Dust collection for a hand tool shop

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Forum topic by brianl posted 01-21-2011 05:36 PM 4885 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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108 posts in 3589 days

01-21-2011 05:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dust collection dust question hand tools

A while back I moved into a two-family home and as a result had to put most of my power tools into storage. I’ve been learning a lot about hand tools in the process, but stumped on dust collection. I’m certainly not generating the same amount of dust as before, but it is still there. To make matters even more complicated, I also work in a shared basement, so I can’t have sawdust going everywhere. A standard (read, big & noisy) dust collection system is right out.

Does anyone have a suggestion on how to handle dust collection for hand-sawing or planing?

-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts

7 replies so far

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4613 days

#1 posted 01-21-2011 05:38 PM

I’d go with a ceiling mount air cleaner.

Since you’re using hand tools, there shouldn’t be that much dust thrown into the air. You should consider moving your techniques away from any dust generating tools like sandpaper, and move to more of your smoothing plane/scraper techniques.

One of the greatest things about handtools is that you’re generating chips, not dust. (for the most part!)

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3989 days

#2 posted 01-21-2011 06:11 PM

Jon’s got a good point, an air cleaner would be good, but you can also use a shop vac. To noisy still? I read in a Fine Woodworking issue a few years ago where the author of the article made an insulated enclosure for it to cut the noise down.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View mnguy's profile


288 posts in 3906 days

#3 posted 01-21-2011 06:25 PM

How about a work bench with a downdraft section? Or, move the ceiling mount air cleaner to end of the bench – this would minimize the stray dust that might migrate to your neighbors area of the basement. These units are all quieter than a shop vac. As for a vacuum, a Fein, Festool or Alto are still a bit loud, but don’t shriek like less expensive shop vacs. My Alto has variable speed, so it can be run very quietly, albeit with lower suction.

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 3345 days

#4 posted 01-22-2011 06:25 AM

I’m fortunate to have a fully equipped dedicated workshop for my woodworking. But when I use hand held power sanding tools, I collect most of the generated dust with a filter taped to the in feed side of a regular 14 inch box window fan. After a couple of hours of sanding, I take the filter outside and knock or pat a whole bunch of dust out of it.

Jon is right about hand tools. Planes are nice fun tools to use, but most often leave lines in the wood. That’s where scrapers come into play. Scrapers are what the masters used before sandpaper was invented. I love using them and they are very inexpensive. The only problem is learning how to sharpen them. You have to create a perfectly smooth 90 degree square angle on the card like piece of steel. Then you have to crush 2 opposite ends of the scraper and curl the edge leaving a burr. I learned how… so anybody can!With all my power tools, I use scrapers all the time. They save me a ton of sanding.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3317 days

#5 posted 01-22-2011 06:39 AM

I think Jon3 nailed it.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4156 days

#6 posted 01-22-2011 07:14 AM

For hand sawing a brush and dustpan works pretty good.

Planing produces shavings, which are messy, but heavier than
air. Most of the fine air-borne dust is produced by high-speed
cutting with power tools or the fine abrasive cutting of sandpaper.

I think you’ll find with hand-tool work the dust tends to fall
downward. You can encourage the dust to settle by spritzing
the air with water.

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3196 days

#7 posted 01-30-2011 09:47 PM

Use a home vac for 3 minutes to clean everything up, after you are done. Don’t think that will be noisy.

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

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