Workshop extreme makeover (environmental)

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Forum topic by revanson11 posted 01-11-2013 06:19 PM 5099 views 6 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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96 posts in 2087 days

01-11-2013 06:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip dust collection ducting wynn environmental top hat chip separator air conditioner

A year or so ago I made a decision to either make my workshop a healthier place to be or to give up woodworking altogether. For the better part of 20 years I had been using a Jet 2hp cloth bag dust collector to keep my shop’s air clean.

I had a long piece of 4” flex tubing that I would just clamp close to any of the tools I was using in an effort to collect some of the dust. I used to cringe every time the Jet DC would turn on and the bags would puff a cloud of fine dust into the air as they filled with air.

I then discovered “Lumberjocks” and started reading about all of the ingenious solutions that its members had come up with to make their dust collection systems much more efficient. I had never heard about a “Thein” separator or a Winn cartridge and that I could reconfigure the components of my Jet DC to make it a key component in a fully integrated wood shop dust collection system.

I read about solutions that LJ’ers had come up with to add better dust collection to shop tools that didn’t have it built in, such as my miter saw and table saw, two tools that added prolific amounts of dust to the shop environment.

I read that just collecting dust at the tool wasn’t really enough to keep the air clean and found plans for shop built air cleaners.

I was amazed at how fast the filters turned brown from removing fine dust from the air. I knew I needed to go further with my dust collection efforts so I started reading about how others had designed and built integrated dust collection into their shops. I soon discovered the two competing camps on which type of ducting to use, PVC versus metal piping. After investigating the availability (or lack of) of PVC piping and components I would need I decided to utilize metal.

I also needed to deal with the filter bags on my Jet DC and the whole issue of clogging up the filter. Thankfully there were solutions to be found on LJ. I built a “Thein top hat”chip separator and mounted it on a 55 gallon drum, mounted the 2hp motor/impeller horizontally and added a Wynn filter to replace the cloth bag.

Then came the project of running duct to each of the tool locations, adding blast gates and sealing all the joints.

The last chapter in my quest for a more environmentally friendly workshop was to deal with summer heat. I already have a direct vent propane heater to take care of the winter months but I hated to be in the shop during the really hot days of summer. So, this past spring I installed a portable air conditioner. It sits up high on a wall and exhausts into the adjacent garage space. It works pretty good as long as I get it turned on early in the day before the shop gets too hot.

Sorry for being a little long winded but for those of you looking at having a healthy place to work maybe my journey and solutions will help just as other LJ’ers have helped me.

-- Randy, Central MN

13 replies so far

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 2219 days

#1 posted 01-11-2013 06:25 PM

I like the outfeed / dust collection shroud on your contractor saw, good design!

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View mbs's profile


1615 posts in 2694 days

#2 posted 01-11-2013 06:52 PM

Your journey and mine are very similar.

I’m starting to get interested in how efficient my DC system is at each tool. But, at some point, I have to stop improving my shop long enough to make some furniture.

It’s a lifelong pursuit to get the right tools in the right environment to safely make furniture.

I’m convinced there is still more that I don’t know than what I do know. All I have to do to remind myself is randomly search across LJ’s topics and I’ll find many that I don’t know much about.

By the way – you’ve done a great job in your shop. You have some tools that aren’t easy to build-in dust containment solutions.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View b2rtch's profile


4844 posts in 2802 days

#3 posted 01-11-2013 06:54 PM

Very nice and I am glad that LJers inspired you to improve your shop environment.

( did you still the idea for your dust collector from me? If yes I am glad you did. I also had the idea from reading many other posts)

I am now working on the next step: installing a 2.5 or 3.5HP cyclone dust collector and then the rigid piping in my shop. How big a difference do you notice in your shop?
How does your air filter work? Do suck the air on the sides and exhaust it on the bottom?
I need to build one .
Do you have any lead for me to build one?
What top you use for fan and for filters?

-- Bert

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 1864 days

#4 posted 01-11-2013 07:13 PM

On another note…

Is that a Unifence? GREAT fence!

View b2rtch's profile


4844 posts in 2802 days

#5 posted 01-11-2013 07:25 PM

‘But, at some point, I have to stop improving my shop long enough to make some furniture.”

-- Bert

View moke's profile


1000 posts in 2530 days

#6 posted 01-12-2013 06:04 PM

Do you think it helps having the AC unit up high like that….I have two similar unit about 8000 btu per unit, in a well insulated 700sq ft shop and they do not keep up well at all. I usually dont get them turned on until 1100 am or so though. I have tried everthing, I put a box fan in front of one of them blowing the air out with more power, made sure my soffit vents were all clear, and even tried threatening them!!!! I am usually 5 degrees or less than what it is outside. Any ideas?

Your DC system looks awesome, it is very well planned and executed…..good job!

View revanson11's profile


96 posts in 2087 days

#7 posted 01-12-2013 06:29 PM


The unit I have is 5400 BTU and is a little undersized for the size of my shop (560 sq ft). One thing that really helped me bring the temp down was to put an opaque shade on my east facing window. That seems to have really cut down on the heat gain from the sun. I also try to get mine turned on by around 7am or so. The real problem I see with this type of air conditioner is its method of exhaust. The condensate gets vaporized and is sent out with the heated air from the compressor and for every cubic foot of air that gets exhausted a cubic foot gets sucked in from the outside through cracks and such. I am usually able to keep the shop at around 77 degrees even when it is in the high 80’s outside. I mounted the unit up high for a couple of reasons. 1st was to have it out of the way, 2nd was to try to have it placed to reduce the amount of dust it would suck in, 3rdly was maybe since the cool air would tend to accumulate on the floor and that having it up high would help in circulation. Thanks for the feedback on my DC system, it has made an incredible difference, that is as long as I remember to open the correct blast gate.

-- Randy, Central MN

View moke's profile


1000 posts in 2530 days

#8 posted 01-12-2013 10:07 PM

Thanks for the advice….7:00 am? on my day off? Maybe I can pay the neighbor kid to come in and start it!!! lol
I will try to elevate them this winter that looks like a good idea….and you should be proud of that DC system, it is very clean and precise.

View toolie's profile


2084 posts in 2382 days

#9 posted 01-13-2013 02:31 AM

revanson11…...nice looking shop. good layout and well executed modifications to the incorporated tools. was that TS mod the same one published saw a while back in wood magazine?

moke…..... are your AC units mounted up high or down low? up high is the best location for cooling sources as cool air settles pushing warmer air up towards the ac units improving their effectivness.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View moke's profile


1000 posts in 2530 days

#10 posted 01-13-2013 05:17 AM

Toolie, Currently they sit on the floor…but I think I will be changing that!!

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2618 days

#11 posted 01-13-2013 05:47 AM

Nice shop you have. You have come a long way. Hope to do the same in my shop.

View HorizontalMike's profile (online now)


7589 posts in 2668 days

#12 posted 01-13-2013 12:03 PM

Wow, very well done. Always wanted AC but in S Texas that becomes prohibitive in electrical costs so I just have to run several fans and keep the air moving. Just upgraded the DC with a Wynn filter and it sure upped the cfm suction. Thanks for sharing the journey. You have a great looking shop.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View toolie's profile


2084 posts in 2382 days

#13 posted 01-13-2013 04:22 PM

moke…....i believe the difference in the effectiveness of those AC units will remarkable once they are moved up high so the cool air starts moving the warm air to where the units can perform their heat removal function.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

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