Another dust collection topic/post

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Forum topic by LyricKayden posted 05-10-2016 04:23 AM 1224 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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24 posts in 969 days

05-10-2016 04:23 AM

Hi everyone, first I wanna say sorry for this post as I have seen, read and looked through tons of threads/post about dust collection but everyone’s situation is different whether it be the size of work area you have, the tools you use, money you have to spend and more. So because of this I’m starting this in hopes I can get some good help and answers. Thank you ;)

Currently I work out of my garage which is a two car garage. In my garage is also the air furnace for the house, water heater and washer/dryer unfortunately. Currently this is my situation and I have no way around it, sorry. Anyways over the weekend I cut some mdf boards and after that I got a wake up call of how bad dust can be. I’m using currently a shop vac which as many here know is not good enough. I have a table saw, miter saw, router, band saw and drills of course all of which create dust. Anyways I’m really concerned about the dust issues and would like to get this the best under control as possible and least expensive way. I was looking at the two options by Harbor Freight and with their discounts they give non stop I couldn’t see why not doing it. I have no problem running piping or duct on the walls to each machine and would probably do blast gates as well.

Anyways what is my best course of action? What do you guys recommend? Anymore information you guys need to help me here? Most of all I’m doing this for my health overall. I’m 32 and would like to live a long healthy life if possible. I quit smoking years back and this is something I would like to cross off the list as well. I just am not sure if I could continue doing wood work if it means I can’t get some of this dust under control for myself and my families health. Thank you and I greatly appreciate any help that can offered. Again thank you :)

9 replies so far

View 808ukulele's profile


3 posts in 960 days

#1 posted 05-10-2016 05:00 AM

I’m new to this site but have been woodworking professionally for almost 20 yrs now. I’m in the same boat, 2 car garage with heater, water softener etc. Coming from an industrial shop to a home shop makes dust control just that much harder but it can be done. The IDEAL setup would be to have a cyclonic type collector outside in a shed or at least a covered area and run piping into the garage. These collectors are very good at separating larger particles from the super fine stuff. The bag type collectors are horrible at this because it’s the fines that clog the bag so manufacturers of the cheapo collectors use bags that simply pass the finer particles straight through. If you can run this type of collector outside, then there really is no issue but if your run is too long with too many drops, you may not have enough cfm to work efficiently. Also, be very careful with static electricity. If you live in a low humidity area, static can ignite the wood dust and cause an explosion. Always ground your ducting, machines, and stay away from pvc fittings and piping.

View Bill7255's profile


428 posts in 2487 days

#2 posted 05-10-2016 11:33 AM

Your going to get a lot of options and comments. Many use the HF collector. Most retro-fit with a Wynn canister filter and add a Thien baffle. A Thien baffle is a garbage can seperator you can build. Just google it. It is quite effective. The best solution is if you can vent outside then you won’t need to worry about the filter. Most cannot. A better solution would be a commercial cyclone system such as Onieda or Clearvue, but more $$$. Buy as much cfm as you can afford and size you duct at 6” and larger if possible with you DC CFL. I pieced together my own cyclone system using a Jet 1900 DC and a eBay cyclone and I am able to vent outside. My system works great as there is basically no visable dust outside.
Regarding grounding and static, that is an age old debate. Many use PVC, I ended up using metal because I felt that was a better solution.

-- Bill R

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1594 days

#3 posted 05-10-2016 11:54 AM

Lyric, like you, I have read a LOT of the information and advice to be had here on LJ.

I don’t think it is ever intentional, but the “gestalt” of what you will read here boils down to “unless you can spend many hundreds of dollars on a huge DC system, you won’t fix the problem.

When you’re budget constrained and still trying to make an improvement, this comes across as “unless you spend many hundreds of dollars, you are wasting your time and money…get a new hobby you can afford”.

The reality is, I think, that the advice here will tend to ignore the possibility that inexpensively reducing the amount of fine dust you wind up inhaling by a very substantial percentage…is worth doing, if that is all you can afford. It seems very likely to me that (especially in a garage shop), some inexpensive (and somewhat less comfortable/enjoyable) partial solutions can probably reduce the amount of dust you breathe substantially.

The most obvious one with a garage shop is the OGD method of dust control. Open the garage door whenever possible, and set up a large box fan near the door to increase the air replacement. This is obviously not an awesome method during the colder months.

Also look at making some inexpensive “filter on a box fan” type air cleaners. If you can find some unused box fans laying around in your basement or attic, or find them in dumpsters or yard sales, you can pretty inexpensively get to a point where you are filtering a lot of air in a hurry.

Let’s not forget about the various “head borne dust collectors” (face masks, etc.). Just recently I noticed several youtubers have started using the more comfortable looking dust mask from RZ Industries. I haven’t tried one yet, but looks worth a go.

Using a face mask during the peaks of your dust creation and then leaving the area for 30 minutes while the fan blows the majority of the dust out of the garage is likely to make a very big difference in how much dust you inhale.

If this is a hobby for you, and the goal is to make it healthier, you shouldn’t ignore the many less expensive avenues that can get you maybe 75% or 80% of the way there…rather than just doing nothing and stewing about the fact that a couple thousand dollar solution is out of reach. A lot of hobbyists wind up doing nothing for a long time because less expensive solutions don’t get all the way there.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View OSU55's profile


1971 posts in 2191 days

#4 posted 05-10-2016 12:01 PM

The cheapest way is use a respirator. Unless you get into redesigning the dust collection for each of your machines, no matter how large of a dc you get, the finer stuff at the actual cut will still get into the air, and you will need a respirator anyway. I use a dc, and it dramatically reduces the amount of dust spread around, but doesn’t capture all of it. I use a separate dust filter as well. Still, when cutting for extended periods I use a respirator.

Venting the dc outside certainly works, but if you heat/cool your shop it is very expensive to condition all that make up air. When the weather is nice, open up the shop and create air flow through the shop to carry the dust out.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2687 posts in 3124 days

#5 posted 05-10-2016 12:58 PM

I have a two HP dust collector from Grizzly. 240 volt. I installed it outside my shop in a closet I built for it because very fine dust will go right though this unit. I ran six inch metal duct to each unit. Metal dust is self grounding so no static electricity issues to worry about. I am a retired sheet metal worker so I made my own wyes, reducing lot of cost for me. Six inch duct helps to get the fine dust better than four inch does. At least that is the theory. I ran the six inch duct on the floor along the wall to each piece of equipment. This avoids a lot of duct going up the wall and down again to the equipment like would be necessary when running the duct at the ceiling. The duct system will easily cost as much as the dust collector does. I understand the Harbor freight system also works well and it is also two HP but is 120 volt.

Because there may be some sawdust generated that the dust collection system does not pick up, I also have a $200 ceiling hung air cleaner I also got from Grizzly. It cleans all the air in my shop in six minutes, in theory, and in practice.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1122 days

#6 posted 05-10-2016 01:57 PM


I see dust management as a three part problem. 1) Keep dust out of mechanicals and appliances, such as furnaces, hot water heaters and laundry equipment, 2) Providing an environment free of ultra-fine dust, which can by-passes the body’s natural defenses, and 3) Keeping the shop cleaner.

The ideal way to keep dust out of mechanicals is to separate woodworking from the mechanical systems. In your case, building an enclosure to protect the mechanicals is probably the least expensive option. The biggest problem in enclosing the mechanicals is providing an adequate supply of clean air required by these appliances. An effective enclosure will keep dust out of the heating units affording better and safer performance of the appliances.

I was fortunate enough to be able to upgrade from a ½ hp dust collector to a 5 hp cyclone dust collector with ultrafine dust collection and central 6” PVC drain pipe network with static charge mitigation. This upgrade cost more than any other tool I own, by a lot. The shop is way cleaner, but some dust escapes the collector because, I think, collecting all the dust generated by a tool at the tool is almost impossible. In spite of this at-the-tool dust capturing problem, the shop is way cleaner and very little fine dust settles out of the air.

Keeping the shop cleaner is much more affordable, but with a central piping system, will still be expensive. Buying the most powerful collector possible will yield better results. Introducing a separator (cyclone or Thein baffle) to remove the course dust from the fine dust keeps the dust collector filters cleaner longer, resulting in less maintenance. Ultra-fine filters will keep a lot of the fine and hazardous dust captured by the collector from being re-introduced into the shop. However, I suspect ultra-fine filtration reduces the effectiveness of collecting dust at the tool since air encounters more resistance at the filters. Increasing filter area helps overcome that problem.

Using a NIOSH 95 particle mask is an effective last line of defense, and helps keep course and fine dust out of the lungs and sinuses.

View clin's profile


956 posts in 1198 days

#7 posted 05-10-2016 03:26 PM

Fortunately having your furnace, water heater and washer/dryer in there doesn’t directly contaminate your house. This assumes your furnace ducting coming to and from the living area of the house is well sealed.

I’m not sure what the potential problems are for a furnace and water heater drawing combustion air from a dusty environment, but I’m sure residential units were never designed with that in mind.

I too, would, and have enclosed those and feed combustion air in through dedicated vents (probably from the roof). Aside from preventing any possible dust problems with the furnace and water heater, it also frees you up to consider options like venting your dust collection outside, which if the furnace and WH are exposed to that, could create negative air pressure drawing combustion gases back into the garage and creating a health hazard.

There’s no risks I can think of to having a wash machine and electric dryer. Not sure about gas dryers. But negative air pressure could still mess with proper dryer venting, I would think.

Still probably not a bad Idea to enclose the wash machine and dryer in a closet, with something like folding doors. That would keep it a lot cleaner.

I do agree with you taking the health concerns of dust seriously. I also vote for using a good respirator, regardless of what you do with dust collection. I wear one any time I’m making dust and well after until my room filter clears the air. I also think a room filter is a big help. I have a Dylos particle meter and I can see that the room filter does a great job of bringing down the count levels very low.

But I’ll point out that a lot of dust still gets on things, even when you can’t see it. And just moving around the room kicks up dust. So even if the room filter brings the level down, it won’t stay down (if the filter is off), even if I don’t run a machine. Note: The level also doesn’t go crazy high either.

One of the best things you can do is ventilate the room. Short of working outside, nothing beats bringing in a lot of fresh outside air and just purging the dust to the outside. I’m still trying to figure a way I can do that in my shop (I only have one small external wall).

-- Clin

View NoSpace's profile


140 posts in 1442 days

#8 posted 05-30-2016 06:47 AM

The biggest bang for your buck is an air filtration system. Grizzly has one for less than 200$. Spend at least 30$ on a face mask for when you cut on table saw and a few minutes after cutting.

Cutting MDF with a circular saw blade is the single nastiest wood-working operation I’ve ever performed and I get your concern. Heck, I remember cutting a bunch of MDF outside one day, and noticing the neighbor cars covered in a layer of dust from it. Because it’s so nasty, I opt for plywood instead—that’s nasty too, but not as bad as MDF.

A good DC would be awesome, but it’s only as good as the dust hood on your table saw. A shop vac is still workable, but you might clog the filter. Others have mentioned a thein baffle which you can build into a 10-gallon bucket and that will help. I have a Fein Turbo 1. I guess on the expensive side and doesn’t have CFMs of a dust collector, but the dust port on my table saw may need the suction vs CFMs. It’s very small, quiet, and has a 1-micron bag and so my thein baffle saves me from using up expensive bags quickly but isn’t essential and sometimes I go direct.

View jgt1942's profile


203 posts in 2090 days

#9 posted 07-11-2016 03:23 AM

As Bill7255 suggest build yourself a Thien seperator (go to This will go a LONG way toward extending the life of your filter. I suggest the Wynn Nano filter be added to your DC as your final filter. Anything less than the Wynn Nano, IMHO you are wasting your money.

-- JohnT

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