no dust collector/ Always sneezing

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Forum topic by ChrisCarr posted 10-01-2010 08:21 PM 2712 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 3100 days

10-01-2010 08:21 PM

In my shop I always get sawdust and chips on the floor. I was cleaning it after it falls with a cheap shopvac but no matter how much I empty it the motor doesn’t get suction like it used to. My contractor table saw has a bucket under it for dust but a lot gets out from it and the saw’s open back. Dust used to not bother me but now I spend 5 minutes in the shop and I sneeze and feel like I have been working out in the heat for hours. I don’t know if its the dust or me. I can’t afford a dust collector and buying a cheap crappy one is pointless I think.

I do have an extra 1/3 hp induction motor that runs around 1700’s rpm. Does anyone know if there are others who have built dust collectors? I used to love being in my shop….now I don’t.

I have a table saw , bench drill press, router and open bench router table, portable planer , electric portable sander, and soon to be finished homemade bandsaw. If I have dust collection it should be for all my tools portable and stationary.

Any help or comments would be great.

12 replies so far

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 3082 days

#1 posted 10-01-2010 08:52 PM

Well research has showed that sawdust can be dangerous and cause respiratory problems.. Have you checked the shop vac filter? Maybe try buying a new higher quality filter that will filter the dust better. A dirty filter can hurt performance.

You can get away with using your shop vac for a dust collector. If your vac is not sucking because of a motor issue then I would buy a new or used shop vac to replace it.

Also to help keep the finer particles of dust out of the air maybe try attaching some furnace filters to the back of box fans. I have two box fans running in my garage shop and the filters fill up fast with dust so I know it works… Its cheap, easy to do and it does work.

Breathing in a little saw dust is not the end of the world, I think its a bit over exaggerated in the sense that some people feel they need to capture every single particle of dust so they buy the more expensive dust collectors and air filter units… My wifes grandfather has done woodworking his basement for like 40 years and has only used a shop vac and hes fine and healthy… Try some fans and filters

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3068 days

#2 posted 10-01-2010 09:00 PM

I would hate to know how much saw dust that I have breathed in over the last 40 years. I know that it’s not good for you. If you happen to be sensitive or alergic to it then so much the worse.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3028 days

#3 posted 10-01-2010 09:32 PM

In the next 20 years, you are going to see them add another term to the medical books “Woodworker’s Lung.” They say smoking is bad for you; but probably only slightly worse than inhalation of sawdust. I am going to get a DC when I can afford one, because frankly, its downright bad for your health.

Dcase: Does he use power tools, such as sanders and BS? Those are killers, due to the nature of their dust.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View mmax's profile


185 posts in 3657 days

#4 posted 10-01-2010 10:00 PM

If you sucked up any sheetrock dust the filter is probably ruined. I would try a new filter.

-- Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3375 days

#5 posted 10-01-2010 10:07 PM

Meanwhile, get a good mask for YOU.

I use a 3M 7500 and love it.

Figure the rest out (proper DC and air filtration), when you have the bux.

But … use a mask. HUGE difference !

-- -- Neil

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3375 days

#6 posted 10-01-2010 10:09 PM

Also, though I HAVE a DC and a JDC Air Filtration unit, AND wear a mask ….

I also strap a $30 HEPA filter to a $20 box fan, and use that to pull the fines out the way, when I’m sanding or doing finish work.

Works great.

When the HEPA looks a little dim, I run the ShopVac over it.

And … yeah …. your ShopVac filter probably IS toast. I’d spring for a washable HEPA filter for your ShopVac, sooner than later, if you can swing it.

-- -- Neil

View funchuck's profile


119 posts in 3258 days

#7 posted 10-01-2010 10:37 PM

I had the exact same problem as the OP. One day, I started sneezing when I turned on any of my tools. I was working and sneezing a lot, snot runnin’ all over the place.

I tried the filter on a box fan and bought some 99 cent disposable dust masks from Home Depot. I still had the sneezing.

Then, I bought that 3M 7500 dust mask that Neil mentioned and everything was golden. No sneezing at all, total comfort! That mask made a huge difference.

-- Charles from California

View Tim_456's profile


172 posts in 3797 days

#8 posted 10-01-2010 10:41 PM

I’ve seen some plans for building cyclone collectors however I think the problem is that you probably can’t build an impeller without some serious metal working skills. However, IMHO, I don’t know how much you’d save over something like a Delta DC.

Having said that, I bought my DC (I posted a review a while back) more because I hated sweeping up than anything and I’ve been very impressed with the results. All that dust in the air will be GONE and you won’t be breathing any of that in. I can’t stress enough how much this improved the quality of work shop life and I would say that you shouldn’t buy another power tool until you can get enough cash to either build or buy one.

Hopefully we’ll see a review of a new or home built model from you soon! Happy Dust Collection :D

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 3082 days

#9 posted 10-01-2010 10:43 PM

Greg- I don’t know all the tools hes used, just know he never thought to do more then a shop vac. I am not promoting not to use dust control, I just think basic methods are probably just fine. I think some people read into it and let others talk them into big expensive state of the art dust systems when there are plenty of older guys out there who didn’t have all the advance dust control stuff and they are just fine. You only hear about the ones who get sick.

Think of wood dust like smoking, we all know the dangers yet many people still decide to smoke. You never hear stories of people who smoked their whole life and never had any health problems due to the smoking. You only hear about the ones who get sick…

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3276 days

#10 posted 10-01-2010 11:27 PM

I also find that I am more sensitive to dust than I used to be. A good dust collector will help, but a dust collector alone will not capture all the harmful fine dust. I use a dust collector AND an air filtration system. The two do a pretty good job.

However, fine sanding is operation that generates the most fine dust. A conventional dust collector is of limited value. If you are serious about controlling dust when sanding, nothing beats a festool sander with an attached dust extractor. Yes, they are expensive but nothing controls sanding dust better.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View jafet10's profile


5 posts in 2998 days

#11 posted 10-01-2010 11:51 PM

If you need a cheap way to go, I would start with one of the 2HP dust collectors from HF. Wood mag has a coupon for $139.95 It comes with 2 cloth bags. I replaced the top bag with a canister filter from Grizzly, H5783 $180.00 and the bottom with a heavyduty plastic trash bag. Great suction & little dust. Later I built a cyclone seperator from plans off the web Now only a little dust get to the fliter, or the bag.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3185 days

#12 posted 10-02-2010 12:15 AM

Any help or comments would be great.
First lets see what you can do about improving your dust collection. You can go ahead an buy yourself a new dust collector a cheap 1HP will work, then build a Thien collector to attach to the dust collector. This will help you a lot in picking up the dust and chips. You only need to go from one machine to the next without having to run duct work. Then build yourself a air filtration system. These can be made pretty cheap with plywood a squirrel cage blower fan and 3 filters. Old furnace fan will work or contact a plumber who might have an old one . This alone will make a big improvement from what your already doing. And then get the 3M 7500 mask as Neil mention and others. Granted this is not a top of the line dust collection system but will be 100% better than just using a shop vac alone that sounds like it never get attached to a machine. How do I know this, Been there done that. In fact this is what I have been using, although I plan to upgrade after I finish the new shop.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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