Attack of the red dust!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Roadmaster posted 02-19-2013 07:46 AM 2174 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Roadmaster's profile


10 posts in 1927 days

02-19-2013 07:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw question dust redheart vacuum

Hello, everyone. I’m fairly new here, though I read a lot of forum topics before I ever joined LJ.

I just have a small wood shop in my garage, with a few decent tools. The way I manage dust collection is with a 20 gallon Craftsman wet-dry vac. I’ve been working with different hardwoods, and really having fun experimenting with species unknown to me. The last couple of projects I’ve made have used mahogany, purpleheart and spalted tamarind. (I made sure to wear a painter’s mask working with the spalted wood).

My latest experiment is working with chakte kok (redheart). I love the color of the wood, and since the final product is going to be used indoors only, I’m hoping with some kind of UV-blocking urethane it’ll stay that way. But color preservation isn’t my issue right now.

My issue is the dust. The wet-dry vac has been great so far, but working this redheart is like an aerosol can spraying red chalk. The vacuum doesn’t seem to be doing any good at all. The dust is everywhere… on the table saw where the hose is connected, coating the vacuum, covering the floor and hanging in the air.

I’m thinking that I should buy a HEPA filter (#17912) for it, and perhaps that will do the trick. Does anyone else have a similar experience? I’m also thinking I should get a proper respirator.

Thanks in advance,
- Kevin

-- ./kevin

19 replies so far

View Bill7255's profile


427 posts in 2282 days

#1 posted 02-19-2013 09:05 AM

I am in the process of converting my shop vacs for better dust control. Getting a HEPA filter alone will help, however it is only the first step. You also need to get the micro-filter bag. These are much better and trap 95% of the .5 micron dust. Then I am putting a dust deputy in front of the vac. The dust deputy will collect a considerable amount of dust before it gets to the vac. The dust deputy is usually installed on a 5 gallon bucket. You need a very good seal for the dust deputy. The optimal solution would be to get a Festool Dust extractor (which is not in my budget at this time) and it has additional features such as automatic on when the tool is powered. It also has variable speed, which I will add to my system via router speed control. The HEPA filter I got from HD for $20, the bags I had to order on line for $17 for two, and the Dust Deputy I got from Woodcraft for $40. This won’t be a commercial off the shelt dust extractor, but much better than a off the shelf shop vac.
I only use this system for sanding. For the saw, jointer and planer I use a regular dust collector. You can’t get enough air movement for a saw. It also depends on how good your equipment is designed for dust collection.
And yes, get the respirator.

-- Bill R

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2284 days

#2 posted 02-19-2013 09:11 AM

If you’re going to have that big a mess, you should build with padauk. At least it smells nice.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2966 days

#3 posted 02-19-2013 09:18 AM

Sounds like the dust is being thrown at you from the blade. An overhead blade guard with a dust collection port connected to the riving knife will capture most of it, but then you need a proper dust extractor to attach to the guard and dust port behind the blade. I just don’t think a shop vac on its own is sufficient. Buy a decent respirator while you’re thinking about it.

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2335 days

#4 posted 02-19-2013 12:22 PM

Get the respirator. Certain woods are worse than others. However the more fine of dust it produces the more potential health problems it can cause. I do a lot of work with aromatic red cedar. Its dust causes asthma in humans and asthmatic reactions in those who already have asthma. We laugh about sawdust in the nose, it is a hazard. A good dust mask is essential.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View helluvawreck's profile


31071 posts in 2864 days

#5 posted 02-19-2013 12:36 PM

I wish that I had taken more precautions in the early years of my career. It’s very important to protect your lungs and nose. You should read up on the worst offenders when it comes to wood. When it comes to the most problematic wood perhaps you should stay away from them until you have better dust collection.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2348 days

#6 posted 02-19-2013 04:22 PM

It sounds like you need an ambient air filter.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3306 days

#7 posted 02-19-2013 04:35 PM

It seems like no matter how much dust collection you have dust will get everywhere. Dust lands everywhere with most all woods but it is just more noticable with home highly colored woods such as Padauk.
I have a central dust collector hooked to all stationary power tools, 2 Jet air cleaners and 3 home made filters that use squirrel cage motors and dust still covers the shop. My most important dust filter is the Trend air shield that I wear to keep dust out of my lungs.

View josephf's profile


197 posts in 2094 days

#8 posted 02-20-2013 04:56 PM

i second the dust deputy .i have two and one home made cyclone for my vacs . they are major time and hassle savers – you are not constantly plugging vac up .your find you will get more done if your not constantly cleaning up .and some tools work better with out chips and dust .like a router table ,chips are not in the way .Sanding also.goes faster and paper last longer .
respirator is a great idea but cumbersom .” dust be gone” is a turners mask ,so easy to wear ,though not a respirator it is much better then a goofy painters mask . these are not bulky,do restrict breathing ,last a long long time and you can talk through them .

View Woodbum's profile


812 posts in 3063 days

#9 posted 02-21-2013 02:35 PM

Redheart, Bloodwood, spanish cedar and especially MDF all fine dust coat everything badly. It clogs the filters of air cleaners and dust collection at the source seldom grabs it all. Use your respirator and try to catch as much as possible and filter the returned air to your shop. I guess I have resigned myself to this, and learned to live with the mess, cleaning more often. All fine grained wood and manmades do this but the colored or light woods just look more obvious. Ebony, blackwood, panga panga/wengee are very noticable too.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Roadmaster's profile


10 posts in 1927 days

#10 posted 02-21-2013 04:30 PM

Thanks so much for all the helpful replies!

I had never heard of a Dust Deputy before, but after reading reviews and watching videos, I was convinced. I bought one last night, and tonight I’m going to build a little frame to join it to my Craftsman wet/dry vacuum. I also bought a HEPA filter for the vacuum – and realized I had a pretty substandard filter when I put the new one on.

The claims of asthma were pretty scary, so I ordered a 3M 7500 respirator with P100 filters. Breathing is no joke.

I’ll update here once I get it all in place.

Thanks again!

-- ./kevin

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3228 days

#11 posted 02-21-2013 06:56 PM

You will love the Dust Deputy. I have one on a shop vac. The shop vac basically stays clean and empty.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Roadmaster's profile


10 posts in 1927 days

#12 posted 03-11-2013 09:43 PM

As predicted, the Dust Deputy is fantastic. Now then, what does one do with five gallons of mixed-species sawdust? There must be something productive to do with it.

-- ./kevin

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2070 days

#13 posted 03-11-2013 10:50 PM

Be careful with the dust. We have many folks who want our dust for composting, animal bedding and others. But the same reason it is bad for your lungs can make it bad for many other applications. If you have free time, research paper making.

-- Who is John Galt?

View Tim's profile


3805 posts in 1959 days

#14 posted 03-11-2013 11:20 PM

That worked great. If it’s pure sawdust with no finishes or other contaminants, it’s great for compost. Mix it yourself about 50/50 with nitrogen rich material like fruit and vegetable scraps or grass clippings. Or find a local gardener that wants it. Needs to be moist for compost so that’s one use that solves most of the lung issue since it won’t fly into the air when wet.

View oldnovice's profile


6849 posts in 3365 days

#15 posted 03-11-2013 11:26 PM

RussellAP is right about padauk!
It looks like rust everywhere!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics