Table Saw Dust Collection: Advice and Best Tips
One of the busiest woodworking tools you have is also one of the messiest. The dust from table saws can get tracked everywhere; on your person, on your shoes, and through the air.
Collecting the dust before it takes over your home or shop is the best way to maintain your workspace. But what are the best ways to do that? We have a few suggestions.
Dust Collection Methods
There are several very effective ways you can get control over the dust from your table saw. Depending on the size of your workspace and budget, you may want to use a combination of a few of these.
A shop vacuum or shop vac is a valuable machine to have in any workspace. There are several different types, some that work with wet or dry materials and of different sizes and performance levels.
This wet/dry shop vac works well and is designed for working with wood and sawdust. A powerful unit with a 9-gallon drum, it is ideal for larger jobs, smaller jobs and is reasonably priced for the average woodworker.
Many come with several different attachments, like hoses, extensions and filters and dust collection bags. This unit has dual action so you can vacuum up the debris or reverse and blow the debris out of the shop and off surfaces.
While your shop vac will perform well on getting up the excess dust and wood particles, you may find there is still a lot of fine dust. When you change the bag or simply turn it on, there may be a large cloud of fine and irritating dust.
An extra filter, like a HEPA filter, can help reduce that fine dust greatly. Make sure it is the right one for the shop vac you have. These filters can be washed and used over again for a long time.
Dust Collection Box
You can always put a box of any type underneath your saw to collect the dust and wood chippings. This can be a larger cardboard box, a wooden box, and you can even make one fit your particular saw.
When fitting a collection box under your table saw, you will need a table saw port to direct the dust in. There are many different types of table saw ports available, so find the one that will suit your saw.
Blade Guard and Overarm Dust Collection
Placing a protective arm or guard over the blade is also a great way to contain the dust from your table saw. These blade guards will collect a lot of the stray dust flying off the blade. They attach to your dust collection system.
Overarm dust collectors, like this one, are independent of your saw and your dust collection system. You simply connect it to the base of your saw and it will capture all the dust that is thrown up and over the top.
If you are using an overhead arm for collecting dust or even attaching your shop vac to the saw, consider mounting it, so it is easier to use and not constantly underfoot.
This way, it is always handy, and you don't have to stop working each time you need to clear the dust particles. Hooks come in many sizes and shapes and are sturdy enough to hold your equipment in place.
Table Saw Dust Collection Bags
Depending on the type of table saw you have, you can attach a dust collection bag directly to the saw to collect all the dust and debris. These dust collection bags are easy to use, easy to remove and replace. They work well and are an inexpensive method of dust collection.
These work similar to the bag on the side of your lawnmower, where they just fit on and collect all the debris that is sent their way.
Close Open Spaces and Gaps
Once you have installed a dust port to guide the dust to a container, you may need to close off the spaces around it. You can cover up the space, use a screen or enclose it with some materials you have on hand.
Also, consider filling in holes around smaller openings like where the tubes attach. Be careful not to completely close the spaces where air needs to move through to create the suction.
Cyclone Dust Collectors
The powerful cyclone dust collectors are very popular and available in various sizes and price ranges. The cyclone dust collectors work differently than a regular shop vac. They create a mini cyclone inside the drum, and it allows the larger pieces of debris to go directly to the bottom of the drum.
Many of the cyclone dust collectors are powerful enough to work with several table saws at the same time. This is ideal if you are a larger organization and need to clear the dust from several machines at once.
Regardless of the type of dust collection system you are using, see if you can get it rigged to work remotely. It can be difficult to engage the unit when you must stop working to walk across the room.
There is less chance of kicking around the dust particles when you don't have to walk through them constantly. Even an under-table foot pedal will make working much easier.
Collecting the dust from your table saw helps keep your space cleaner and safer. The tiny particles can cause respiratory problems or aggravate some you may already have.
It is safer, as well, as piles of dust on the floor or other surfaces can be hiding something that can be potentially dangerous. You may step on something, put your hand down on something sharp or an open wire that can electrocute you.
You want a clear view of what you are working on to make sure you can provide the best work you can.