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Thread: Dust Collection Recommendation for Small Garage Workshop

  1. #1

    Dust Collection Recommendation for Small Garage Workshop

    Hi All. Long time lurker but 1st time poster. I've spent hours reading about dust collection on this forum and others (other woodworking forums, Bill Pentz site, etc) and find myself almost as confused as ever. Up to this point, I've done most of my stuff outside (weather permitting of course) so atmosphere and cleanup was never a huge issue. I've recently cleaned up our garage with an eye on being able to do primarily work in there regardless of the weather. Outside is obviously still an option when the weather is fine.

    Currently, I have a Table Saw, Miter Saw, 2 Routers (Finishing and Fixed Corded), and 2 sanders (Random Orbital and Palm). I am looking to pick up a benchtop planer sometime in the near future if I can find a good deal. I feel like I'm at the point where a dust collector is necessary if I play to work in the garage (whether the door is open or closed). We don't have cars in there but I'm primarily focused on limiting what I'm breathing in. In all my forum reading, it seems like most folks say a shop vac/dust deputy combo does as well or better than a dust collector for the fine dust from an orbital sander (which I used a lot) vs. a dust collector working better for the saws and such. Am I reading that right or is there a dust collector that could do a decent job for my current setup? I've seen folks recommend ClearVue/Onieda/etc which I'm sure are amazing but those are really not in the budget right now. If I had say $500-$700 to spend right now, is there a setup someone can recommend that will put me in a better position than I am now with nothing?

    Thanks in advance for any help you all can provide. I've learned so many things over the years reading this forum.

  2. #2
    Routers, miter saw, and sanders work well with a shop vac. Buy the biggest HP and gallons you can find, and you probably need a 1 1/2" hose for the routers and sanders, along with some attachment fittings. Saw some fittings on sale in Rockler January catalog. If you have a small jobsite table saw, look what size hose connection it has, my old Dewalt had a connection that fit my shop vac hose. The planer you get will determine what size DC you need, the miter saw if newer may fit the larger size of vac hose, my old Makita takes a 1 1/2" hose, which would be greatly improved by using a larger diameter hose.

  3. #3
    If your on a tight budget build a Thien baffle as the first stage with a good powerful shop vac, you won't need a big gallon size as most of the dust will be collected in the Thien baffle collector. Get a HEPA filter for the shop vac or use the fine dust/drywall bag. Not sure if this one has the blower option but if you get one with a blower option you can connect a second hose to the blower outlet and route it outdoors so even if the fine dust gets thru it won't end up in your shop.

    https://www.ridgid.com/ca/en/4-5-gallon-portable-vac

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    A shop vac is best for small tools such as sanders, that produce the finest dust. For about $30 you can get a Chinese knock off of the dust deputy cyclone that will separate the really fine, and most dangerous, particles far better than a Thien baffle. I use a DD on my Ridgid shop vac & clean out the filter once or twice a year just because I think it's time, but it never has more than a light coating of dust on it.

    Here's a very good article comparing a couple of different types of separator: https://www.shophacks.com/dustdeputy...stopper.html#/

  5. #5
    Thanks so much for the info and for responding guys. So many option out there! I think for now, what might be best is to pick up a separator (dust deputy) and use it with my shop vac. I have a pretty decent Craftsman 5HP/16 Gallon unit I recently picked up that I've been really happy with (the last 2 smaller ones I bought were duds). I'm also going to pick up a high quality respirator and an Air Purifier (Jet 1000B) to hang it above my work area. That should help with the air clearing and reduce what I might accidentally get into the house if I'm in and out the door. I don't use the table saw all that much now so a dust collector probably doesn't make much sense at this time. Once I move forward with a planer purchase (and/or anything else), I can resume the search for a dust collector.

  6. #6
    There are a few tools I find very difficult to use without decent chip collection (which is different from dust collection, though they can be done by the same tool). Planer and Jointer are pretty high on the list. Without something to collect the chips it quickly becomes a huge mess, particularly working on larger projects. I had one project where I was making some interior doors, and filled two 55 gallon trashcans with chips. I didn't have a DC, so I had to stop after ever pass or two, to shovel the chips off the floor to have enough space to walk around the tool without tripping. That's sorta worst case, since I was working on a large project, and need to remove 5/8" from the boards.

    You can sorta fake it with a Jointer, by having a large bucket at the bottom of the jointer. Same with a table saw, in that you can just allow the chips to collect in the bottom of the cabinet, or on the floor.

    I also think you need one for a belt sander, but I don't own one, so it's hard to comment.

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