Dust Collection

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 11-04-2007 06:17 AM 20908 reads 12 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Dust collection is a very important issue in the shop. It is critical to health and general safety. Dust collection adds to the efficiency of the shop because the dust goes straight into the collection container and does not have to be swept up after being worked in and around. It is achieved in as many various ways as woodworkers can think up. Here is how I have chosen to do it in one shop. These views are from my brother’s shop in Ohio where I am currently working.

Point of Use

This is where the dust collection is close to the tool and the dust is collection is pretty much dedicated to it. It is sort of like point of use water heaters for a sink.

Here you see the dust collection to the table saw. It is activated with a remote control switch that I keep on the fence. The short run of flex hose does not diminish the small collector’s power and it does an ample job for the table saw. The small collector tucks nicely into the small space against the wall. It is easy to pull out and empty.

Table Saw

The jointer does not require much for dust collection and a small horizontal bag dust collector will lay just under the outfeed table and stays out of the way. This is easy to empty and is run by a tool activated switch. I can mill a lot of wood and only need to empty this two or three times in a day.


The chop saw can be used with the factory bag or adapted to the shop vac hose for dust collection. The factory supplied bags suck – well actually they don’t and that is the problem with them. I highly recommend a premium hose for connecting to a chop saw due to the greater flexibility that they offer. I have used hose collection on various brands of chop saws over the years and vac collection works quite well on most of the major brands. I use the tool activated switch with these too. Some chop saws will hook straight to a hose and some need a connector or adapter to facilitate this.

Hitachi Chop Saw

Small Tool Dust Collection

Here is one of the best secrets. The Festool hose fits so many more brands than just Festool, and you can buy just the hose. Here are some examples:

Porter Cable Biscuit Jointer

Dewalt Biscuit Jointer

6" Random Orbit Sander

Makita Router Base

I have a Ridgid shop vac and Home Depot sells a premium orange hose that comes with various fittings for many different brands of shop vacs. I took one of the adapters and put it onto the Festool hose so that it readily attaches to the shop vac. If I need an extra long hose, I start with the big hose plugged into the vac and the other end of the hose plugs into the Festool hose. I use the tool activated switch from Sears. I have had good luck with these and in the last 6 years have had only 2 burn out. They get used quite heavily in my shop and on jobsites because I work on houses with people living in them.

Shop Vac with Switch

Shop vac with various hose connections.

There all kinds of options for connections but I have settled on the one that I think has the least hassle and most flexiblity, that is the use of the Festool hose. It fits so many different brands of tools.

Your probably wondering why I just don’t buy the Festool vac. I really like the Festool vac and it’s integrated system overall. I could buy all of their tools. I have to live with a budget like everyone else and I already have 3 shop vacs in small, medium, and large.

Price Points

Here are the price points as best as I can remember:
Home Depot orange replacement hose with lots of various adapters: $35
Festool Hose: $68 (a bit of an ouch but worth every penny)
Craftsman electronic tool switch: $20
Delta horizontal bag dust collector $99
Jet 1micron/1hp dust collector $180 (on clearance)
Remote control for dust collector $50

Sharin’ the Love

I hope that the info here may help others to decide how they may want to do dust collection. There is always more than one way to do something but this is my method and I am quite pleased with the results. I am always happy to share the info and see your feedback. I am always enlightened by it.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

38 comments so far

View David's profile


1969 posts in 5017 days

#1 posted 11-04-2007 06:22 AM

WOW! Todd great information. Thanks!


View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4977 days

#2 posted 11-04-2007 06:25 AM

I am so excited to have figured this all out!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4875 days

#3 posted 11-04-2007 06:55 AM

Great tips here – especially the Festool hose only idea! I’ll need to do something about dust collection one of these days…the shop vac can only do the trick for so long…

I’m really in the dark ages when it comes to dust collection, but then, I work in such a small space and I haven’t wanted to give up floor space to dust collection…maybe I should mount a collector under a lean-to outside the shop…hmmm…

Wasn’t thinking about dust collection – and now for some odd reason I am…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Roger Strautman's profile

Roger Strautman

657 posts in 5011 days

#4 posted 11-04-2007 12:30 PM

Thanks Todd! I know I need to collect dust but have never thought serious about it but I’m going to look in to it now.

-- " All Things At First Appear Difficult"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5038 days

#5 posted 11-04-2007 01:25 PM

I especially like the idea for the chop saw idea.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4899 days

#6 posted 11-04-2007 02:24 PM

A very practicle essay on Dust collection .

I am full up to here with those babbling discusions about Specific Gravity and which 2 hp turbine sucks the most.
Ultimately it is insignificant to the average one man shop.

Good job Tod

Cheers Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Karson's profile


35226 posts in 5278 days

#7 posted 11-04-2007 03:06 PM

Todd Thanks. I also recommend the Hepa filter that they sale at Home Depot and Lowes. They cost about $30.00 in USA but I’ve actually filled up my shop vac with dust and chips and it still kept sucking until the hose got full. But you just tap the filter and it frees up the dust and reinstall it into the vac.

I believe that they are also washable. But I’ve put the vac on a drywall sander and had no dust come out the exhaust of the vac. Which is usually a problem with other filters. They don’t take out the really fine dust.

I good tutorial on hooking up tools. I like the idea of the Craftsman control switch.

-- 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 Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4977 days

#8 posted 11-04-2007 03:27 PM

Hey guys-I forgot to list price points so I just added them in the blog.

Karson – I have had great performance from the HEPA filter too working on drywall in a museum. They were impressed and loved me for working so clean. I use compressed air to clean my filters from the inside out and they usually last about 8 months to a year. Yeah, I know it’s hard on them but it works great. You have to realize as a business it is a consumable item for a tool that gets used all the time in the shop and in the field.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4977 days

#9 posted 11-04-2007 03:30 PM

I have to agree with Bob#2 – sometimes things can get technically nitpicked.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View SPalm's profile


5336 posts in 4760 days

#10 posted 11-04-2007 03:34 PM

Thanks for the info. I like your no nonsense attitude about adaptability. I like it that you are using several different ways to attach machines. I just don’t have the time/money to install a whole shop dust control system. A couple of small ones seem to be easier for me to handle right now.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4977 days

#11 posted 11-04-2007 03:43 PM

SPalm- you’re right. I dream of having whole shop dust collection someday but sometimes you don’t actually need it.

I better throw in the cost of the dust collectors to the blog.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dadoo's profile


1790 posts in 4868 days

#12 posted 11-04-2007 04:06 PM

What we need now is a shop vac that dumps itself.

I recently acquired a blower from an old forced-air furnace that I’m going to incorporate into an air cleaner for the shop. It’s a pretty straightforward design of a box with filters on each end and the blower in-between. What I’d really like to build is a clycone type dust collection system that would get the stuff off the floor as well. Has anyone out there seen plans for such a unit?

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4899 days

#13 posted 11-04-2007 04:21 PM

There is one in Shopnotes issue 13 volume 3 and I believe Wood magazine had one a few years back.
I made this one for a 1 hp turbine and it works fine. I would build it a bit larger and go to 2 hp next time.
1 hp is just barely enough.
the cyclone thingie works fine / I spent around $100.00 for plywood felt some latches and galvanaized tin and some silicone.
It took a morning to build.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4977 days

#14 posted 11-04-2007 04:22 PM

Dadoo – I salvaged a really nice blower to do the same sort of thing. I did break my rule of “don’t drag crap home from the job” but it was such a nice unit. I plan on building it up in the attic, with a flat filter holder against the ceiling. I will duct over to the sides of the room to circulate the “scrubbed” air. This will create a circulating effect cleaning the air, circulating the heat in the room, and it will not be hanging into my shop space.

Right now I use a Jet air scrubber in both shops. Air moves through these but it does not really create as much of a circulating effect in the room.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dadoo's profile


1790 posts in 4868 days

#15 posted 11-04-2007 04:38 PM

I was discussing that “ceiling mounted” air cleaner just last night with my sister-in-law. She does a lot of Artsy-crafts stuff in her little barn and would really benefit from a dust collector. Her problem is that she’s got a low (appx 6’5”) ceiling. So the Jet type would prove to be a head banger. So anyhow, I was thinking of cutting out an area of the ceiling and installing the blower in the attic. Still need to exaust it though…New problem. Would be easier to just build it outdoors with the filters covering a hole in the wall. Kinda like one of those built-in airconditioners.

I try and maintain your same rule of not dragging crap home which is why I don’t frequent the junk yards. Lord knows that I have too many logs on the proverbial fire as it is. Those blowers are great for moving air though on those hot summer days and real easy to rewire.

Bob#2: I’ll check on those plans. I remember seeing the ceiling/wall mounted box type awhile ago. That’s probably the design I’ll build.

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

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