Benchtop Sander Table - Downdraft Table

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Project by Daris posted 09-06-2012 02:23 PM 12575 views 60 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Benchtop Sander Table - Downdraft Table
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Benchtop Sander Table Completed
I hate sawdust! It is by far my biggest nemesis when I’m woodworking.  I hate it!  I’ve installed some VERY basic sawdust removal tubes in some of my power tools.  It’s great for the big dust, but the kind I HATE the most is the really fine powdery sawdust.  It coats everything.  This sawdust is the sawdust that gets kicked up when you’re doing some heavy-duty sanding.  Alas, I have finally decided to make a sanding table to help reduce this.  The basic design is just a box.  It measures:  5” in height x 23-1/2” long x 17-1/2” wide. As always checkout my site over at to see more pics and videos of this project.


For the lumber I used 3/4” Plywood.  I had enough scrap pieces to put the whole thing together.  If you were buying new it would require nothing more than a 2’ x 4’ piece of plywood.  For the top I used a 1/4” tempered pegboard that I picked up at Lowe’s.  The top will be cut down to 17-1/2×23” and placed into the top of the box that will have a 1/4” rabbit cut into it.  Although I lucky enough to use scrap for most of my lumber, I still could have easily built this entire project for under $30.

Milling & Assembly

Benchtop Sander Table Rough Cut Pegboard

I started by cutting the top of the sanding table.  I used 3/16” thick pegboard.  In hindsight I think I would have preferred 1/4” thick pegboard.  The table has just a little bit of give to it.  I think that extra 1/16” would have shored it up.  I cut the pegboard 17-1/2” x 23” using my tablesaw.

Benchtop Sander Table Rough Cut Sides

Next up was the sides of the box.  I was lucky enough to have scrap plywood to finish this project.  I cut all of the sides to a width of 5” first so it would be consistent.  Then I cut the sides to a finished length of 5” x 23-1/2” and the front and back to a finished length of 5” x 17-1/2”

Benchtop Sander Table Rabbit Sides

For the joints of the boards I cut a rabbit joint on the two side boards.  I cut a 1/2” wide x 3/16” (the width of the pegboard) deep rabbit.  After I finished the top of the boards, I then went back and cut another rabbit joint that was 3/4” wide and x 1/2” deep.  This will allow the front and back boards to fit into the sides to make a solid joint.  I used my router table to cut the deep end of the rabbit and finished the width on my table saw.

Benchtop Sander Table Drill Press

After I had all of my sides cut, I then cut a hole for the dust collector port to be attached too.  The width of the port I’m using is 2”.  I could have simply used a jigsaw to cut this opening.  I had a 1-1/2” Forstner bit and I figured that was big enough.

Benchtop Sander Table Glue up

To hold the box together I used wood glue along all of the joints.

Benchtop Sander Table Assembly

To help make the joints even stronger I used (3) 1-1/4” screws on all the sides of the box.

Benchtop Sander Table Baffle

After the box was together, I then cut a baffle.  The baffle is really important to the air flow of the table.  First it reduces the amount of space that has to be suctioned in half thus creating a higher suction.  Secondly it helps to distribute the air flow across the top of the table evenly.

Benchtop Sander Table Assembly Glue Seal

To make the baffle I custom cut the length and width to box.  I went from the top of back to the bottom of the front to get my length.  You’ll want to make this a little snug as you need to get this as air tight as possible from the bottom and sides.To help make this more air tight I ran a thick bead of glue along the sides of the baffle.  If I had some caulking it would have been better, but this seems to work pretty well too.

Benchtop Sander Table Assembly Top

I attached the top of the table by pre-drilling all of my holes into the top.  I then slightly countersunk a 1” screw in all four sides of the table.

Benchtop Sander Table Rubber Bumpers

To help reduce the table from sliding around I installed a 3/4'' Universal Rubber Bumpers on all four sides of the table.

Benchtop Sander Table Port
I installed the Universal Dust Port over the hole that I cut previously.

Bench Top Sander Table Completed


Not a lot to finishing this one.  I did attach rubber bumpers to the bottom of the box.  That’s really a must as any sander is going to vibrate this box like crazy.

Benchtop Sander Table Cleat

Also I made a bench dog cleat hybrid that I could insert into the table.  I can use this to help keep objects steady as their being sanded.

-- Daris, Indianapolis,

20 comments so far

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2497 days

#1 posted 09-06-2012 02:31 PM

Well done. This really is an elegant solution to a messy problem. I have never used tempered pegboard, am I right in assuming is it simply stronger pegboard?

The bench dog cleat is a great ides, but yours puzzles me – do your pegs span two holes? Does the narrow dowel hold stable? More likely, I completely miss the point. :-)

This is going on my “to do” list.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Daris's profile


120 posts in 2546 days

#2 posted 09-06-2012 02:40 PM

The cleat I made does have a 1 hole gap in it. I used standard sized dowels for this, and it’s really solid.

-- Daris, Indianapolis,

View Daris's profile


120 posts in 2546 days

#3 posted 09-06-2012 02:42 PM

Oops sorry Kookaburra, the tempered pegboard does appear to be a little stronger. I think in hindsight I would have used 1/4” instead of 3/16”. There is just a little bit of give if you push in the middle of the table. No big deal, but I think the 1/4” would have made it a little stronger.

-- Daris, Indianapolis,

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2497 days

#4 posted 09-06-2012 02:44 PM

Thanks Daris – I will take your advice on the slightly thicker board.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 2549 days

#5 posted 09-06-2012 03:27 PM

Hey Daris!

You did a great job on this downdraft table. I think I might make one myself, Good job!
Keep up the great work!

View Jason™'s profile


87 posts in 2399 days

#6 posted 09-06-2012 03:46 PM


Very nice execution on the project post!!!! A+ for the day. You covered everything that even a beginner like myself could probably make this with all the detailed instructions you offered. I will definitely give this a try considering I do have a small piece of the pegboard left over that I was unable to consider a use for.

Now just if others would do this as well on some of there posts we would be all set.

All in all well done and hope to see something else here in the next week or so.

Excellent Project Post

View jfouse's profile


21 posts in 2377 days

#7 posted 09-06-2012 03:46 PM

Simple, and brilliant. Well done.

-- Anyone who wants an excuse can find one. Don't bother telling me yours; I have enough of my own to fight off.

View Daris's profile


120 posts in 2546 days

#8 posted 09-06-2012 03:55 PM

Thanks Jason, yeah I think my favorite posts are ones that include as much build info as possible. Maybe I’m a little geeky, but I really enjoy the journey of something being made. I posted a video of this too over on my Youtube channel if you want to see more:

-- Daris, Indianapolis,

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2521 days

#9 posted 09-06-2012 04:45 PM

I think I’ll have to make one of these! Thanks for the detail


View Scott's profile


121 posts in 2496 days

#10 posted 09-06-2012 05:51 PM

Perfect timing on this post! Just last night I was hand sanding some projects and making a total mess of the shop (again).

I’ll be picking up a sheet of plywood on the way home tonight before I do any more sanding.

View BigDaddio's profile


19 posts in 3707 days

#11 posted 09-06-2012 06:23 PM

I was just plotting on making something like this myself and wondering how well pegboard would work. I had recently purchased some of those Diablo universal hole sanding disks and well they do not allow the sander to pull away as much dust as the regular 5 hole disks.

Thanks for the walkthrough and the video as well, I’d like to see more of these on the site.

View Dustmite97's profile


439 posts in 3493 days

#12 posted 09-06-2012 06:54 PM

Downdraft tables are a great addition to a dust collection syestem. You did a very nice job with this one.

View W. Paul's profile

W. Paul

45 posts in 4362 days

#13 posted 09-06-2012 08:25 PM

I’ve seen pegboard used by several different plans. But I’ve always wondered if one wouldn’t be better off going with some larger holes (and perhaps a mesh inside the box covering the hose hole to prevent smalled dropped project parts from getting sucked into oblivion)? It seems that would create a stronger downdraft.

Great job, by the way. I’m really just wondering. Not trying to find fault in your good work.

-- Paul, Wildwood, MO; (Ps 145: 1-2)

View Daris's profile


120 posts in 2546 days

#14 posted 09-06-2012 08:49 PM

Thanks for all the feedback guys. So far I’ve only done some basic testing on this and it seem to work nicely. I think my next project will be the real test.

W. Paul, I’ve seen where some folks have entire work tables made out of what looks like mdf with huge holes cut everywhere and I think they must just capture dust below or something? Maybe my next workbench I’ll get creative with something like that. I have such a little work space I needed something that I could actually put up somewhere.

-- Daris, Indianapolis,

View 72hw's profile


88 posts in 2384 days

#15 posted 09-07-2012 02:49 AM

Very cool! I need to make something like this and your project is giving me ideas… Thanks!

-- “Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of 'the rat race' is not yet final.” ― Hunter S. Thompson

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