Wooden Ducting for a Dust Collector

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Forum topic by NWWoodsmith posted 07-26-2016 08:54 PM 497 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 161 days

07-26-2016 08:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: ducting duct work dust collector dust collection wooden duct work

Hi. I’m just setting up my first dust collection system and I’m wondering if anyone has successfully made their own ducting out of wood. I saw a video where Stumpy Nubs made his own ducting and I’m curious if anyone has tried the same. I have a very small shop with very short runs, so there won’t be great demand on the system. However I want to make sure that it’s effective. Any experience with this and any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

-- NWWoodsmith, Seattle, WA

11 replies so far

View MadMark's profile


970 posts in 875 days

#1 posted 07-26-2016 09:19 PM

So you never going to move stuff around? 4” hose has got to be cheaper than wood & labor. Don’t bring the tool to the vacuum, bring the vacuum to the tool.


-- Madmark -

View rwe2156's profile


2119 posts in 903 days

#2 posted 07-26-2016 09:25 PM

I wouldn’t do it. All in all what are you saving compared to PVC?

I think you’ll have airflow resistance with square ducts and bends will be a challenge.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View OhioMike's profile


73 posts in 1584 days

#3 posted 07-26-2016 09:36 PM

Is it less expensive to build wooden ducts?

I used thin wall PVC for my system. (Plumbers call the stuff ASTM 2729)

Menards sells 4 inch for 70 cents a foot and they sell 6 inch for $1.50 a foot. True, the 45 and 90 degree fittings can get pricey but a small shop requires only a few.

I would do the math to see how much you would save.


View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3847 posts in 1915 days

#4 posted 07-26-2016 09:41 PM

Stumpy is the only guy I’ve seen admit he used wood. I’ve also read where guys used leftover carpet tubes (paperboard, I think). Here’s thew thing, you will have to change your ductwork over time (trust me on that) and it’s hard enough with a light material like PVC. I would even think about it with wood.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ki7hy's profile


431 posts in 161 days

#5 posted 07-26-2016 10:02 PM

I think the real question is why? Not sure it’s worth the hassle when there is so much else to handle in the shop. Sounds like a lot of work for probably zero benefit.

View splatman's profile


546 posts in 821 days

#6 posted 07-27-2016 12:08 AM

If you have a bunch of plywood on hand, narrow pieces that are not much good for anything else, why not at least give it some thought? Especially if you have Wandell-like superpowers that gets you more free wood than you can shake a PVC pipe at :D

I have thought of it. Basically square ducts going from every tool. Curves are easy using circle jigs to cut the top and bottom and thin bendy plywood for the sides. I would also include windows (made from window glass I got for free) so I can see at a glance if the ducts are clear.

View MrRon's profile


3892 posts in 2665 days

#7 posted 07-27-2016 04:11 PM

I think there would be too much loss due to friction. I have made a manifold of plywood that terminates all my PVC duct runs before reaching the DC intake.

View JBrow's profile


748 posts in 342 days

#8 posted 07-28-2016 01:57 PM


I have not seen Stumpy’s method for shop built duct work nor do I have experience with anything other than manufactured round pipe, but it seems to me that 1/8” tempered hardboard held together with furring strips would be fairly inexpensive. At $15 for a 4’ x 8’ sheet of tempered hardboard plus 12 8’ x 2-1/2” wide furring strips at $1 each would yield roughly 32 lineal feet of 4” ducting for under about $30 ($0.95 per foot). Silicone caulk could be used in lieu of glue to seal up the joints and would add to the cost. Turns and transitions would also be affordable but a little more complicated to build.

I assume that the shop built duct would be rectangular. Most of what I have read generally suggests 4” round pipe seems to be good match for smaller dust collectors (at or under 2hp); to maintain air velocity in the ducting. I would think that since the cross sectional area of a 4” round pipe is about 12 square inches, the cross sectional area of rectangular shop built ducts would best be about 12” square inches (but really should be sized to the dust collector). A rectangular pipe with a 12 square inch cross sectional area would require special transitions wherever the rectangular ducting marries to 4” round piping (like at the dust collector, blast gates, and machine ports).

If the interior walls are smooth and slick, easily achieved with tempered hardboard, and with no obstructions inside the pipe, air flow may be comparable to a round pipe system. But special care would be required at turns and where transitioning from rectangular to round. Smoothing these transitions should help preserve air flow. Making abrupt transitions would probably kill air flow. If the ducting is assembled using furring strips on the outside of the duct without glue, the ducting could be modified at a later time and interior obstructions would be minimized. Silicone caulk applied on the outside of the ducts would form the air tight seal at the joints and can be easily cut away should the need ever arise.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


990 posts in 134 days

#9 posted 07-28-2016 03:11 PM

yes it will work if properly sized ….... by C.F.M standards …...although you will have troubles at 90s 45s and square to rounds . ..... that being said would work for a main trunk line ….........that being said I would NOT do it


View splatman's profile


546 posts in 821 days

#10 posted 07-28-2016 09:13 PM

The blast gates can also be made of wood. A piece of laminate flooring would be used for the gate itself.
Silicone is not a must. Cheap painters caulk would do just fine. The whole point is to make it airtight., which painters caulk will do just fine. Plus, if you wish to paint your ducts (sure, it’s just shop stuff, but why is that a reason for it to look ugly?), silicone does not take paint at all.

View Redoak49's profile


1823 posts in 1410 days

#11 posted 07-29-2016 12:14 AM

Static pressure loss is greater in a rectangular duct compared to a round one. Yes, one could use them but have to take the losses into account.

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