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Thread: Total newbie trying to avoid death by sawdust

  1. #1

    Total newbie trying to avoid death by sawdust

    So to support my workshop habits I wound up getting a 14" Grizzly Bandsaw (30 yr anniversary edition) a few months ago as a gift. I love this thing, its a real beast and cuts smooth when tuned correctly. Unfortunately, I did not foresee the insane amount of sawdust which has clogged every square inch of my baby, including guide bearings and the wheel belt. Now there is a 4 inch dust port in the back, but after hooking up my shop vac to it, it has made little to no difference in the build up of dust. I have seen dust collection units which are rather pricey, and I have seen some weird work-around's involving complicated jigs. Honest truth here guys, what do I do? I have tried everything from using a leaf blower to move the dust off my saw, to sucking it up by hand after I am done cutting (which is time consuming and doesnt even work that well). I literally have no experience with this kind of stuff
    Last edited by Chris Hughes; 05-05-2017 at 11:50 AM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hughes View Post
    So to support my workshop habits I wound up getting a 14" Grizzly Bandsaw (30 yr anniversary edition) a few months ago as a gift. I love this thing, its a real beast and cuts smooth when tuned correctly. Unfortunately, I did not foresee the insane amount of sawdust which has clogged every square inch of my baby, including guide bearings and the wheel belt. Now there is a 4 inch dust port in the back, but after hooking up my shop vac to it, it has made little to no difference in the build up of dust. I have seen dust collection units which are rather pricey, and I have seen some weird work-around's involving complicated jigs. Honest truth here guys, what do I do? I have tried everything from using a leaf blower to move the dust off my saw, to sucking it up by hand after I am done cutting (which is time consuming and doesnt even work that well). I literally have no experience with this kind of stuff
    Unfortunately, there may not be a simple or cheap fix.

    Blowing the dust around might not be so good for your lungs! Cleaning up afterward is good housekeeping but doesn't help the inside of the saw or the dust put into the air while sawing.

    I know nothing about the Grizzly but most bandsaws I've seen have pitiful dust collection. The ports are too small and sometimes not optimally placed. A shop vac will kind of work (that's what I used to use) but there is no comparison to one those "expensive" dust collectors. If you have other machines that generate dust, the DC may be the best option in the long run.

    The bandsaw I use the most is an 18" Rikon. It has two 4" ports, one at the bottom of the bottom cabinet and one in the bottom cabinet just below the lower guides. I connected it to a 5-hp cyclone dust collector with a 4" duct going to each port and STILL it threw sawdust on the floor and in the air, coming from below the table near the lower guides. There was a lot of dust on the top of the table when I made skimming cuts.

    I fixed both of these: on the top of the table I added a 3rd 4" flex duct, one that I can position or move out of the way as needed. I position this to pickup most of the dust from skimming cuts. All three ducts are connected to the cyclone with a 6" duct. I solved the problem of the dust from below the table by making a cardboard shroud to fit on three sides around the lower guides. It goes from the bottom cabinet to the bottom of the table, held on by magnets. I intended to use the cardboard to make a template for a plastic shroud but it has worked so well I've been using it for several years now.

    With these changes, no dust accumulates around the guides or in the bottom cabinet.

    You may have to add another port or two and use something stronger than the shop vac. Shop vacs have a lot of suction but don't move much air. You really need to move a lot of air to best pick up the fine dust. (The larger particles of sawdust are a housekeeping nuisance - the fine particles are what stick in your lungs. For a good education on dust collection and breathing, dedicate a couple days to read and study what Bill Pentz wrote; http://billpentz.com//woodworking/cyclone/index.cfm

    You don't HAVE to get a dust collector. People did woodworking for ages without them. Some got sick and died. Some wore respirators to protect their lungs. Some used big fans to blow the fine dust outside while working.

    I do wear a respirator (3M with P100 filters) when making dust the cyclone can't get. I also have a Jet air cleaner to help clear the air of the very fine stuff that floats around. I use a laser air quality particulate monitor to gauge how well everything is working. If I didn't have good dust collection I'd wear the respirator all the time in the shop until the air cleaner ran for an hour or two and the monitor said the air was clean.

    BTW, two members of our woodturning club that I know of had to give up working with wood completely after years of not protecting their lungs. It gets to some people quicker than others.

    JKJ

  3. #3
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    I have a shop vacuum hooked up to the dust port on my Jet band saw, but I still have to vacuum all the surfaces on and under the saw to clean it up.
    I also wipe down the saw frequently.

    I do it after every use. The vacuum stays connected to my saw.

  4. #4
    You'll want a dust collector of ~2 hp.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  5. #5
    I hear Harbor Freight has a dust collector that's inexpensive.

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    I have the Grizzly 14 inch G0555 which is very similar to yours. It has that same 4" port on the back. I hook mine up the the Harbor Freight dust collector.... https://www.harborfreight.com/2-hp-i...tor-97869.html. They put it on sale pretty regularly for $130-$150. Its a steal IMHO at that price. That's half of what you'll find a similar collector for anywhere else. There are folks here that will argue some of the other brands are better or more powerful, and they may be right. But this machine has served me incredibly well for 3 years now. It moves far more air than your shop vac can ever dream of. It does a good job on my bandsaw. I'd highly encourage you to check it out. It'll only run 1 machine at a time and is not powerful enough to service long runs of permanent piping, but wheeling it from machine to machine is easy and what many of us hobbyist do. Good luck

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post

    I fixed both of these: on the top of the table I added a 3rd 4" flex duct, one that I can position or move out of the way as needed. I position this to pickup most of the dust from skimming cuts. All three ducts are connected to the cyclone with a 6" duct. I solved the problem of the dust from below the table by making a cardboard shroud to fit on three sides around the lower guides. It goes from the bottom cabinet to the bottom of the table, held on by magnets. I intended to use the cardboard to make a template for a plastic shroud but it has worked so well I've been using it for several years now.
    John, do you have pics of this setup or maybe you posted those in another thread at some point? I have a G0555 and rigged up a Y-fitting so that I get some pickup around the lower guides. But the nature of bandsaws is such that a lot of dust is thrown in the air. I've thought about rigging something up that can go above the workpiece, so it will be interesting to see what you've done.

    Thanks,
    Steve
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  8. #8
    I mostly just need it for my bandsaw. I do have a belt sander but that is a little easier to hose off with my shop vac and creates less of a widespread mess. Do you think that I could get away with using a split hose to hit two different areas at once? Say, one for the port on bottom and one to hook around the top side to keep dust off the table and belt.

  9. #9
    "Do you think that I could get away with using a split hose to hit two different areas at once?"

    If the DC has enough capacity.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  10. #10
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    My experience with three different bandsaws - Delta, Rikon and Laguna - is the same as John's. Dust collection as it comes from all those saws is poor. If, as your title implies, you are concerned about breathing sawdust, then you need to wear a dust mask or be in a well ventilated location or both. In order to capture a majority of the fine dust, you will need a decent dust collector. A shop vac isn't going to do much of anything except clean up afterwards. The dust from a belt sander is much worse than from a band saw.

  11. #11
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    Forget collecting from the cabinet, especially if all you have is a shop vac. It takes a lot of CFM to move maintain enough velocity through a 4" port and a large cabinet, and even then you still end up with dust on top of the lower cab around the lower guides.

    Try collecting dust from directly under the table, before it has a chance to enter the lower cabinet. Rob Cosman has a youtube video on using a section of small-diameter PVC piping, hooked up to his shop vac, to provide a high-velocity airstream through the blade gullets directly under the table. This seems like a promising idea. If I didn't already have a dust collector and only needed collection for the bandsaw I would absolutely experiment with this before buying one.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mann View Post
    My experience with three different bandsaws - Delta, Rikon and Laguna - is the same as John's. Dust collection as it comes from all those saws is poor. If, as your title implies, you are concerned about breathing sawdust, then you need to wear a dust mask or be in a well ventilated location or both. In order to capture a majority of the fine dust, you will need a decent dust collector. A shop vac isn't going to do much of anything except clean up afterwards. The dust from a belt sander is much worse than from a band saw.
    I have a mask, I probably should have worded my title better. I mean all the sawdust floating around isn't helping anyway because I can only wear that damn mask for so long before I start to overheat so it would be nice to get rid of some of it. I will look a dust collector. Just wanted to see if it was all it's cracked up to be! Thanks guys.

  13. #13
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    Chris, I have a short piece of flexible tube sliced open a bit and placed around the blade, under the table. The end on the outside has a fitting on it for my vac. Bungee cord and duct tape. It works really well. Maybe you can experiment in that direction. Also, if you don't yet have a "dust deputy", you should get one. That will improve everything you do with your vac.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wurster View Post
    John, do you have pics of this setup or maybe you posted those in another thread at some point? I have a G0555 and rigged up a Y-fitting so that I get some pickup around the lower guides. But the nature of bandsaws is such that a lot of dust is thrown in the air. I've thought about rigging something up that can go above the workpiece, so it will be interesting to see what you've done.

    Steve, this is the cardboard shroud that works well, held in place with a few magnets. It's open in the back so with the DC sucking air from the lower cabinet I think air comes in from behind and pulls all the dust downward effectively.

    bandsaw_shroud1_IMG_20161101_102828_050.jpg bandsaw_shroud_2_IMG_20161101_102544_683.jpg

    Someday I'll make one out of clear plastic that snaps into place held by small super magnets epoxied to the saw. When I get some spare time...

    A couple of limitations with the shroud - I can't tilt the saw table with it in place, but I don't think I've tilted it more than once in 15 years. Also, it's not possible to visually check the lower guides with it in place - a clear plastic one would fix that.

    I don't have pictures of the duct work but it's pretty simple: a 6" S&D duct coming down the wall with a 6" blast gate, a double-4" splitter box from Clearview. One of those 4" gets split further between the upper port in the base cabinet and the stay-put flexible hose on the top of the table. I fastened a strong magnet to the lip of the flex hose so I can stick it on top the table or out of the way on the side as needed. The other 4" goes directly to the bottom of the cabinet.

    The only air intake in the lower cabinet is from the small entrance hole below the lower guides and the blade exit area on the left side of the saw. With the 5-hp cyclone the air pull through these is impressive.

    With a shop vac connected I'd get layers of sawdust in the bottom cabinet that would interest an archeologist. Now I might see a teaspoon of dust in the corners, if that. With the shroud the saw no longer sprays dust at my legs and feet. Note that I do a LOT of bandsawing when processing turning blanks, sometimes a 1/2 a day continuously.

    JKJ

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hughes View Post
    I have a mask, I probably should have worded my title better. I mean all the sawdust floating around isn't helping anyway because I can only wear that damn mask for so long before I start to overheat so it would be nice to get rid of some of it. I will look a dust collector. Just wanted to see if it was all it's cracked up to be! Thanks guys.
    If you are concerned increasing the quality of your future life and its span, you might experiment with some other dust masks. The 3M respirator with the P100 filters I use is comfortable for hours:

    respirator.jpg

    I also have a battery powered Trend face shield that I used in the summer when I had a un-airconditioned shop but I haven't used it for years now. There are a variety of new dust masks on the market that are marketed to woodturners and woodworkers that are light weight and comfortable. I bought a couple to try but I don't know the filter rating so I can't recommend one. Be careful - some have pricey proprietary filters. The disposable paper filters are not worth using, IMHO, but if you do, get the kind with a built-in exhaust port - MUCH cooler with long use.

    Again, keep this in mind - it's not the dust you see accumulating that is the health issue. It's the very fine dust that floats in the air. Some of the worst is dust you can't even see.

    After 20 years of a casual attitude about dust, one friend and incredibly talented woodturner can no longer work with wood of any kind, doctor's orders. His lung problems eventually got so bad he couldn't breathe if he even walked into his shop - and this was after it was emptied and professionally cleaned several times. He had a new house built and moved. I bought his wood lathe as a spare - the last time I was over there he had set up a metal-cutting lathe in his new basement.

    JKJ

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