Dust-Proof a Table Saw

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Forum topic by Maximillian posted 04-05-2015 09:06 PM 1473 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Maximillian's profile


82 posts in 2701 days

04-05-2015 09:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw dust extraction

Hi Jocks
I am looking for advice on how to reduce, if not eliminate, the dust nuisance that is my 10” cabinet saw. It is a Chinese-made OEM that is sold under a number of brands here in New Zealand and other countries.
I have been using this for a number of years and putting up with it being a very dirty saw – dust piles up underneath and is flung into the air above the table, despite having overhead dust extraction. My workshop fills with dust from this beast and I am worried about my health as I have now developed a persistent cough.
The table features:
- open bottomed cabinet
- 4” dust port, which is connected by 4” flexible duct to the side of a shroud covering the blade. The duct opens right next to the bottom of the blade
- riving knife that goes down through the insert plate and is connected to the blade assembly. It has an overhead guard attached
- The overhead guard has a 1” dust port ( To which I attach a separate shop vac)
- standard insert plate This has quite a wide slot
I have embarked on a pogrom to try and eliminate this machine’s dust nuisance as far as possible.
I used an article in Fine Woodworking Magazine as my basic guide ( and did the following:
1) Closed off the cabinet to increase suction though the insert plate. I did this by: a) Installing a false floor in the cabinet under the motor b) Using foam to close-off the gaps between the top of the cabinet and the underside of the table c) Covering the tilt adjustment slot in the front panel with duct tape d) Using foam draft-excluder tape and duct tape to seal the removable side panels
2) Installed a zero-clearance insert. I now don’t use the riving knife(splitter) or the overhead guard/dust extraction. (if I continue with this mode I will install the Micro Jig splitter for safety)
3) Drilled holes in the side panel next to the motor to allow some cooling air to pass across the motor
The result has been a noticeable increase in suction at the insert plate (I use a 2hp dust collector connected to a Dust Deputy cyclone, which provides lots of suction).
However, I am still getting fine dust thrown off the top of the blade. This is obviously withstanding the trip down into the cabinet, past the 4” dust collection duct, past the suction coming down the back of the blade, and then being ejected from the blade at the apex.
Also fine dust and tiny chips are thrown forward as the piece of wood is finally cut through.
The good thing is that the inside of the cabinet now remains clean, but it is the airborne dust that is coming off the top of the blade that I am trying to conquer.
Does anyone have any idea of what I might try next? I already wear a powered respirator and have a workshop filter running.
I was wondering if the OEM blade provided with the saw (recently sharpened) might not be as good at releasing dust as some other brands.
I hope that you can help (cough cough)

-- Max, New Zealand

8 replies so far

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

483 posts in 1101 days

#1 posted 04-05-2015 09:24 PM

You can choke off the air flow to the dust collector if you make the space to tight. One easy thing you could try if you have not already is to put the regular insert back in after all the other changes you did and see how it works.

You might also be on to something with the blade. I use to have issues with dust being flung at me with a blade that pretty much went away after changing to a different one so some blades must do a better job of dropping dust below the saw than others.

View ohtimberwolf's profile


628 posts in 1772 days

#2 posted 04-05-2015 09:31 PM

Richard H
Tell us all which blades you have found that improve the dust collection as I and I’m sure others are interested in knowing. Thanks

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View Redoak49's profile


1819 posts in 1409 days

#3 posted 04-05-2015 09:50 PM

I think that it is better and safer to use the riving knife. And you should use the guard both for safety and for dust collection.

I think that you are doing the right things with sealing off the cabinet and pulling the dust out of it. I can not think that you would decrease the dust by taking off the guard. On my saw, it makes a very large difference with the guard on in picking up the dust coming off the blade. I would put it back on and connect it to your dust collection system. With a 2 hp unit, you should have plenty of suction to do both the cabinet and blade guard.

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 597 days

#4 posted 04-05-2015 11:49 PM

I have noticed on my table saw that a zero clearance insert causes more dust on the top of the saw. Doing the same cut, with the same blade and the insert that came with the saw decreased dust. I have yet to figure out why. If the zero clearance is starving the dust collector then would not a regular insert and the board on top covering it do the same thing?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Redoak49's profile


1819 posts in 1409 days

#5 posted 04-06-2015 12:47 AM

I wonder with a zero clearance insert if there is little air flow down and with regular insert more room to draw more air. Some of the sawdust is coming off the top of the blade and you need air flow to suck it down into the cabinet.

View macatlin1's profile


78 posts in 2363 days

#6 posted 04-06-2015 10:29 AM

A few years ago I had an old Craftsman saw with the clear plastic blade guard. With my HF dust collector hooked underneath I thought I would eliminate the dust. Well, think again! I found that a lot of the dust was thrown forward and either came at me from the front of the blade guard or was thrown out through the arced slot in the front of the saw base. For the saw base I taped over the arced slot ( re-taping as needed when the blade angle was changed) and for the blade guard I ran some blue painters tape to cover the front but NOT the bottom. The tape in the front seemed to stop the dust being flung off the blade and allow it to be sucked down through the gaping opening in the insert. Taping the bottom of the blade guard only caused the dust to build up inside the guard until the dust burst through the front giving me a shower of dust.

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 844 days

#7 posted 04-06-2015 03:27 PM

I recently improved the dust collection on my table saw and it made a huge difference but I am pretty sure that no design is going to get all the saw dust. Especially that which is generated on top of the table. Its not perfect but its a heap better than it was. I chose not to enclose the motor and keep it out of the dust for better cooling and to keep the motor clean.

-- Brad, Texas,

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3844 posts in 1914 days

#8 posted 04-06-2015 05:56 PM

I doubt the insert affects the dust issue regardless of which style you use (one exception). When you are cutting wood, the workpiece covers the insert anyway…the exception being if you’re just shaving an edge. In that case having the more open insert helps (quite a bit, actually). Closing in the cabinet can help,. if you are directing the air flow instead of choking the DC. I think the floor in the cabinet would be useful as well, but you’ve pretty much indicated this with the cleaner cabinet. What you need over the blade is a larger port, and maybe more airflow. The speed of the blade (and the dust trapped in the gullets) will be hard to overcome but can be managed with enough air flow; but I’m talking about a DC with maybe a 3”-4” pick up over the blade. The vac just isn’t moving enough air to catch the chips as they become free of the blade. At least that’s my opinion.

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

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