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10 Top Tips for Dust Collection

Breathe easier with these shop-tested tips for keeping your shop tidies and your air cleaner.

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Hang-it-here hose/cord holder

Shop-vacuum hoses have a way of unwinding on their own, creating a hazard underfoot. To keep yours in check, build this hose holder. When you install the mounting screws in the perforated hardboard, just snug them up because over tightening will strip out the holes.
—from the WOOD® magazine shop

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Good fence makes a better cyclone collector

After adding a garbage-can chip separator to my dust-collection system, I decided it would be easier to take the chips to the curb if I put a trash-can liner in the can. Oops! The first time I turned on the collector, it sucked the liner into the hose, rendering the system useless.

To remedy this situation, I fashioned a sleeve out of 2x4" welded fencing that fits inside the trash-can liner. I made mine an inch or so smaller in diameter than the bottom of the can to keep from damaging the liner as I insert the sleeve. When it comes time to empty the can, I lift out the sleeve, wiggling it from side to side. Then, I just pull out the bag, tie it up, and take it to the curb.
—John Rieger, Worthington, Ky.

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Brew up some vacuum-hose connections

Looking for a better way to hook up sections of 4" flexible dust-collection hose? The solution is percolating in your pantry!

The next time you empty a one-pound coffee can, cut off the bottom and use the can as a coupler. The rolled steel edges of the can prove much stronger than the crimped hose connectors sold in stores. Attach the hose leading to the dust collector with a screw-type hose clamp, and if you want a quick-change fitting, connect the hose leading to the tool with a 4" spring clamp.
—Earl Frech, North Canton, Ohio

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Here's a quick-and-easy dust-collection blast gate

Here's a dust-collection blast gate you can build quickly and easily without spending much money. First, cut all the pieces from 14 " Baltic-birch plywood and bore the 412 " holes, as shown, with a circle cutter. Then, glue and clamp the plywood spacers to one of the 7x7" plywood pieces. Now, cut a 4" section of PVC cold-water drain coupling in half and epoxy the coupling halves in the 412 " holes, flush with the inside surface of the plywood.

When the glue and epoxy cure completely, assemble the two halves of the blast gate with glue and brads. Now, slide the gate into the gate housing and connect your dust-collection piping to the PVC couplings.
—Eugene O'Hara, Independence, Mo.

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Hook-and-loop strip ends dust-bag frustration

If you have trouble holding the lower dust-collection bag while tightening the band clamp that secures it, try this. Buy a 1"-wide piece of hook-and-loop material (available from fabric stores) that's as long as the circumference of your dust-collector bag. Epoxy one of the strips to the perimeter of the dust collector where shown, and sew the mating strip to the inside of the bag.

Now, when you reinstall the bag, the hook-and-loop strips hold it securely in place while you tighten the band clamp. To keep the adhesion secure, vacuum the dust off the hook-and-loop strips from time to time.
—Bob Wingard, Cleveland, Tenn.

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Rake out the big pieces

A garden rake isn't standard shop equipment, but it sure comes in handy for separating hose-clogging chunks from a pile of shop debris. I rake through the pile before I use the vacuum.
—C.J. Jones, Fieldale, Va.

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Free-wheeling floor nozzle keeps on moving

It's great to have a powerful shop vacuum, but I often battled with mine to keep it from sucking the floor nozzle tightly to the shop floor. I solved the problem by cutting and mounting a set of small plywood wheels to the underside of the nozzle as shown. The wheels roll easily across the floor, even through debris, and keep the nozzle from attaching itself to the floor.
—Wilbur Rath, Shiocton, Wis.

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Make holesawing easier; vacuum sawdust away

If you struggle with dust collection every time you mount a holesaw to your drill press, try this. We built a simple hold-down, that keeps the shop vacuum's hose close to the holesaw. With the hose clamped in place and the shop vacuum running, make a series of progressively deeper cuts, lifting the holesaw clear of the workpiece between plunges. This clears the sawdust from the saw's teeth and makes cutting holes faster and much less frustrating.
—from the WOOD® magazine shop

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RV hose fittings speed dust-collector hookups

When I recently remodeled my shop, I installed a dust-collection system and enclosed the ductwork within my shop walls. But I soon had more equipment than outlets and no easy method for adding more collection ports.

To make my limited number of ports serve more machines, I bought some recreational vehicle (RV) sewer-hose fittings as shown. With these, I can quickly disconnect the hose from one machine and connect it to another machine nearby. The crushproof rubber hose flexes easily and extends to reach several machines. The fittings lock down tight-thanks to their waterproof rubber seals-yet release with a quick twist.
—John Hardy, Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Timer delays air-filter shut-off

I installed an air-filtration unit in my shop and plugged it into a 60-minute timer-controlled outlet. This lets the blower continue to pick up any dust that might be suspended in the air after I leave. Now I don't have to remember to come back later to turn it off.
—Joseph Hart, Grand Rapids, Mich.

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