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Suggest a Dust Collector!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by teej, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Today, I realized just how much crud I'm breathing in while working in my "shop." For those that don't know, I work out of my apartment, and most of my work is done from a small, 3x5 storage unit, and with all of my tools and shelving, I have just enough room to turn around.

    Anyway, I was routing the tone chambers on a build I'm working on (1 of 3... sheesh!) and my nose got a little runny, so I blew, and it was all walnut-colored. It would help if I made a habit of wearing a dust mask, but because I work in such a small space (which becomes a sea of wood shavings and dust), I thought it would be necessary to go a step further and look into dust collection. I've got a big 16 gal. 6/5 HP ShopVac (the one with the detachable blower) in a storage unit I'm renting, and have thought about somehow employing that shomehow, but it's a big vac.

    So are there any small, cheap, and effective collectors on the market?
  2. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I don't know of any, but you should really be careful. My grandfather had lung problems from working in a mill a good portion of his life.
  3. ahhh the wonders of the small shop. A dust collector will help keep your floor clean from big tools, but generally they are not very effective on routers, jigsaws, sanders, etc. If you have stationary machinery (bandsaw, jointer, planer, etc) then get a small 1hp dust collector with a 1 micron bag and that'll help a lot, BUT you also need an air filter to circulate and filter the air for the small airborne dust, which is the kind that's REALLY dangerous for your lungs. Even with both of those (which I have) you will still get your floor quite messy if you don't clean up after each operation (which I don't do). Even with all these, you MUST start wearing a good dust mask or you will still get the wood colored snot which means you're breathing all that nasty (and can be carcinogen) dust into your lungs.
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    You have to wear a mask in a space that small. Get a powered respirator.

    Dust collectors are good for getting big particles. Most anything will do; a little grizzly will keep your shop cleaner. Bigger and better ones will have more HP for more airflow and larger bag capacity. If you want better filtration you have to spend for a better bag. The only real solution for effective collection is a cyclone, which you do not have room for.

    You could also get an air filter and hang it from the ceiling. Those generally filter smaller particles.
  5. grace & groove

    grace & groove

    Nov 30, 2005
    Self-Appointed Ambassador to the Dragonfly

    I have one. I actually made the move to get all my tools from this series. I too work in a small space. It's wireless so it's easy to move around without worrying about the chord and it is at least big enough to clean-up efficiently after a few hours work. And it's only $20. I think you need to buy the battery separate though. Not sure. Bought all of mine in a package.

    P.S. If you're in there every day then I probably wouldn't go with it.
  6. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    G&G, you are kidding I hope :confused:
  7. Jonsbasses


    Oct 21, 2006
    Fort Worth, TX
    Builder: Jon's Basses
    Obviously, you wont be able to fit a vacuum in there, so I'd take Matt's advice on a respirator. All woodworkers should wear a respirator when doing work, you create tons of dust and you'll breath a lot of it in. And it's a good thing your nose creates all that snot, or else you'd be breathing in quite a bit more. :D

    Just wear a respirator, and bring in a vacuum to clean up your mess when you're done.
  8. grace & groove

    grace & groove

    Nov 30, 2005
    Self-Appointed Ambassador to the Dragonfly
    All I've ever done is route a bass for a trem and make a balance board. I don't need expensive stuff, I just need wireless stuff. :p
  9. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    boy do i know that feeling i airbrush and paint various things in my litte cellar thats been converted to my home workshop and you wouldnt believe how much crud you breath in untill you blow your nose i used to sneeze after painting something and my snot would be all the colours of the rainbow

    an easy fix is to buy a decent respirator you wont need anything too fancy if its just wood but those little multipack paper efforts are a total waste of time
  10. 6Hz


    Jul 12, 2007
    Berkeley, CA
    That sounds completely unpleasant. Can you at least set up some
    cross ventilation to blow in fresh air and blow the dust out?

    Three by five feet??!? How do you do anything in there?
  11. Wood Ascention

    Wood Ascention

    Nov 7, 2004
    A little more info. would be helpful. are you trying to handle stationary tools or hand helds.
    I suspect the latter is true, festool makes awesome units

    as well as Fein

    The draw back with these is they are pricey, and many tools do not have provision for attachment. Unless you have tools with dust extraction hookups, my suggestion is to buy a smaller shop vac and buy or make an ambient are filter.
    The 3/4 hp delta (or similar) is a good choice for multi purpose use.

    There is also a lot to be said for clamping a shop vac hose close to where you're cutting or sanding.

    If you can afford it the Festool units are the S@#T!
  12. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    It's not so much the clean-up that bothers me, just the fine particles I'm breathing in. Recently, I've been working with rosewoods, ebony, and walnut, and all three irritate my nose.

    I know the feeling. Just finished a restoration where I used my workspace as a paint booth.

    3x5 is actually upgrade. At least it's a dedicated work space. Before, we had more stuff in that storage room, and I was working on the front patio. I snapped a quick photo of my "shop" to give you guys an idea of what I work in. Right now, I have a fan against the back wall, facing the door, that blows across any pieces and tools I'm working with, hopefully blowing dust and shavings out the door, or at least out of my face. By the way, we Joiners (uh, hello? JOINERS?!) are terribly resourceful people.


    I've got a bench-top drill press, but everything else (router and jigsaw) is hand-held.
  13. 6Hz


    Jul 12, 2007
    Berkeley, CA
    That's pretty remarkable.

    In a space like that with only one door and so no real possibility
    of getting a cross breeze or even of cycling air inside the room,
    I think your best bet is personal protection rather than trying
    to filter the air in the room.

    Get something like this:
    Less than $30 at home depot. The dust filter is clean-and-reusable.
    If you're finishing in there you definitely want the organic vapor
    protection too.

    In real dusty conditions, swim goggles are pretty useful too for
    keeping dust completely out of your eyes.
  14. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I've got a big Rigid brand shop vac similar to yours for my basement shop. I set up the hose close to my work whenever possible and it gets a fair bit of the dust. Loud though when used indoors. Wearing a dust mask is also necessary. My biggest problem is stopping the dust from getting into the furnace. In the summer I work on my back deck when doing dusty jobs.
  15. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I'm thinking about downgrading the ShopVac. It's a great vac, with a killer blower that will put blast craters in cement floors, but I bought it when I had the house and a huge basement workshop, so it's just too big for my tiny closet/shop. What I'm looking at now is something much smaller, that I can use to suck the sawdust away while I'm working.

    2.5 gal. 2.5 HP Wet/Dry ShopVac
    PROS: Tiny! Inexpensive. Has blower port (this is a big plus).
    CONS: Not enough HP? Hose diameter too small? Foam/disc filter not sufficient?

    3.5 gal. 4.0 HP Hang-Up ShopVac
    PROS: Small, high HP for size, hangs on wall, more suction than my current 'Vac.
    CONS: A little more expensive, NO BLOWER PORT?!!
  16. Wood Ascention

    Wood Ascention

    Nov 7, 2004
    A better suited shop vac and a good respirator(like the one 6hz linked to), should do the trick. Before I started buying tools with dust extraction, I would hose clamp my shop vac hose to a stip of stock and then clamp the stock so the inlet of the hose was close to where I was routing (or drilling, sawing, etc.). This will help keep the bulk of the dust out of the air. Even with good dust collection it is still wise to wear a respirator, even the best setups let some dust fly, and the health of your lungs and eyes is Moy Importante.
  17. 6Hz


    Jul 12, 2007
    Berkeley, CA
    I'd be inclined to keep the current shopvac and just get a
    longer hose. Put it outside the space and run the hose in.
    I've got a little baby DeWalt that's completely useless
    for anything beyond light dusting.

    You've got a good set of earplugs, right. My head is hurting
    just looking at that router in the tiny room ... :)

    Have you considered making some sort of filter box with
    those fans? Mount the fans on one side, a furnace filter
    on the other. That way you're not just blowing dust around
    but collecting some of it too.
  18. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I just got back from Lowe's. I went with Option C (not listed): the 5.5 HP, 5 gal. model. I A/B-ed the Hang-Up and ShopVac's smallest model, but not having the blower eliminated the Hang-Up, and I thought the smallest one would be underpowered and not have sufficient filtering. What I got is only slightly larger than the smallest vac, and almost as powerful as the vac I have now.
    It's not that I don't have a place for it when in use -- it's when I'm not using it.

    uhhh... :scowl: Actually, it's not that loud when I have the door open. But yes, I do have a set of plugs.

    Hmmm.... I've never really thought of that. What I've tried before is putting the fan on the opposite side of my workbench, so instead of blowing the dust out, it's sucking it out. Although now that I think about it, blowing probably isn't helping much.

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