Sound and noise control in the shop—what can be done?

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Forum topic by Sark posted 07-08-2019 02:53 PM 674 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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156 posts in 808 days

07-08-2019 02:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sound sound insulation acoustic acoustic treatment noise noise control sound control sound absorbers

What measure have you taken to reduce the amount of noise/sound in the shop? I’m thinking about acoustic treatment, sound absorbing panels, vibration reduction, etc…

In my last shop we had the ClearVu cyclone dust-collection system that was amazingly loud, by far the biggest source of noise I’m the shop, and it ran pretty much all day. I eventually walled off the entire system in a framed out room with fiberglass insulation on the interior walls. It was about 6 to 8 feet square and about 10’ high (if memory serves me). Made an incredible difference. I figured that the the insulated structure would cause the blower to overheat and reduce motor life, but that the gain in quiet made it worthwhile.

11 replies so far

View Phil32's profile


598 posts in 351 days

#1 posted 07-08-2019 03:10 PM

Probably the most practical would be noise cancelling earphones.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View Delete's profile


439 posts in 820 days

#2 posted 07-08-2019 03:31 PM

For most hobby shops the problem is keeping the noise in the garage and out of the attached house or in the basement, fiberglass insulation works well for that. For larger shops with the space, isolating the noisiest, like the DC is a good idea but most hobby shops don’t have the room. For your average shop the best protection from damaging noise is a selection of ear plugs or ear muffs. They also help to keep you focused and avoid noise distractions which can be a safety issue.

View Sark's profile


156 posts in 808 days

#3 posted 07-08-2019 04:28 PM

I won’t say that this is unique, but as general contractor and cabinet-maker I was generally the only person who always wore hearing protection on every job. Unless the job was painfully loud, like jack-hammering, the offer of hearing protection was just ignored.

The nosiest tool in my shop is the DeWalt planer. When I use it, I wear ear plugs and then over that I ear muff protectors. That being said, the quieter the shop the better I like it. I am also an amateur musician and prize my hearing. Most of the tradesmen I know, by the time they reach my age (69) have hearing loss.

View SMP's profile


1304 posts in 354 days

#4 posted 07-08-2019 04:42 PM

I am shifting more towards hybrid woodworking, focusing more on hand tools where possible. Already have some hearing loss and trying to not lose anymore. Another thing I make sure to unplug or turn off the air compressor after using. That thing, just like smoke detectors, are gauranteed to go off between 2 and 3 AM, causing widespread panic, barking dogs etc.

View Mr_Pink's profile


167 posts in 820 days

#5 posted 07-08-2019 05:23 PM

I’ve found sound absorbing panels to be helpful, but my situation is different from yours. I have a hand-tool shop in a basement with low ceilings and masonry walls. My shop is usually very quiet, unless I pick up a hammer or mallet. Being enclosed by hard surfaces meant that those percussive noises were bouncing right back at me, making them feel louder than they would in a more open space. Putting sound absorbing materials above and around my bench made a noticeable difference.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5637 posts in 2941 days

#6 posted 07-08-2019 05:47 PM

My DC runs at 94 dB (measured) at a distance of 8’ and since I have a detached shop, I haven’t rushed to do anything. I wear hearing protection all the time tools are running anyway, so I’ve stuck with that. But the DC is so loud I’m considering enclosing it in a closet. My concern is servicing the thing after the closet is built…I’ll need to have at least one wall easily removable.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View farmfromkansas's profile


90 posts in 62 days

#7 posted 07-23-2019 03:23 PM

I built a storage room onto my shop, the DC, air compressor and wood storage are in there. Just a doorway between the rooms. Really keeps the noise down in the main shop, and did free up a lot of room as I got the lumber rack moved out, and use it for flat plywood storage.

View Kelly's profile


2394 posts in 3392 days

#8 posted 07-23-2019 05:51 PM

My last big job, before retirement, was a contractors dream, at least for me. The owners threw money at the house and it was my job to make them happy with the results. That meant appealing, unique designs and function.

Since I took much of the house back to its bones, I got to experiment. In the kitchen, I sealed EVERY crack and crevice I could find. Even before the insulation was in and the rock on, and though the kitchen had a French door and three windows, you could not hear a storm raging outside, until you opened the door.

I was surprised, but had remembered, from my speaker building days, sound was just air movement (rarefactions and compressions of air waves) so, by stopping as much air movement between the outside and the inside as possible, I was sound proofing. Add to the foregoing insulation and rock (especially the later), and it was a quiet house.

To that end, I’ve thought about moving my two big collectors into the attic and feeding them down to Super Dust Deputy cyclones by way of smooth pipe. The sound deadening would be significant.

View intrainingcnc's profile


3 posts in 25 days

#9 posted 07-23-2019 06:58 PM

first of all always use hearing protection. even the quietest noises can damage your hearing. take it from someone who thought the noise was within safe limits. I now have implants to hear with, and still i don’t have all my hearing back. If only I would have believed what others have told me in the past. I would be able to hear my grandchild’s voice. that would be awesome. so please if you think the noise is safe, use your hearing protection anyway. I hope people learn by my mistakes. thank you

-- JohnSierraVista

View Manitario's profile


2778 posts in 3331 days

#10 posted 07-23-2019 07:10 PM

I put my Clearvue in an insulated closet. Reduced the dB to ~75 at 8’. However, all the machines that I run are equally as loud so ear protection is just a fact of life for me.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View MrRon's profile


5620 posts in 3691 days

#11 posted 07-23-2019 07:27 PM

The loudest machine in my shop is a pancake compressor. I couldn’t stand it, so I junked it and bought a “California Air Tools” compressor. 60 db sound level. The next loudest machine is my lunchbox planer. Fortunately I don’t use it that much, only when I must. I haven’t noticed any change in my hearing level (I’m 84) and still listen to and enjoy good music, although I don’t wear ear protection. As a safety point-of-view, I think it is good to hear the machine when it is running. I don’t approve of wearing music headphones when running a machine; it can cause distraction; not a good thing.
I have a DC that is about 6 ft away from me when I am running my saw. It doesn’t seem to be any louder than the saw. I have it discharging to the outdoors without filters. Maybe that makes a difference.

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