Dust Separator Workout, and other stuff

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Blog entry by Jeremy Greiner posted 05-14-2012 02:30 AM 4837 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

Coming up with a title for my blog entries can be difficult because I can’t really list all the things I’m working on just because of the way I am at any given moment I’m working on like 8 different things. That’s what I love about woodworking really, I can go out into my garage shop and say “what do I feel like doing today” no “ugh I have to do this today” if I don’t feel like doing something I don’t do it and procrastinate fantastically until I do feel like doing whatever it is that needs to be done on a particular project.

This weekend I finished a dust separator
Click for details

And today I decided to give it, and my new jointer/planer a good work out while I mill up some 2×10’s for my free standing lumber rack The past few times I’ve gotten 2x stock I’ve gotten 2×10 by 16’ and I get it cut to 5’4’’ (in 3rds) I find that the warping of the board across the 16’ is a lot less substantial when cut down to 5’4’’ boards and that’s the biggest I can fit in my mini without having it dragging out the back end. I get the boards at lowes, it’s southern yellow pine so it’s much tougher (and heavier) than there traditional studs. And lowes is nice enough to help me dig through the pile of 16’’ boards to find the 3 or 4 that don’t have any knots, or small knots on only 1 face. (So far the past 3 times I’ve gotten a different guy to help me and they’ve always been helpful).

I like to let the boards sit stickered for a week or two before using them the way they’re packed and shipped to lowes, it holds onto a lot of surface moisture and you can just feel it on the surface of the wood. This particular group has been sitting for 2 weeks. I have 12 of these boards that I want to mill down to 1 1/4’’ thick that gives me a good consistency and plenty of margin to get out any warp or twist still in the board.

Before I got started I added a back flap to my gripper to help me push the wood through the jointer, I don’t know I have a hard time pushing the wood through. Maybe its the height of the jointer beds compared to me, that and I am still getting used to the European style jointer protection plate, I don’t know but It’s not the easyest thing to do. The jointer tables are ribbed cast iron, I tried waxing them but I had trouble buffing the wax because the ribbed cast iron just tore up my paper towels. Any suggestions in this area would be great!

After jointing 1 face on all the boards and starting on the planing I noticed that I could hear the sawdust traveling into my dust collector bag. I turned everything off and checked the bag and it was 1/3rd of the way full and I was like “well this sucks” this thing isn’t working very well and I went to inspect the separator.

Well I was wrong it was working great until the darn thing overflowed on me. It seriously started overflowing and just started filling up the dust collector bag. This is the most amount of wood I’ve milled at 1 time I hadn’t expected it to fill up so fast. I went to empty the trash can into a bag and was able to get a nice tight fit of the bag around the lip of the trash bag.

The only problem was the seal was TOO good, no air could make it into the trash can to let the dust fall into the bag. What I really need is a air release at the bottom of the trash can like many gas cans have at the opposite end of the spout so air goes in and fills up the can as I poor the sawdust into the trashbag. If anyone knows where I can get something like this I can attach to the bottom of my trashcan let me know.

Since the seal was too good, I had to poor the sawdust into the trash bag with it open, which sucked and made a huge mess. Instead, I decided I would just dump the sawdust into my large trashcan. Trash day is tomorrow morning anyways and that’s why I planned on milling the lumber today anyways so the trash guy can pick up the sawdust from the separator can. So I emptied the separator trash can into my normal trash can, once, twice, 3 times until well.

I am completely out of room for sawdust, I filled my separator can again and decided I’d have to call it since I’ve run out of places to put the sawdust. I have to make another 1 or 2 more passes on planning the lumber, but that will have to wait until tomorrow or later this week who knows. I hope the trash guy isn’t too pissed at me about the sawdust.

I have to say though, having given it the workout today it was totally worth building. For jointing/planning this thing captures all the shavings/dust produced. It wasn’t until I let the seperator got full (once the sawdust meets the baffle I noticed that the sawdust was traveling into my dust collector bag). I don’t even want to think what emptying the dust collector bag would have been like emptying it this many times in a single day. I was underwhelmed the first time, but now I see what all the fuss is about and if you don’t have one of these things and you do have a jointer/planner this is a must have.

Other stuff I did this weekend :)

My harbor freight spindle sander works pretty well, the dust collection when hooked to a shop vac is GREAT, my only beef with it is the little rings that come with it aren’t thick enough so when I was sanding the curves on the band saw bowls I’m making the corner would get caught on the lip between the plastic ring and the cast iron table and would make for a non-smooth sand.

Originally what I was going to do, was put blue masking tape on the bottom of all my rings to make them flush with the cast iron top, I did this by placing the tape across the ring and then cutting off the excess with a box cutting.

I did the first one which was the largest ring, and I noticed that it’s the same size as the lip that holes the plastic rings in place, so I peeled the blue tape off the plastic ring, and placed it on the cast iron lip and now all the plastic inserts are flush with the cast iron top.

When making cuts with the miter gauge you’re not supposed to use the fence because it can lead to kickback and other dangerous evilness. One way around this is clamping a block to the front of the fence. Then you can use the fence as a stop block. What sucks is that this renders the cool “measure tape” on your fence worthless, unless you want to add 23/32’’ too your measurement.

Instead I decided I would make a small fence stop block that is 1’’ thick “exactly” (well, 1’’ thick according to the fence measuring tape which is wall I really wanted). With some scrap plywood, I glued 2 pieces together for the blade side, then fit the rest to the fence so it will fit snuggly over my table saw fence.

After the glued dried, I set my fence at 1’’ mark and raised the blade as high as it would go. I pushed the block through the blade (slowly, carefully and with my hand on the fence and no where NEAR the blade side of the fence). I then moved the fence away little by little to chew out the rest of the material and what I was left with was a stop block for my table saw fence that is 1’’ thick.

This makes using the fence for cross cuts really easy to calculate since it’s just 1’’ off (and yes I know it’s not perfect this isn’t an incra fence)

I also have some left over scrap from my band saw bowls I’m making, some nice laminated cherry and maple and I was going to throw it out but it just kinda hit me that they would make cool wooden shot glasses. I cut the scraps into 1 1/4’’ square blanks

I’ll use a forstner bit to cut out the center, and either round over or chamfer the corners I’m not sure yet, for now they’ll sit like that until I know what I want to do but I love when I figure out something cool to do with some scrap wood I was going to throw away.

That pretty much sums up my weekend.
Any weekend with sawdust is a good weekend to me :)


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

1 comment so far

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906 posts in 4590 days

#1 posted 05-17-2012 03:25 AM

Wow – that’s a lot of shavings – and pretty ones too! Do you have a garden? I use my non pressure treated saw dust in our compost bin which goes into the garden later on.

Can’t wait to see this stuf in action. One day, I’m coming for a visit.

-- Harold

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