Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About #11: Who says dust will hurt you? *cough* It'll be fine *cough-cough*...

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 03-16-2012 01:09 PM 11824 reads 1 time favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: These planes are moldy! Part 11 of Crazy Stuff Stumpy Thinks About series Part 12: What in the world IS THAT SMELL?????????????? »

When I was a kid my father was desperate for work, so we loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly… Kentucky that is. There is, of course, no Beverly, Kentucky. I just got caught up in the Beverly Hillbillies theme because that’s exactly what we looked like. A big 1970’s pickup truck loaded to the brim, and two trailers behind it made us look right at home when we rolled into town. We rented a little shack with no indoor plumbing and my father went off to the coal mines. On his first day he asked one of the soot faced miners if there was anything to that “black lung” thing. Between hacking coughs he was assured that it was all nonsense.

That true story parallels the situation a lot of woodworkers find themselves in. It’s called denial, and it’s not just a river somewhere in Asia. We tell ourselves that the dust won’t hurt us. Or we think that we can breath it for a little while more, but we should fix that problem some day…

When I started woodworking I used a big shop vac and a series of pipes and blast gates to create what I thought was a top notch dust collection system. I really hit the big time when I added two more vacuums to the setup! But trying to collect chips from wood hungry machines like a planer and jointer with 2 1/2” ducts is like trying to drink a delicious milkshake through one of those little coffee stir straws; you can suck until your eyeballs pop out and you won’t get half of it.

So I splurged on a dust collector and a truck load of 4” PVC pipe. That’s when I discovered that the creators of duct collection accessories are part of an evil cartel bent on milking every last dime out of me. I refused to buy their over-priced plastic and set to making my own blast gates. Refusing to be deterred when I found out that the short lengths of flex hose I needed for the connection on each machine is intentionally designed to be too small to go inside PVC pipe, and too big to go over it; I bought some duct tape and started wrapping. Of course, duct tape and dust don’t mix, and I had leaks within a month. So I upgraded to high adhesive aluminum tape. That works a bit better, as long as the joint doesn’t move too much during use, which is what flex hose is supposed to allow. So it wasn’t long before my shop was a symphony of whistles and hisses from leaky joints.

Do you know why they make those nice slip fittings and hose clamps for dust collection? Because they know that you are going to move your stuff around a thousand times, and you’ll need to make changes to the ductwork. Can’t do that with taped joints, and I have a pile of empty tape rolls to prove it. I move stuff around constantly, never satisfied with the current layout, always certain that I can make it more efficient. I am disassembling my system so much I have a standing order for aluminum tape at the local hardware store.

My dust collection system was carefully thought out. I went to great lengths to minimize bends and turns, reduce the amount of ribbed flex hose, and eliminating the need to unhook from one machine and hook up another. I mean, if I have to swap a hose to make a couple of cuts, and swap it back to do something else, I’m simply not going to use it as often as I should.

But the fact is, I have to spend so much time fixing leaks, cobbling together connections to machines with pipe and hose that don’t fit together, that my system is down more often that it’s working. Something has to give! I ether need to figure out a way to make PVC more compatible with 4” flex hose, or I need to break down and spend a wad of cash on true dust collection ducts. I bet if you added up the money I’ve spent trying to do it cheaper you’d find that it would have been cheaper to have hired the neighbor kids to come surround me in the shop and breath in all the dust before it gets to me while I work.

I WILL solve this problem, even if it kills me, because I am sure that this dust is about to kill me anyway! Look for an episode all about new ideas for dust collection this summer on Blue Collar Woodworking!

And check out the new plans for our innovative dovetail machine, box joint machine, biscuit joint machine and clamp rack in the Stumpy Store!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

41 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3755 days

#1 posted 03-16-2012 01:25 PM

I too live in fear of “Tan Lung Disease”!!! I still need to duct my shop, but it is on the short end of a very looooong list of shop projects. Almost all my machines are ABLE to be hooked up to my 2HP HF DC with a Wynn 35A274NANO canister filter (Thein Seperator in the near future). Air Cleaner near completion. The dust devil WILL NOT win, as it IS a matter of “Life & Breath”!!! DC & air filtration has been/is the #1 priority during my shop setup!!!

Great topic!!!

BTW: It is evident, by the shear fact you are blogging, that you were not effected by the twister. Great!!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4165 days

#2 posted 03-16-2012 01:31 PM

Stumpy, making those kids be movable filters is no way to treat future woodworkers, and it would be
easier to herd cats than to get them to stand still, besides two minutes after we wander off to the big
workshop in the sky someone will come out with inexpensive adapters for all those connections. In the
meantime, I will be patiently waiting for your solution to our dust problems.

-- As ever, Gus-the 82 yr young apprentice carpenter

View FreshSawDust's profile


68 posts in 3409 days

#3 posted 03-16-2012 01:36 PM

I used 4” s&d pvc for my dc setup. I took a torch and heated the ends of the pipe until they were flexible then used a large hose clamp to shrink them over a blast gate fitting or a turned plug and then quenched them in water. It is not the prettiest but it works just fine for me. Bill Pentz has a section on his site about forming pvc, that is where I got the idea.

-- TJ - Perryville, Missouri

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3881 days

#4 posted 03-16-2012 01:36 PM

DIY- I hope that twister didn’t blow my hand planes away! (The ones I have to go pick up tomorrow). I saw your comment on the Show thread and was going to tell everyone I survived, but I got sidetracked when I saw Dave talking about putting on a dress and going out to dinner…

Sometimes I wish I had mounted the DC in the attic right above the middle of the shop and bought one long smooth interior flex hose that I could just swap between machines easily. I might just do that yet!

I have done it all, when it comes to dust collection, except for doing it the right way. Save yourself some time, spend the extra money, and do it right.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3881 days

#5 posted 03-16-2012 01:38 PM

Fresh- That’s a good idea, I’ll look into that. Thanks!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View boxcarmarty's profile


17437 posts in 3440 days

#6 posted 03-16-2012 01:44 PM

Stumpy, Would a fernco coupling work on your setup???

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3881 days

#7 posted 03-16-2012 01:48 PM

Box- No, the biggest problem is where the short lengths of flex hose connect to the pipe. There is no good way to do it. They make fittings for that, but not for 4” PVC. If I bought a separate adapter to go from the PVC to the fitting, and then to the hose, it would cost way too much. I may as well replace the whole system before I do that.

I suppose these fittings work. But I would need about $100 worth. I’ll have to think on it…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View FreshSawDust's profile


68 posts in 3409 days

#8 posted 03-16-2012 02:09 PM

Like I said not pretty but it is cheap. I also got my hoses and fittings from Grizzly.

-- TJ - Perryville, Missouri

View Karson's profile


35273 posts in 5481 days

#9 posted 03-16-2012 02:18 PM

We had a woodworking club meeting last night. One of the members related to an email that he go from the Annapolis Wood Working Guild in Annapolis MD.

One of their members is in intensive care and has been for a while. He is/was an avid wood turner and had been turning some South American exotics. They think he is experiencing his problem from that.

So work safely and dust free.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4317 days

#10 posted 03-16-2012 02:36 PM

I gave up trying to use dust collection with my router based gunstock duplicating machine. The head rig holding the stylus and router weighs over 300 lbs, but it’s balanced so well that you can move it with a fingertip. If you run a 1/2” router bit down a 37” blank to make a dado, then mount a dial indicator on the head assembly and pass it from one end to the other there will be less than 0.005” off. So, I can’t add a dust collector to the head rig easily. I’ve tried several different attachment points, different ways I run the hose, etc. Since I was having so much trouble finding a way to collect the chips and dust at the router, I tried making a downdraft torsion box mounted under the stocks… Nope, I would have to buy a pump big enough to fly a small airplane. The chips come off the unguarded router bit at great speed and if I put anything between the blade and the router as a guard, it blocks too much of the view I need to get an accurate carving. So, if I can’t find a solution, go find an expert who has! I drove 200 miles to visit a very successful stockmaker who has been running this kind of equipment for 50 years. His solution was to build a garage type workshop and he opens the big garage door and has a 6’ tall fan behind him that blows everything away from the operator… So, I open a window and have an industrial fan running while I’m working and cleaning up. I use a snow shovel every 4 stocks to remove the big chips and wear a respirator that was made for spray painting the entire time I’m doing any kind of woodworking project.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View gavinzagreb's profile


210 posts in 3400 days

#11 posted 03-16-2012 02:48 PM

I desperately need to set up decent dust collection. Will have to wait till the end off summer when I actually have some money though. Untill the I make do with a shop vac and masks.

Oh, just an aside.
Denial is not just some river in Egypt, not Asia.

View bradadsit's profile


11 posts in 3695 days

#12 posted 03-16-2012 03:18 PM


I too use 4” PVC pipe for my dust collection. I have the thick black stuff because that’s what came with the my Jet 1100DC dust collector that I got for a steal from craigslist. I found that the “4 splice connection from Rockler works pretty well for transitioning from the pipe to the flex hose. I just use a bit of extreme tape to seal the joint.

They also have these adapters if you have the thin walled stuff.

As you can see, either of these solutions are going to run you about $7-8 per joint (not including the tape).

This isn’t an advertisement for Rockler products, it’s just what I have found to work with what I have and it does a pretty decent job. I will try to post an example photo of my setup.

-- bradadsit

View DamnYankee's profile


3320 posts in 3642 days

#13 posted 03-16-2012 03:21 PM

I’ve only recently really added DC to my machinies. The two machines directly connect so far are my RAS (has a big retangular intake where the chips fly) and my TS. For other tools, ie router, BS and DP, I have been more concerned about the dust than the chips (don’t breath chip but you do breath the dust), for this I’ve adopted the large rectangular intack do-ma-thingy to each of these tools (especially the DP and BS where getting all the chips is really impractical if not impossible). I find the dust is actually well sucked in (at least it looks like it to my eyeball) even if the chips contiue to fly.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3881 days

#14 posted 03-16-2012 03:39 PM

Gavin- I know the Nile is in Egypt. It was a bit of humor. I guess I am hard to get sometimes…

Yanks- So you built a little air filter box for each tool that hooks up to your dust collector? Can you share some photos?

Hal- If I was working on one spot all the time, like at a lathe etc, I’d not hesitate to buy one of those powered helmets that filter the air. But it seems like too much when I am moving around all the time. I know I would hate it. A regular face respirator would drive me nuts too. Besides, I finish in my shop, so getting rid of all the dust in the air would be a big plus!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View DocSavage45's profile


9048 posts in 3923 days

#15 posted 03-16-2012 04:12 PM

Great Thread Syumphy! Norm would always tell people “and be sure to wear these, Saftey Glasses.” saftey in the shopis taught around using power tools. Not really an exciting subject. Hope you get the Blue collar woodworker thinking that wood dust is just as important as the wood chips. Some time later his grandson was helping in the shop and he had a similar reaction. Oh then i might be right?

Lung disease caused by wood dust is a big deal. There are OSHA standards.

What about the dust that gets missed?

I was helping a friend sand his oak book cases before the finish application. He has a garage heater in his shop. The kind that sits in the rafters with exposed heater coils. He had his dust filter for the air on. A filter over a box fan. Garage door closd and heater on. I was having a burning sensation for my eyes.

Cleared up after leaving his shop. Told him I thought it was due to dust in the air burning off against the heater. He didn’y think that was the case because he has a micro bag on his big dust collector. and he did not have burning eyes.

After that and before I installed heat in my Minnesota work shop/small barn I started reading because as a kid I had a lot of allergies, which seem to have become low grade. Dust and pollen as well as animal dander, in particular cats, which I live with many now.

I was suprised at all the issues around wood dust! Decided against an open flame gas heater as you have in the background and the garage heater of my friend. Oh yeah insurance company won’t insure me if I have a woodburner. So I installed a central furnace with manual zones. ( I have four different rooms in my old barn rehab. The cost of filters that are for micro pollens is prohibitive.

I decided on a grizzly air filter because of their great service. And the furnace is off ihalf the year anyway. It has a timer for shutoff to allow for filtering to continue after I leave. Had some problems with it. They sent a replacement for the cheapo remote when a battery change didn’t work, and a new remote mechanism when that didn’t work. Turns out it needs a slow blow fuse vs the quick blow that comes with it. How’s that for service? Plus the Chinese name brand sold by Amazon equal to it had mechanical and shipping issues.

My standing delta dust collector’s motor is too small for my set up but like the previous blog I don’t have 200 extra dollars as it is in the gas tank!

Stumpster yo da man!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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