Woodworking Dust Collector Tips: The Guide For Beginners

Are you in the process of hooking a woodworking dust collector up in your shop? If so you have stumbled upon the right article. I am going to give a little bit an overview of getting dust collection going in your shop. Dust collection is very important to your health so please take the time to properly install an adequate collection system.

Throughout this article, I am going to help decipher through all the woodworking dust collector jargon to make sure you chose the proper dust collector the first time.

Determine Your Suck Numbers

The factor you need to take into consideration when setting up your dust collection is what kind of air volume you’re going to need to satisfy your machines.

Here below is some ideas of what some of those requirements might look for each piece of normal woodworking shop machinery. Always take the time to seek what the manufactures requirement might be if you’re unsure to keep your shop safe. Most of these air volumes will be in a CFM rating. CFM if you do not know stands for cubic feet per min. Something like this anemometer must be useful if you really want to check for proper CFM on runs.

 

So take the time to figure out what those “suck numbers” are. Why are these numbers so important? Well because this will help us determining what size of dust collector you are going to need to pick up. Each HP (horsepower) rating is going to have a different air flow number.

An underpowered woodworking dust collector will not properly remove chips or dust from the machinery. This alone can cause many different problems. Including your health and machine problems.

woodworking dust collector

 

To Single Stage Or Not?

So what does single stage mean? What single stage means is that the larger debris is not separated from the smaller finer debris so all of the debris will go through the impeller and into your collector. These larger chips could cause damage to your impeller.

Just about any single stage collector can handle debris from any one machine. Single stage dust collectors are normally a more economical solution for workshops on a budget. The reason being is that you have the ability to convert that single stage into two stage collector for a lot more budget friendly price. Yes, you can buy a two stage collector already built and basically plug it and go to work.

A simple search on YouTube will reveal a lot of people turning an affordable Harbor Freight dust collector into a two stage sucking machine.


The beginning question of this whole section was to decide if a single stage was worth it or to just go with a two stage collector. If your budget is not tight and your not a huge shop I would suggest going with a single stage. But this goes without saying take the time to convert it into a two stage on a Sunday afternoon.

Options Of Converting Your Single Stage

In the previous section, I talked about upgrading your single stage into a more economical two stage collector. Even with converting your single stage into a two-stage you have a few different options to choice from.

Thien Baffle

The Thien Baffle was created by a guy named Phil Thien. His site can be seen here. The wonderful think about the Thein Baffle is that very little vertical real-estate is used in making one of this. Making one of these? yes. A Thien Baffle can be easily made in your shop in an afternoon.

Cyclone

Like a Thien Baffle the rout of airflow follows an indirect path of flow and separates heavier chips and dust to the bottom. This then will, in turn, allow clean debris free air be returned back to your dust collector.

One of the more popular brands of the cyclone dust separation family is the Oneida Brand. They make a great quality product. If you haven’t built a dust collector separator for your shop-vac the Oneida Dust Deputy might be worth look into.

woodworking dust collecton

The Dust Deputy DIY Standalone Anti-Static Cyclone Separator (Misc.)


List Price:$49.00 USD
New From:$48.39 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

 

What’s Next?

Now that you have got your single stage woodworking dust collector running in two stage mode its time hook your equipment together. This is probably my favorite part of the whole operation of hooking dust collection. This part takes time and patience.

Take the time to properly layout out your dust collection runs and minus turns as much a possible. This will help to make sure that the most CFM is getting from the machine to the dust collector.

Woodworking Dust Collector Install Tips

  • For longer runs use sewer drain pipe (not schedule 40)
  • Install or build blast gates for isolating machine’s not in use for greater performance

Woodstock W1142 4-Inch Aluminum Blastgate (Tools & Home Improvement)


List Price:$15.24 USD
New From:$9.10 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

  • Use dust collection ports and hoods for machines to improve chip removal
  • Flex hosing near machine for mobility if needed
  • Ground your dust collection system to prevent fire hazards

Woodstock W1053 Grounding Kit for Dust Collection Systems (Tools & Home Improvement)


List Price:$15.33 USD
New From:$12.66 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

 

Final Thoughts

Setting up proper dust collection in your shop is very important to your health and safety. I feel like this part of proper dust collection is really overlooked by a lot of new woodworkers. Woodworking dust collection is a science on its own. There is so much great information out there one extremely great resource I recommend checking is Bill Pentz. There is so much value in the research in his guide. I plan to do a lot more articles in the woodworking dust collector realm because I am fixing to configure my new shop. So follow to stay updated with the progress on that.

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