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How to Install a Dust Collection System for a Small Wood Shop

As a wood worker one of the greatest additions you can make to your shop is a solid dust collection system. Proper dust collection is important for safety and can help you with achieving better finishes if you will paint your wood projects before completion. Our guide will give you practical tips to consider when implementing a dust collection system in your small woodworking shop.

Step 1 – Obtain & Install Dust Collection for Stationary Machines

With your larger stationary equipment like bandsaws, routers, planers, and table saws there is significant dust production. To properly address the dust these machines will generate you will typically want to consider a large dust collector. If you only use the occasional hand tool you may be able to get buy with a shop vac for minor dust. For the larger equipment in your shop a solution like this portable dust collector can be easily connected to your large wood shop tools to properly get rid of dust. When connecting the collector to your equipment try to keep the hose from the equipment as short as possible. By keeping the hose from the collector to your equipment short, air flow will be maximized which will reduce any excess dust being created. If you have to you can consider creating blast gates to create less need to move your dust collector around, but this can reduce the effectiveness of your dust collector depending on the amount of duct you run.

To make change out a breeze with the big dust collector and stationary machines you may consider a quick change out an option that connects to the dust port on your large equipment and to your dust collector hose allowing for rapid change out of the dust collector from tool to tool. It can also make it easier to use a spring clamp rather than a screw clamp because while they may not hold as tight they make change outs a lot easier.

Step 2 – Address Dust Collection for your Smaller Wood Working Machines

For your smaller units like your sanders, chop saws, or routers you can consider one of two options. Many of these machines will offer a bag to collect dust today. This solution can work but is also one more thing to keep track of ensuring you empty the bag regularly and can still miss some dust. The alternative to the built in dust collection bag on your equipment is to hook up your small woodworking tools to a shop vac.

Shop vacs can move a pretty significant volume of air and will better keep dust down in comparison to the dust collection bags that come standard with common woodworking tools today. While a top of the line shop dust vac like this can be expensive it offers a variety of helpful options like automatic start plus fine dust control. If you go with a more standard shop vac for your small tool dust collection you should consider upgrading the filter to a HEPA Filter as this will capture finer particles and ensure no issues occur. An additional helpful tip to simplify the dust collection is to consider changing the size hose on your shop vac to a smaller diameter. A smaller diameter hose like a 1 ¼” hose is easier to maneuver and when combined with a proper adapter to match your existing shop vacs outlet will make the use of the shop vac for dust collection much easier.

Step 3 for Dust Collection in Your Wood Working Shop – Air Filtration

While the dust collectors to your large machine and a proper vacuum will handle dust generated from your equipment there is still the possibility that fine dust particles will be left in the overhead air. This can be dangerous for your health. To address this issue you can consider implementing an air purification dust collection system that will pull fine dust out of your wood shops air. In addition to a fine dust filtration unit you should also wear a proper respirator. For sanding and sand related applications you will need a N95 approved respirator at the minimum.


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