How bad is wood dust?

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Forum topic by Joekwon80 posted 03-31-2012 02:49 PM 2310 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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87 posts in 2655 days

03-31-2012 02:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: new workshop wood dust unisaw basement workshop

I’m currently tossing around the idea of turning my fully finished basement into my woodwork shop. I have carpet down there and the space is very much a finished bonus room. I however, don’t need a bonus room so I wanted to take it back a few steps and turn it into my workshop. The dilemma is how much wood dust does a unisaw make if it’s outfitted with a DC that is in the garage. Will enough dust come off the front of the blade and not collected by the DC to make a fine layer of dust on everything in the basement?

When I go to sell the house I want to put the carpet back in and turn it back into a bonus room considering the majority of the population needs the bonus room and not a workshop. I’m just worried that will be a challenge if everything is covered in wood dust.

-- Joe Kwon

15 replies so far

View Joekwon80's profile


87 posts in 2655 days

#1 posted 03-31-2012 02:55 PM

Also, how many of you here use an air filtration system? I have an inlet to my central air in the basement. Would that serve as an air filtration system? I realize I’d be changing the filters more often but that’s not a biggie. Or is that filter just not fine enough and I could ruin the HVAC?

-- Joe Kwon

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3461 days

#2 posted 03-31-2012 02:58 PM

No DC system is perfect – and not all operations can have collection, so you’ll always have some sawdust to deal with. It will come down to how often you want to clean up.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Joekwon80's profile


87 posts in 2655 days

#3 posted 03-31-2012 03:05 PM

I don’t mind cleaning up. I prefer a nice and tidy workspace. I’m just worried that the saw dust will get in every nook and cranny in the basement and maybe even make it’s way upstairs into the main floors. And then when it comes time to move out I’ll be stuck with a room that has such fine dust no amount of cleaning will get it all up.

-- Joe Kwon

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6537 posts in 3587 days

#4 posted 03-31-2012 03:16 PM


I have a dedicated stand-alone wood shop, dust collection going to every major tool in the shop, and I still get some fine dust on everything…..I have a 1200 cfm collector, and it does great, but still…there is that fine dust…

I have a JDS air cleaner hanging from the ceiling, and everytime I run a machine, it’s turned on….it scrubbs the air pretty good, but if I forget to turn it on…..a little fine dust…..I have a Unisaw, and every place that dust can escape, I have it taped up, so that’s something you might want to do…. I would not hook up the saw to a central air for your house…..too risky…..but that’s just me…..You need a dedicated d.c. and maybe an air handler….no matter how hard you try to wrangle the dust, you’ll still get it..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a 2 hour nap".....!!

View Joekwon80's profile


87 posts in 2655 days

#5 posted 03-31-2012 03:47 PM

I have a DC that only runs on the table saw. I like the idea of taping up any holes that saw dust can creep out of. I bought some magnet sheets to do that. I imagine inside the unisaw cabinet with 1200cfm there would be an area of negative pressure anyways.

Does the air filtration work? I’ve heard that they aren’t very effective.

And I wasn’t talking about hooking up the HVAC to the TS. I was just saying there is an air inlet in the basement that I imagine would suck up some dust in the air unless I block it off. But then again maybe that’s not too bad.

Thanks for the input!

-- Joe Kwon

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3567 days

#6 posted 03-31-2012 03:51 PM

Where’s the fresh air intake FOR your HVAC system ?

Mine’s on the main level, while my shop is in the basement. Not directly in the line of fire, and … when I clean/check my filters … it looks like household dust, and NOT sawdust.

-- -- Neil

View jmos's profile


913 posts in 2762 days

#7 posted 03-31-2012 03:54 PM

I don’t have a Unisaw, but I do have a basement shop. I would block off any connection to the house HVAC, and make sure you have a door to close. You will get some dust in the basement, even with a DC. You might want to think about getting a blade guard with a DC port, it would help capture more dust, but of course you have to use it, which many don’t.

While, venting it outside is the way to go, keep in mind you’ll get fine dust in your garage if you go with a OEM filter. They all let the finest dust through. If you can keep the DC in the garage and vent that outside you’re in really good shape.

I also have an air filter, not perfect, but the filters do pick up a lot of dust, so it is doing something.

-- John

View Manitario's profile


2755 posts in 3276 days

#8 posted 03-31-2012 04:12 PM

Joe: I have a large cyclone DC with 6” duct to all my stationary tools. I have no fine dust on anything in my shop after ww. Awhile ago I bought an air quality sensor out of curiosity; the air quality in my shop, even after working out there for a day, is better than the air quality in my house. In essence, you want to capture as much dust as you can at the source, which means a good DC setup. An ambient air filter will help, but it cleans the air over a period of time, which allows fine dust to settle, get breathed in, etc.

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5547 posts in 2886 days

#9 posted 03-31-2012 04:16 PM

Even a world class DC system won’t get everything…don’t forget you’ll likely be using hand held powered tools that defy DC (like a router). But with the TS, an overarm dust basket along with a good DC and cabinet hookup does get almost everything. Mine has went through a few iterations, and it currently wears an Excalibur overarm guard with a 6” hook up to the bottom of the cabinet. Prior to the Excalibur (bought used) I had a Shark Guard Mega mouth on it, and I may switch back….it was just a tad more convenient while catching as much dust. The ambient air cleaner would be a good add, and a good shop vac to hook to your hand sanders and other small tools.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117627 posts in 3970 days

#10 posted 03-31-2012 04:20 PM

In most cases I think you will be fine with the Dc you have but it seems that some dust seems be finer and go further than others like walnut and mahogany ,plus some folks have allergic reactions to those types of woods.

View MrRon's profile


5493 posts in 3636 days

#11 posted 03-31-2012 05:20 PM

DC or no DC, there will always be fine dust when cutting wood. If you could somehow put the saw in an isolated enclosure and maintain a negative pressure inside and direct the enclosure air to the outdoors via an exhaust fan, you could keep the rest of the basement dust free. By enclosure, I’m thinking a small room within the basement, but large enough to handle wood cutting; possibly sliding panels or curtains.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6537 posts in 3587 days

#12 posted 03-31-2012 05:25 PM

One thing I forgot to mention is that I have dust collection for all my sanders.(ROS, finish, and belt sanders),so that helps a lot to catch dust… routers also have d.c hookups, and my router table is hooked into the dust collector….along with everything else for d.c., I get very litte, but there is just no way to get 1oo% of it…’s not in the cards… was said, good d.collector, shop vac, and air cleaner is a good start…..Do you have other machines that are hooked up the d.c.? You only mentioned the Unisaw….........

-- " At my age, happy hour is a 2 hour nap".....!!

View Joekwon80's profile


87 posts in 2655 days

#13 posted 03-31-2012 05:37 PM

Thanks everyone for the responses. close the HVAC inlet. There is a sealed door to the main floor already so I’ll possibly even put in a second door or maybe some vinyl sheets at the entrance of the basement.

I do have a unisaw and soon to add a jointer and planer eventually. The miter saw will stay in the garage as well as any sanding that I will do.

-- Joe Kwon

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3354 days

#14 posted 03-31-2012 06:23 PM

I am cheap! My wife saw a show in HGTV once where they made a DC out of a box fan and a pleated furnace filter. I attach with a bungee cord. Amazing how much dust it pulls out of the air. I also have an Oneida dust collector.

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 2986 days

#15 posted 03-31-2012 08:53 PM

Some types of wood can be vary toxic such as rose wood or at least a strong irritant.Even Oak with it’s strong tannin’s can be something to guard against with that being said if you use your commonsense an ventilate you will be just fine.The more fresh air you can get into you shop and the more dust you can ventilate the better you will be

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