As soon as you begin working on your first woodworking project, you’re sure to find that there’s one problem that regularly rears its head – dust and mess all over your workshop. Unfortunately, using power tools can be a very dirty job, and table saws produce a huge amount of sawdust which needs to be cleared up at the end of the day.
Not every table saw has been designed to make it easy to clean up either. Some have no dust collection ports at all, while others do feature a dust collection port, but all too often they prove to be ineffectual, meaning you still have to put a lot of time and effort into scooping up dust after work is done.
With this in mind, here are some tips and tricks to help you to make table saw dust collection a breeze.
If your table saw comes with absolutely no dust collection port at all, you’re going to need to get creative if you want to make cleaning up easier. Since the majority of dust from your saw will fall below the blade, building a box under the table is one solution to the problem.
Although it isn’t the most effective option, an under-table box will collect the dust which the blade carries downwards. There will still be issues with dust coming from the top of the blade, however this dust is usually finer.
If your saw has a motor cantilevered at the back, closing off the opening can be challenging, but a box under the chassis will, at the very least, collect the lions share of the sawdust that you produce.
If you don’t want to build your own box enclosure, a table saw hood could be the ideal solution. Made from a durable and tough plastic, these hoods effectively keep the dust trapped and prevented from getting into the air in your workshop.
When firmly secured to the table saw, a table saw hood will help you breathe more easily and clean up more rapidly, making it a useful addition to your workshop.
If you imagine a traditional bag-style vacuum cleaner, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what a table saw dust collector bag looks like. When fitted to the table saw’s dust port, these bags collect most of the dust produced during work, keeping the work area free of debris and keeping the air healthier to breathe.
Made from heavy duty fabric and featuring sturdy zippers to allow you to empty the bag quickly and easily into the trash, the best dust collector bags provide up to 70% guaranteed dust collection.
If your table saw doesn’t have an integrated dust collection port, you can still invest in a dust collector bag. There are versions on the market today which fasten underneath the saw chassis, covering the entire lower area of the saw to catch as much debris as possible. Fastening onto the saw with magnetic clasps, it couldn’t be easier to fit and remove these bags in seconds.
If you’re feeling frugal, you could always come up with your own homemade alternative. A simple garbage bag taped onto the base of your table saw will collect the dirt and debris although removing it can be a little more tricky and, since the bags are made from thinner plastic, you’ll need to take more care with handling if you’re to guard against accidental rips and spills.
Another option for preventing the debris and dust from your woodworking project getting out of hand is to install a dust collection guard over the top of your table saw’s blade.
While less dust is produced from the top of the blade than from under it, these useful accessories are often best used in conjunction with a dust collector bag in order to remove maximum debris from the air. The best dust collection guards can be installed rapidly and can be swung out of the way quickly and easily when necessary.
One of the most convenient options for dust removal when using a table saw is to simply connect your shop vac to the dust collection port. Simply switch on the shop vacuum and all the dust will quickly be sucked into its canister, keeping it out of the air and away from your lungs.
As an additional top tip for using your shop vac to suck up sawdust, you might want to put the upper part of an old pair of pantyhose over the pleated filter of your shop vacuum before use. This forms the function of pre-filtering, helping to guard against the filter becoming clogged so quickly. This will mean you need to empty your vacuum’s canister less frequently and suction will be improved.
These are just a few ideas to collect dust, but there are many more ideas to keep your workshop clean and free from dust. We’ve seen many creative solution, from simple trash can attachments to using air compressors for blowing dust in the right direction.
However, no matter which method you choose to collect debris and dust from your table saw, remember that you should still use a breathing filter and eye protection to avoid causing yourself harm while you work. No dust collection method can be 100% effective, and sawdust and wood chips could injure your eyes or be taken into your lungs. To protect yourself, you should always take suitable safety precautions before you start work.
Follow these expert tips for dust collection from your table saw and you’re sure to find that your workshop environment is a much more pleasant place to work. Not only will the air quality be better, you’ll have less mess to deal with at the end of a long, hard working day!