust collection. The factory supplied bags suck – well actually they don’t and that is the problem with them. I highly recommend a premium hose for connecting to a chop saw due to the greater flexibility that they offer. I have used hose collection on various brands of chop saws over the years and vac collection works quite well on most of the major brands. I use the tool activated switch with these too. Some chop saws will hook straight to a hose and some need a connector or adapter to facilitate this.
Small Tool Dust Collection
Here is one of the best secrets. The Festool hose fits so many more brands than just Festool, and you can buy just the hose. Here are some examples:
I have a Ridgid shop vac and Home Depot sells a premium orange hose that comes with various fittings for many different brands of shop vacs. I took one of the adapters and put it onto the Festool hose so that it readily attaches to the shop vac. If I need an extra long hose, I start with the big hose plugged into the vac and the other end of the hose plugs into the Festool hose. I use the tool activated switch from Sears. I have had good luck with these and in the last 6 years have had only 2 burn out. They get used quite heavily in my shop and on jobsites because I work on houses with people living in them.
There all kinds of options for connections but I have settled on the one that I think has the least hassle and most flexiblity, that is the use of the Festool hose. It fits so many different brands of tools.
Your probably wondering why I just don’t buy the Festool vac. I really like the Festool vac and it’s integrated system overall. I could buy all of their tools. I have to live with a budget like everyone else and I already have 3 shop vacs in small, medium, and large.
Here are the price points as best as I can remember:
Home Depot orange replacement hose with lots of various adapters: $35
Festool Hose: $68 (a bit of an ouch but worth every penny)
Craftsman electronic tool switch: $20
Delta horizontal bag dust collector $99
Jet 1micron/1hp dust collector $180 (on clearance)
Remote control for dust collector $50
Sharin’ the Love
I hope that the info here may help others to decide how they may want to do dust collection. There is always more than one way to do something but this is my method and I am quite pleased with the results. I am always happy to share the info and see your feedback. I am always enlightened by it.
Peace, Love, and Woodworking
-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com