Month: August 2016

Cyclone Dust


The thing that bugs me most about having a wood working shop in the garage is the sawdust building up everywhere. Piles of sawdust on the floor. Piles of dust in every nook and cranny.

Now I am not a great cleaner, but I try. The fact is that I can’t seem to keep ahead no matter what I do. I sweep around the machines, sweep off the desks, try to get a fine brush into the corners, but it is always a mess. The fact is there are just too many places in a garage like mine for dust to collect.

I have tried to use my shop vac as a dust collector, but that only works a little bit. It is just not a real solution to the problem. The time has come for me to think about woodshop dust collection.

Not only is wood dust a nuisance, it is also a health hazard. I know that sounds like a Nervous Nelly talking, but the fact is I have friends who are having breathing problems as they are approaching retirement and I have no desire to fight to breathe as I am trying to enjoy my declining years.

I have been around wood long enough to know just how damaging wood dust can be, and also to know how irresponsible I have been for years to not pay attention to these things. I have got to the point where I will at least wear a dust mask when the dust gets too bad. But I will admit that my version of too bad is probably at lot looser than other peoples’.

So I have been looking into collectors. I have checked the specs of all the different shop vacuum systems. I have looked into building my own system using a shop vac and that isn’t much better than just hooking the vacuum up to the machine.

I am going to get a couple horsepower cyclone system. One that will come with a pleated and really fine filter. I get the sense, though, that just a dust collector isn’t going to clean the air as well as I would really like to have it cleaned. So on the list is also a shop air filtration system. You know, one of those boxes that hang up by the ceiling and filter all the air. After doing more research, I have found that those boxes actually contain three different filters, from course to fine, and will cycle all the air from a room the size of a standard garage in about 20 minutes.

That combination won’t keep the dust out of all the corners, but it will keep the air cleaner than any I have normally been around when working with wood. I wonder if I will feel the same about cuttting and sanding without the smell of wood in the air and a nose that needs blowing every 5 minutes or so.



On Cool Tools

You may or may not have noticed  by now that I have a thing for tools. Not just for tools that every Tom Dick, and Harriette might have in their shop, but especially the tools that the average Joe doesn’t have. I take an odd delight in being able to pull out a tool and do a job for a friend when I know they are thinking, “Boy. I wish I had one of those.”

To a certain extent I get this when I pull out the big miter saw or Paslode Impulse nailer, but those are just tools that many guys have (even if mine are better). But tools like a biscuit joiner or a dovetail jig – those are tools that my friends who know a bit about woodworking get a bit of a drool over.

The other day I was at a buddy’s house installing some new laminate flooring. That is a job that has a few tricks, even though it is pretty quick and easy. But when you have to run any kind of new flooring through a doorway, you run into a bit of a sticking point. Do you just try to run the new flooring around the jamb? (You don’t). And if not, how are you going to go about cutting it off? Do you have a jamb saw? Not unless you do flooring for a living, you don’t. Do you try to cut it off with a hand saw? You can try, but it usually makes kind of a ragged cut. Do you have one of those fancy one sided Japanese thingys? That will work, but it is a lot of work.

What you do is pull out your brand new 18v multifunction oscillating cutter. When I pulled that baby out and quickly cut off the offending jambs in a nice smooth accurate line in no time at all, I am sure my guy was quite envious. Even though he covered well.

I know that it’s not cool to be so happy with myself over something like this, but It’s a little vice, and there is so little joy in the world.  Later I’ll tell you about a tool that left me on the other side of this equation.

But meanwhile, here’s a video so that you too can be jealous of me.