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Dust Revisited

comments (7) May 12th, 2014 in blogs

ScottGrove Scott Grove, Contributor
thumbs up 13 users recommend

Home made automatic blast gate
Every piece of equipment is connected the dust system
Home made automatic blast gate - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Home made automatic blast gate

Photo: Scott Grove


Brazilian Wood Working

Revisiting Dust

When I walk into a spotless wood shop I always think its owner either has no work or he (or she) has plenty of time or help to clean up. Or, they have an amazing dust collection system with discipline to match. My visit to teach a group and private veneering classes in Sao Palo, Brazil reminded me of the latter.

The private shop I worked in was spotless, absolutely free of any dust, and I soon noticed a variety of ingenious homemade dust collecting systems and a method of work that inspired me to revisit how I handle my dust.

Dust is a constant battle with that little annoying pile; I never quite get it all; I have to remember to turn on the dust collector; then open and close blast gates before operating every piece of equipment; or move and connect hoses to specialized tools; drag around my vacuum with one bad wheel and a stubborn hose to suck up the fine film of grey matter. Put on my dust mask. Turn on the air cleaners to capture another toxic cloud...the list is about as endless as the dust. 

I sweep, I brush and I sweep more with every size broom known to man. The fact is, I am either lazy or in a hurry when making only one cut, which means the dust quickly adds up, too. It's fine and invasive and seems to be everywhere no matter what I do.

I admit, laziness probably gets the better of me. I find myself not always turning on the dedicated vacuum as two switches are SUCH a hassle.

The fact is, dust control is simply discipline and a method of work.

When I saw this new system in Brazil, I thought I would share some of the gadgets and method of work they used to manage this essential dust issue. I hope it will be helpful for all woodworking shops, big and small alike.

posted in: blogs, workshop, dust, dust collecting

Comments (7)

RobbyW RobbyW writes: If you want to read an article on current detection control of your dust collector, the Fine Woodworking on Small Woodworking Shops book as an article on it. The part numbers have probably changed by now, but the sources are still good.

I built one for my shop and it has greatly reduced the hassle of turning the dust collector on and off. I have it set up for my tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press and several switched outlets around the shop.
Posted: 2:18 pm on May 19th

gilipili gilipili writes: Please give the name of this Brazilian workshop and location. Thanks.
Posted: 12:28 pm on May 17th

user-682152 user-682152 writes: I have read the research papers done by the fire safety association concerning combustion and grounding of dust collection systems. According to their research, what causes combustion is pieces of metal getting into the system, hitting the impellers, creating a spark that then ignites the dust. For this reason they recommend that no floor sweeps be used. Other than keeping metal out of your dust collection unit, there is no risk of explosions except in systems with tubing greater than 13 inches in diameter.
Posted: 11:55 am on May 17th

BigKnifeGuy BigKnifeGuy writes: As someone who will be building a new shop in the next year this article will sure come in handy. Now if only I could figure out a way to visit as many foreign shops as possible especially in tropical climates!
Posted: 8:49 am on May 17th

TylerJones TylerJones writes: I do love those homemade blast gates though.
Posted: 12:48 pm on May 14th

TylerJones TylerJones writes: I was under the impression, from what I've heard and read recently, that the fire/explosion hazard from static buildup isn't actually an issue. I could be wrong of course and would like to see some data on either side.

Anecdotally, the only fire I've ever witnessed in a DC system was caused by a small clump of shavings hung ON a copper wire inside the duct. Someone hit a nail on a machine directly under the connection and the spark immediately ignited the shavings. One more reason to have a charged extinguisher handy.
Posted: 12:48 pm on May 14th

BostonDB1 BostonDB1 writes: Or you could use hand tools more often... (Backs away, slowly)
Posted: 6:54 pm on May 13th

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